When I was a lad, most people insisted that government was the only institution that could provide a whole, vast array of services, including water and sewage.
Times have changed. Governments all over the world are loosening up their allegedly â€œnaturalâ€ monopolies, allowing private companies to go to work.
In Alabama, a number of private developers now see an advantage in going into the sewer business. Rates of government-run sewage systems are so high that developers can make money by setting aside acres to treat the sewage of their own developments. And save customers money, to boot.
An article in Alabamaâ€™s Birmingham News begins like this: â€œHomebuyers at a new Ross Bridge neighborhood in Hoover could enjoy lower, more stable sewer rates than their neighbors on Jefferson County sewer if a privately run sewer plant is approved at the site, builders and regulators say.â€
The article quotes a local director of environmental protection saying that it just makes more sense to treat sewage closer to the homes. Centralized sewage is cumbersome and too expensive. â€œIn ten years,â€ he said, â€œthis will be the primary way domestic wastewater is handled in the country.â€
So, when the subject of sewage comes up, donâ€™t sputter. You know what to say: Give the efficiency of the market a chance. Donâ€™t get soaked by government monopoly, natural or otherwise. After all, thereâ€™s no use flushing your money down the . . . drain.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.