I blog at http://www.gilesbhoward.com/blog/.
@ Chris Simply because the city government has already (and inappropriately) interfered by creating the facility doesnt mean that we should let the resulting meddling go unchallenged. You are right that private sector partners regularly leverage their investment to influence how a company operates but the way in which City Council is leveraging its investment illustrates one reason why public sector investment is flawed: governments leverage investments for political purposes that drive up costs whereas private investors leverage investments to cut costs.
In the case of Aramark, City Council seems to be intervening here in order to help out a political constituency (unions) at a time when unemployment rates make unions vulnerable because a company like Aramark could easily hire new employees at lower wages with no union frills attached.
But we also cant pretend that City Council only meddles in the market when it is a direct investor. Just look at the last line of the letter where it says, City Council will not stand-by and allow ARAMARK, or others, to put hardworking citizens out of work.... The most important two words in that sentence are OR OTHERS and they clearly indicate that City Council doesnt just see this as an isolated issue of employment but instead as shot across the bow warning other area businesses not to fire Democratic constituents/union members.
It's the last sentence of the letter that really gets me. It's as if City Council is doing its best to eliminate the free market within Pittsburgh and put in its place an economy centrally planned by Comrade Kraus and the unions.
Bottom line: the decision of whether or not to hire, fire or continue to employ someone is a decision that only a business can make and that City Council has no right to interfere in.
This letter would make me think twice if I were a company thinking of moving into Pittsburgh.
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