[Poll] Is providing water a basic function of government?

John Oxendine said in his Fox 5 Interview that ‘providing water is a basic function of government’.

I tend to disagree with him, citing the Declaration of Independence, which states that

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

However, the crowd over at Peach Pundit seems to agree with Ox so far, so I put the question to you in the form of SWGA Politics’ first ever poll:

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11 Responses

  1. Jeff, are you on a municipal or county water system? If so, you are violating your own beliefs.

    If not, do you live in a rural area where most people are on well systems? And if that’s the case, how do you propose people in urban areas get water? The private market has not shown that it is willing to provide water treatment, delivery and purification.

  2. Just because the Constitution does not say “life, liberty, happiness and water” does not mean government providing water to the people is not a basic function. Water is too precious a resource for government not to be involved.

  3. Brad,

    Technically, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t say anything about happiness itself either. It says ‘pursuit of happiness’.

    HUGE and CRITICAL difference, which by and large is lost on the average American in 2009.

  4. In all fairness, people who have municipal water aren’t necessarily violating their own beliefs by having it. Remember that it’s a government forced monopoly that you either have to make use.

    As for water being to precious a resource not to be involved, the same can be said for almost anything. People’s lives are far to precious a resource for the government not to be involved. Your business is to precious a resource for government not to be involved.

    I personally think that the free market could easily have handled it, but that ship has sailed. Government is involved whether we like it or not, so we’re stuck with it. Switching over to private firms handling water would be a disaster at best. However, I believe it should fall on the local governments, county or city, to handle that…NOT the governor’s office!

  5. Tom,

    I have a more optimistic view. Technology changes the way things are produced and delivered every day. No monopoly is permanent. If government mismanages the delivery of water to the point that private production can deliver a better deal for consumers, then the private sector will increase its market share.

    The same principle applies to electricity or anything else. Neighborhood sized, self contained, nuculear power plants are now a reality. Who knows what the market will be like in ten years.

  6. I have to make my decisions based on what I perceive the market will actually do, and current technology. For most, their water costs aren’t that much, so they’re pretty ambivalent about things like water, so long as it’s available. If it’s not, then frankly it’s most likely a natural condition and there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see governments forced out of many of these monopolies. I don’t have a problem with cities providing water, so long as they have to compete with the private sector and allow consumers to get the best deal possible. I actually want to be wrong. I’d honestly love it. But frankly this isn’t the hill I’m ready to die for either way. I personally believe there are other, more pressing matters in Southwest Georgia to deal with, like blue laws and inept city government in general (not just on water) 😉

  7. A better phrasing would be “Can it be a government function.”

  8. Guys, thanks for the videos in one place….nice getting to know the candidates that way.

  9. griftdrift, It seems to me that anything “can” be a government function. I would say the question should be is water service a “proper” function of government. What am I missing here?

  10. Flem and grift:

    The reason the poll asks about a ‘basic’ function is because that is the exact quote from John Oxendine.

    As I’ve said in PeachPundit, while I COMPLETELY disagree that it is a ‘basic’ function, I MAY be willing to concede it as an ‘auxilliary’ function. Even then though, as has been noted both here and there, I believe it should remain at the local level, as it is CLEARLY neither a State nor Federal issue.

  11. So if water provisioning is a function basic or otherwise of government because it is life sustaining, then with that the government should provide food and healthcare as a function of government too eh? Oh what a slippery slope….

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