Monday, May 31, 2004

Change of Tack?

Monday's lead editorial in the Commercial Appeal is an interesting change of direction for the paper, if I'm reading it right, and a seeming recognition of something that warms my little libertarian heart.

About the sale of a county-owned retirement facility, the paper's editors write:
ASSURANCES THAT current patients will be taken care of have cleared the way for the sale of the county-owned Oakville Health Care Center, which appears to be in the best interests of Shelby County taxpayers....

In fact, Wharton said, the sale will improve patient care by supplanting county operation of the facility with a private company that has the resources to improve the facility and make sure the staff is well-trained, competent and efficient....

On balance, the sale and the planned additions to Oakville should solve a problem that county government, with its limited resources, seems no longer equipped to confront. The plan should easily win approval at the county commission and state levels.
Of course, the usual weasel words are there, but they seem to be saying that there are some things County government shouldn't do and can't do well. They also advocate for private-run health care.

Not only that, but the whole tone of the thing is an acceptance of the limits of government, in effectiveness, reach and taxes! Wonderful to see the paper get the religion. Too bad they didn't feel this way when the Memphis City Council voted to fund an ambiguous plan with no costs attached to "train" day care employees.

Read it carefully and the primary reason they endorse this, to judge by the focus on costs and operations with little mention of patients' needs and fears except as they will mitigate against the deal, is the money it returns to the County.

This sentence is the shiner:
...what has emerged as the guiding principle of county government operations: taking on only those responsibilities mandated by law.
The way they use it, it seems to be cover for them to endorse this while keeping blame and responsibility on others, ie. AC Wharton.

Let's see how long the Commercial Appeal keeps this up. I'm guessing with a new mayor or flush economic times they'll revert to their old ways.

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