That governor is really somefin’ else.
In a perfect let-them-eat-cake gesture to Garden State taxpayers, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) closed a public beach to residents but allowed himself and his family to bask in the sun at that very beach over the weekend. The newly coined BeachGate scandal and Gov. Christie’s flippant attitude toward the people of his state serve as further evidence that beaches, and other government-owned land, should be privatized. And here is a classic example why:
The New Jersey government underwent a shutdown and a state of emergency. Because lawmakers had not approved a budget for fiscal 2018, various non-emergency services, such as parks, ferries and beaches, were closed – essential services remained in operation. The State Legislature held another vote and the budget finally got passed on Tuesday.
Consequently, prior to the budget approval, many beaches had to be closed to the general public. Well, except for the Christie family.
Exclusive photos published on NJ.com revealed that the governor and his family took a trip to the beach. The images were captured by Andrew Mills, a Star-Ledger photographer, from the open door of a small plane. These photos would spark outrage across the entire state and contribute to the governor’s continual decline in the polls – he currently has an approval rating of 15%.
Prior to revealing the images, Gov. Christie confirmed to reporters that he did not get a suntan over the weekend. When the photos were made public, Brian Murray, the governor’s spokesman, arrogantly reiterated Christie’s comments:
He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on.
The “Son of a Beach” has been unapologetic thus far, claiming that the state-owned beach house at Island Beach State Park was a gubernatorial perk:
That’s the way it goes. Run for governor, and you can have the residence.
Well, I’m sorry . . . they’re not the governor.
It is safe to say that it has been a horrendous few days for the governor, especially with the photos showcasing a taxpayer-funded mansion, Christie blaming the shutdown on his opponents and the governor making the following statement:
I’m not the person who has drawn a line in the sand here.
Did he really say that? Those are terrible choices for words.
Ultimately, BeachGate comes down to this: taxpayers were prohibited from using parks, beaches and other public sites that they fund from the fruits of their labor, but the governor and his family were not.
Perhaps it is time to privatize the beach. And roads, and highways, and other public services.
We understand that the free market can do a better job at pretty much anything than the state. Unfortunately, far too many people believe that the government should be the only entity in charge of roads, highways and beaches. Even most economists say that roads must be provided for and maintained by the government, completely foregoing that road socialism kills tens of thousands of people every single year in the U.S.
Some of the standard arguments opposing privatization – the complete private ownership by a business – are that companies would underinvest, limit access and charge excessive prices. But these are the same individuals who think that price gouging is evil and that money printing is the cure to a recession.
Whenever the government owns something, it is usually poorly managed, overbudget and limited to the public. And beaches suffer from all three of these factors.
First, beaches are usually filthy and engulfed in chicken bones, broken glass and needles. These harmful elements then eventually land in the water, causing water pollution under the government’s watch.
Second, there have been multiple reports over the last few years of how government agencies in charge of beaches are constantly facing budget deficits, which has more to do with waste than receiving enough funding.
Third, beaches limit access to taxpayers, and you need to look no further than New Jersey over the weekend for proof of this.
On the other hand, private beaches are much nicer. The water is bluer, the sand is cleaner and businesses need to meet their budgets. It is true that you may need to pay a fee, but it is worth it if you can enjoy needle-free sand.
(Thanks to the market breeding competition, it should be noted that we can find an immense volume of services in the free market that come with zero cost to the consumer. This suggests that we can’t dismiss the idea that access to a private beach would be free.)
It is a step in the right direction when the government decides to contract out various jobs that are generally completed by union workers. Whether it’s trimming trees or picking up garbage, the state should be applauded for hiring private companies to perform these tasks. But it’s time for the government to take it another step: private ownership of all streets, roads, highways and beaches.
Indeed, there are never any incentives for bureaucrats as the state does not need to adhere to the basic economic “survivor principle”: a group that fails to satisfy customers will not survive. It is the opposite for any government: the worse it performs the more money it generally receives; the bureaucratic goal is to always expand the budget.
As free market economist Thomas DiLorenzo writes in “The Problem with Socialism”:
In government, waste and inefficiency is good, failure is success, and incompetence is rewarded.
When government has a monopoly in any given area, the taxpayers are the ones who suffer with an inferior product. Privatization of things that have always been controlled by the state, like the beach, is not a radical concept. Let’s abolish government-sponsored monopolies offering so-called public goods and instead rely on the efficiency of the free market.