Debate Info

Allow market forces Allow Government interference
Debate Score:32
Total Votes:33
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Argument Ratio

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 Allow market forces (9)
 Allow Government interference (11)

Debate Creator

PrayerFails(11165) pic

Should fire departments be privatized?

My argument for private fire departments.


Why should I have to pay in taxes for someone who accidentally or purposely set their house on fire? The system would be just like the health care industry. Pay premiums and deductibles with certifications. If the health care industry is working like a charm, then the free market fire department would probably work as well or even better. The invisible hand will smack free market into fire industry with effectiveness and efficiency.
Why socialized fire department? Cut back on taxes.

Allow market forces

Side Score: 13

Allow Government interference

Side Score: 19
3 points

The basic problem with government is that it's incompetent.

The basic problem with markets is that they're heartless.

I think we could get the best of both worlds by having government set the goals and enforcing reasonable ground-rules and then having private companies work to meet those goals.

In the fire-department case it would go something like:

Mandate everyone buy fire-insurance from some government-certified firefighting business.

Maintain a government run firefighting business in areas where there is insufficient competition or no firefighting companies at all. This government-run business would have to operate entirely on premiums in order to compete fairly with the private corporations.

I bet we would get much better firefighting at a much lower cost under this system.

And, I might add, this is the same thing Democrats want to do for healthcare. But it's looking like the insurance companies and the Republicans have (once again) successfully convinced the American people that Radical Nazi Communists are trying to take away their Medicare. So we'll have to settle for marginal improvements rather than sweeping reform.

Side: Allow market forces

With the intense debate of government intervention and free enterprise burgeoning over health care, it is creating two extremes that will only hurt America with more taxes and coercion. The U.S. Postal Service is an independent government agency yet a private business, and by following this model, I think it would benefit health care and the fire department.

Fire departments in the public setting have an insatiable appetite for more money and increasingly becoming wildly inefficient and expensive with wasteful spending. It would be precarious and maybe even irresponsible to totally privatize fire departments. So, if fire departments would be semi-governmental, this would eliminate a lot of these inefficiencies and avoid paying high taxes.

Health care companies are just as inefficient, yet not bureaucratically through high taxes but unfair market practices by anti trust laws, pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits.

Thus, fire departments and health care companies would benefit from a similar model as the Postal service where government interference is minimize while fair market practices and forces regulate skyrocketing pricing and allowing the market to allocate resources and eliminate frugal taxes.

(jessald) really describes a possible scenario for fire departments.

I would never think to privatize the police because it is one of the fundamental government duties is protecting citizens from fellow citizens along with the military.

Side: Allow market forces
1 point

I really don't care how a fire department is run, so long as they save lives, put out fires, and get paid for their heroism. :)

Side: I do not care

If it saves lives, why would I care who runs it? MKIced is right.

Side: I do not care
2 points

Of course the fire department's objective is to save lives. Anybody that disagrees with that is a total moron. How it is financed is ridiculous. Apparently, you love paying high taxes.

Side: Allow Government interference
4 points

Government structures like the military, fire department and police force are apart of the "well-regulated militia" entitled by the Constitution. It's not unconstitutional to create a security force.

the fire department is part of this security force mainly because they correspond with police officers. If you eliminate the fire department, you've highly weakened the police forces. This would be unconstitutional.

Side: Allow Government interference
1 point

If the fire department is a well regulated militia, then why was fire departments privatized in the past, and later deemed by the government as a act must be provided by the public as a public good.

Besides fire departments are not national security, it is local security.

Side: Allow market forces
ThePyg(6739) Disputed
2 points

The second amendment says nothing about distinguishing National from local security. In fact, it was written back during the Articles of Confederation, when States had MORE control.

And as I pointed out, the fire department is a needed resource by the police department. If you eliminate the fire department, you eliminate a very necessary resource for the police.

Side: Allow Government interference

(a) The health care system is working like a charm? Tell that to the people who can't afford health care, something which should be considered a necessity.

(b) This is going to be an odd reference. I was watching "Reno 911" last night (yes, I am perfectly aware that that is not the real world) and in the episode, the police department was financed by a private industry. The industry then got to control what they wore, what they ate, how they acted, etc.

Although that argument is based on a comedic television programme, that's just an example of problems that could arise. I mean, are you really going to tell people who can't afford protection via the fire department that you're just going to watch all of their possessions and possibly their loved ones burn?

Side: Allow Government interference
jessald(1915) Disputed
1 point

The industry then got to control what they wore, what they ate, how they acted, etc.

Companies do things like that for a good reason: they maximize value to the consumer while minimizing costs. Companies tend to be more efficient than government organizations because they must always be looking for ways to improve their bottom line. Abuse of employees can be prevented through legal protections and by them organizing into unions.

...people who can't afford protection...

That's why it's important to legally require people to purchase insurance. If some people can't afford it, then we can provide premiums (government pays part of the cost). Although I imagine fire insurance would be much cheaper than health insurance, so financial aid probably wouldn't be necessary.

Side: Allow market forces
2 points

Fire insurance? I mean, can you imagine having, like, crime insurance? If your house is broken into it, you'd have to pay for the police to investigate. That's just absurd and another way to prevent people from having basic protection.

Side: Allow Government interference
soahc(2) Disputed
1 point

a) The health care system is definitely not working like a charm. But it is also definitely not anywhere close to privatized. The U.S. government prohibits cross state health insurance for crying out loud. We are FAR from an open market for health insurance providers.

b) "The industry then got to control what they wore, what they ate, how they acted, etc."

And this is relevant how? All police officers are mandated to wear uniforms. So are employees of a lot of private sector businesses.

Government monopoly on policing, fire fighting, schooling, or anything just means that people will have less resources to look after themselves.

For instance, maybe if we were taxed less, every neighborhood would have it's own fire engine, and people would take turns being on call to man it and respond to emergencies.

I am sure that in an open market plenty of volunteer and low cost emergency response services would emerge to supply market demand.

Side: Allow market forces
2 points

For instance, maybe if we were taxed less, every neighborhood would have it's own fire engine, and people would take turns being on call to man it and respond to emergencies. I am sure that in an open market plenty of volunteer and low cost emergency response services would emerge to supply market demand.

I'm not as sure. That's kind of an idealistic view of society, that we'll come together to help each other. I just don't know if it's really realistic.

Side: Allow Government interference
1 point

I know what this is. Is this about the whole national healthcare thing?

As thepyg pointed out, it's not the same thing, at all.

Side: Allow Government interference
1 point

I do think this is a satire. Needless to say, if they are being serious, I certainly disagree with the idea. Obviously, there is a legitimate public need that needs to be met through a fire dept., and no one should have to pay to have their life saved. Which, frankly, is a good argument for nationalized healthcare, incidentally...but there are more factors than that, and I get that. Honestly, I don't know my opinion on it. I'm all for giving free healthcare, as long as there is a way to avoid the disadvantages of the public option. If they can find a way to do that, I'm all for it. I just want to make sure it won't do more harm than good.

Side: Allow Government interference
1 point

Privatizing fire departments would render them insufficient. Without government funds and help, what would be the incentive to building a fire department in a smaller city— one with obviously less fires? It would not be economically intelligent to keep a department up and running at a sufficient level. Unless you’d want to put out the fire eating your house with the spray nozzle on your kitchen faucet, I suggest you forget privatizing fire departments.

Side: Allow Government interference

And I don't even have a spray nozzle. :(

The minimum length for an argument is 50 characters. The purpose of this restriction is to cut down on the amount of dumb jokes, so we can keep the quality of debate and discourse as high as possible.

Side: Allow Government interference
Thewayitis(4071) Disputed
1 point

There is nothing as insufficient as a Gov't run enterprise. Wasteful, inefficient and that's not to mention all the dishonest stuff that goes on.

A well ran private fire department would save taxpayers money. I'm not talking about a corporate empire, but a tri-county type of operation. Managed by business minded individual, where one can hire qualified individuals. Right now the requirements are that you pass a civil service exam (big deal). With communication as fast as it is today, there wouldn't be any problem. A full-time district fire dept, as opposed to volunteers especially for rural communities.

This type of operation would allow better response times. taxpayer savings and better use of resources. It would also boost the local economy. Subcontractors could be hired to bring in water, work on trucks, etc. In Ohio, where I reside; one has to be certified by the state to work on a fire truck. Recently the local fire dept paid just under $6000.00 to have a clutch installed in one of their trucks. A local shop would have charged them $2000.00 for the same job. Don't worry it was only tax money wasted

Side: Allow market forces