Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Cue the Tumbleweeds

Corrections Corporation of America is pulling out of Grants, NM since federal prison populations are dropping.  That is $20 million in economic input into that boom bust uranium town of the 50's.  As cartoonist John Trevor of the Journal Editorial page said when I left as State Land Commissioner to head the BLM in DC for Bill Clinton,  "It is like seeing  your worst enemy drive your brand new car with no insurance right off a 1000 foot cliff".

I don't think that private corporations have any justification for running prisons.  They make profit from long prison sentences.  But  despite that it was one of the few places a decent paycheck could be had in the Grants region.  And our Governor, who hates federal largesse must be just pleased as punch in seeing this federally funded lockup disappear, leaving 300 New Mexicans unemployed.  Well, really, who knows what she thinks.  It is a mystery.

Soon, Grants will be a tumble weed infested ghost town with a few gas stations and Allsup's burrito counters.


Bubba Muntzer said...

It's too bad we don't have Democrats like Dennis Chavez any more, who knew exactly what to do in situations like this. His depression era bill that created the Rural Electrification Administration used government money to put out of work New Mexicans and people all over the country to work installing our nation's rural electricity grid, which private utilities had refused to do because it wasn't profitable enough - not enough paying customers out there per mile of line.

The key to that, one of the most successful New Dela programs, was, and still is, the people-owned electric cooperatives. Every out of work New Mexican could be employed installing and maintaining a consumer owned solar electricity grid in this, one of the the sunniest places on earth. If our government focused on programs like this instead of killing Middle Easterners by the hundreds of thousands the nation's productivity and economy would soar, with all those employed people spending money and paying taxes, and with all that low cost energy lowering peoples bills and putting more money in their pockets. That money now just ends up sitting in private, offshore accounts if the wealthy.

Has anyone ever heard Heinrich, Udall, Lujan or Grisham propose anything like this? No. They are too busy sending money by the train load to the military contractors making the bombs, bullets and planes for our endless wars. The federal budget meanwhile has gone down in every year of the Obama Administration, and they voted for all of them, and for the cuts came out of poor peoples' and retirees' hides while the bombs continue to fall.

Anonymous said...

The reason we have corporate run prisons is because the private corporations can do it in a more cost effective manner than government. The prisons are not the ones deciding how long a person gets sentenced. We have a lot of knucklehead serious offenders running around the streets that should be locked up and then we have fairly harmless people locked up that really need to be in treatment programs. The entire criminal justice system could use a thorough review and restructuring.

Bubba Muntzer said...

Just for the record, it's not by any means established that private prisons are cheaper than government doing it. From one of many things one can find on this:

"A study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the cost-savings promised by private prisons “have simply not materialized.” Some research has concluded that for-profit prisons cost more than public prisons. Furthermore, cost estimates from privatization advocates may be misleading, because private facilities often refuse to accept inmates that cost the most to house."

That "cost the most to house" part is like with charter schools, which also cherry pick students -- they for instance don't take special needs children, and they still can't beat public schools test scores and often do worse, repeated research has shown now. Yet someone's getting rich, so hey.

That people continue to believe the free market religion is the result of years and years of propaganda that now fills the noggins of much of the population and even most Democrats, who have shirked their responsibility to us and have not only acquired the idea that government exists to line the pockets of stockholders but appear to too lazy to do a simple Google search.

On its face the idea that a private company can do something cheaper than a government is kind of ludicrous. Given two entities doing the same thing, government doesn't have to add on a profit margin, a corporation does.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty well established that private prisons are indeed more cost effective when you take the cost of facility construction and facility maintenance into account. Anyone in this day and age can do a Google search and find something that supports their opinion. Government may not have to add on profit but private entities also have less of the good ole boy patron system that inflates the cost of operations. Also, the private entities are hopefully kicking back tax on the profits they generate which in turn pays for government. Big inefficient government is a drain on society! Think of all the government jobs and pension costs that are saved by eliminating all the unnecessary jobs that government requires when they try to do things themselves.

Anonymous said...

I would never want to be in a corporate prison. If anyone thinks that is a good idea they are stupid.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that I would not want to be in any type of prison. However, I would take a corporate prison over an overcrowded government run prison. Not sure why such a big deal gets made over Corporate prisons, when the overwhelmingly vast majority of inmates in this country are housed in government prisons.

Bubba Muntzer said...

Oh, Anonymous defender of for profit prisons, it's most definitely not "pretty well established that private prisons are indeed more cost effective" or you could find some evidence for your belief. Let's see some. I provided a link to a justice department study that was referred to in a trade publication, you offer none. Because there is none. You have only a belief that's made its way into your mind.

The whole free market in place of government industry relies on people not being aware of or intentionally misrepresenting the government budgeting process, where every year every department head has to justify every expenditure they made the year before and plan to make in the coming year, and an assumption that any government bureaucrat can raise any tax at will, and that government doesn't have to face the electorate at regular intervals. It's called democracy, a system set up to protect all our personal private interests while we provide for the common good, not the other way around.

Another problem with private enterprise is that not only do we taxpayers pay the cost of the profit that's tacked onto the top of the cost of anything and makes those multi million dollar CEO salaries possible, but that that profit motive corrupts the process. The private prison industry hires lobbyists who slither about state capitals distributing campaign cash so that there's been little intelligent sentencing reform and people are still sitting in jail for up to life for selling pot or for stealing a toaster under the three strikes laws. The president just pardoned some of them.

Not long ago a couple of judges in Pennsylvania were convicted of selling children into the private prison system. That story broke back in 2009:

Anonymous said...

Keep Dreaming Bubba!Look how the whole Communism thing worked out for Russia!Like I said before, anyone can find an argument to support anything they want with a google search. Ever hear of the term Unfunded Pension Liability.

Bubba Muntzer said...

Oh, anonymous former defender of private prisons. As before, it appears I can keep you going forever, but Jim has better things to do than moderate a pissing contest so this is it pour moi.

Still, it's interesting to see you reach the "I know you are but what am I" stage of your argument because Capitalism itself has reached that stage, as polls started indicating, around 2010, the favorability of socialism over capitalism, and its more pronounced the younger you are.

You can even see this dynamic playing out at Fox News, Rupert's two sons, who are taking over from their father, had been trying to ease Roger Ailes out for awhile and finally found their pretext with his sexual harassment coming to light. They know about the polls and changing attitudes and they realize that the factoids you keep repeating and that fill the craniums of people like you will be going to the grave with you. Those really aren't really part of the discussion any more. The page has turned. Young people know nothing of the Soviet Union and the rest of what animates you, and only know that Capitalism has reached the stage where it can't deliver the goods any more, that for them it results in jobs at McDonalds and a 25,000 college debt. The Murdoch boys see it too and are now binging your era to a close.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful that there are plenty of young people in this country that don't have your loser/defeatist "mediocrity is great" socialist attitude Bubba. There is still plenty of opportunity in this country for people that are motivated to work their ass off on a daily basis and shrewdly take advantages of the opportunities that come their way.