November 24, 2014


The Great Traffic Projection Swindle. Private toll roads have been sold to the public as a surefire something-for-nothing bargain — new infrastructure with no taxes — but it turns out that the risk for taxpayers is actually substantial. The firms performing traffic projections have strong incentives to inflate the numbers. And the new breed of private finance deals are structured so that when the forecasts turn out wrong, the public incurs major losses. StreetsBlog

David H. Webber: Protecting public pension investments. Public pension funds should invest the retirement savings of government workers to secure their financial future, not undermine it. Yet across the country, these funds are financing companies that privatize their own workers’ jobs. And because many of these investments are funneled through ­private-equity companies, the problem is still largely hidden from public view. Washington Post

MO: Citizen Activism Helps Fend off Privatization of St. Louis Water. In the midst of the Detroit water crisis, there were active and credible suspicions that the city was thinking about privatizing its water system by selling to a corporate entity. Organizers placed the potential privatization of Detroit Water in the public spotlight, which may have ultimately compelled the department to abandon those ideas in favor of converting to a regional but still public water system, at least for the moment.   The Nonprofit Quarterly

IL: The Privatization of Detroit: Massive Termination of Water Services. Since January some 31,000 households have been subjected to a concerted policy of massive terminations of water services. Even though officials of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) claim that most customers paid their designated arrears allowing a reconnection of service, there still remains an undetermined number of people who are living without water or have been forced to re-locate. Center for Research on Globalization

WI: Coming Soon: Free Market Education! With the victory of Scott Walker and the Republican Party in Wisconsin this past Election Day-they increased their majorities in both the Assembly and Senate-the Milwaukee Public Schools have been moved to the “endangered species list” of public school districts in the United States. Within the next few months the school privatization lobby and religious schools will draw up a plan that will for all intents and purposes end public education in one of the largest school districts in the United States. This will leave some of the poorest, and most incarcerated people (Wisconsin incarcerates more Black men than any other state) in the nation exposed to “market forces” when it comes to educating our children. CounterPunch

CA: NOW BILLIONAIRES PLAN TO PRIVATIZE PUBLIC EDUCATION . . . Parent Revolution looks like a grassroots movement, but in reality, it’s a corporate-funded campaign to privatize education and turn schools into just another market commodity. The organization owes its growth not to a groundswell of public support for its agenda, but to the huge checks it cashes from billionaires like Bill Gates, Walmart’s Walton Family, and Eli Broad. Santa Monica Dispatch