Editorial: Santorum rains on free-market parade

In the good old days, Republicans used to want taxpayers to get more for their money.They also used to be in favor of capitalism and the free-market system. That was then. Now, meet U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. The Pittsburgh-area lawmaker – known best for his stances against abortion and “man-on-dog” sex – is flexing his muscles and reaching for the stars. Specifically, he’s introduced legislation that would restrict the kind of information the National Weather Service would collect and how it can be disseminated.
Santorum would forbid the weather service from providing certain kinds of weather information if it can be obtained from the private sector.

To put it simply, he would force people to buy a product from a business that they’ve already paid for through their tax dollars.

Now why would the Number Three Republican in the U.S. Senate bother with such a mundane matter? The way he tells it, it’s all about protecting Pennsylvania jobs – the jobs at 14 private weather-service companies in the state, including AccuWeather in State College.

They shouldn’t have to compete with the government, Santorum contends. And until a rule that restricted the activities of the federal weather service expired last year, they didn’t have to, either.

Santorum’s critics – and they are legion – see it another way. They point to the $5,800 AccuWeather’s employees have donated to Santorum’s campaign coffers since 1999 and wonder whether that has anything to do with his celestial concerns.

Some, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., say the measure could endanger those in the paths of hurricanes and other severe weather who may not be able to get the best and most complete forecasts available. Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin fears the precedent of shutting down government services just because the private sector also offers them.

He may have a point. Would guardians of public morality like Sen. Santorum put themselves out of a job because private religions already exist to divine God’s will?

More seriously, the U.S. Senate has no business censoring government agencies that exist to protect the lives and property of American citizens.If private businesses can’t compete, maybe they need to improve their services – or deservedly go out of business.

In any event, the taxpayers shouldn’t get soaked to protect the hides of a few of Rick Santorum’s best friends.

This is one proposal that is all wet.

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One thought on “Editorial: Santorum rains on free-market parade

  1. If private businesses can’t compete, maybe they need to improve their services – or deservedly go out of business. How do private businesses compete with a a product that is given away for free through the use of tax payer dollars?It amazes me how so many people have lost the concept of freedom. I don’t like being forced to pay for services that I neither use or want. That is what this bill addresses.Furthermore, I am sick of the handwringing over our deficit spending that gets coimpletely ignored when one of the many pork programs is threatened with the ax.Wake up American’s!

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