Deregulating the Public Service: Can Government Be Improved?

By John J. Diiulio Jr. | Go to book overview

7
Is Deregulation Enough?
Lessons from Florida
and Philadelphia

Neal R. Peirce

If we were doctors in an emergency room, and had a patient come in telling us "Doc, I have cancer, but I've also just been shot in the chest," our first goal would be to get the bullet out, stop the bleeding, so the patient can survive for the long run. Then we worry about treating the cancer. What we have done, with help of the city council and the business community, is to take care of the bullet wound problem. The patient is living for the short run. Now we have to cure the cancer--the erosion of the tax base of the city of Philadelphia, crime and violence and the whole panoply of crippling social problems that have literally been dumped on our cities.1

Mayor Edward Rendell of Philadelphia, fifteen months after taking command of his nearly bankrupt city

Our premise was the state was spending money at the wrong place in almost every endeavor--at the crisis end. We only deal with things when something becomes a crisis. Politically, that's the only way you get the vote. I call it the Herman Talmadge philosophy--"Don't never try to solve a problem that people don't know they got." The idea of getting in front of problems is very mindboggling to people that have always waited until called upon to find the solution.

Governor Lawton Chiles of Florida, former U.S. senator, twenty-seven months after taking office

Robert Guskind conducted the Florida field research for this chapter.

-129-

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