"To call something public is to define it as dirty, insufficient, and hazardous. The ultimate paradigm of social spending is the public restroom." P.J. O'Rourke
Via Les Jones, we learned that the lagoon of New Orleans will be the first sub-aquatic municipality with taxpayer-supported WiFi internet acess.
Wait, wasn't I supposed to say "Free"?
I wish people would stop using that word. There still ain't no such thing as a free lunch. You can, however, sell crappy, insufficient service to anybody if you:
1) Tell them it's free.
2) Steal small amounts of money from them here & there to pay for it.
3) Loot their neighbors to make up for any funding shortfalls, whether the neighbors use the service or not.
The vast majority of Americans seem to tolerate, for instance, substandard educations for their children, because they don't get presented with a bill every month showing, in all its itemized glory, how much they're being fleeced to send junior off to William Golding Memorial Junior High School every morning. Instead, they cough up a few extra pennies for their Big Gulp at the Stop & Rob, fork over a few dollars on the rent they pay the county for their land every year, and generally get filched left and right without really noticing it, all the while moping that they wish they could get Piggy into a good private school, but just can't afford it.
The only thing worse than being overcharged for something, of course, is being overcharged for nothing, which is how costs get held down in this system. Piggy's folks don't have to pay too much to have some sense knocked into their kid's head because, hey, I'm helping to pay for it too. Whether I like it or not. Which I don't, in case you hadn't figured it out.
Now you and I and everybody else, thanks to the miracle of federal relief dollars, will get to provide New Orleans with a WiFi network which will, no doubt, be every bit as efficiently run as William Golding Memorial Junior High School as soon as the shiny wears off and it's just another public service. Ah, well, they may be able to make me pay for it, but at least they can't make me use it.