THE (ALEC) PRIVATIZATION ACT
RI’s Media Publicists forgot to mention…
That the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s “Compelling Policy Idea” to upgrade RI’s roads and bridges – is nothing more than cookie-cutter ‘model legislation’ straight from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill mill. http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/establishing-a-public-private-partnership-p3-authority-act/
In a effort to publicly cloak this fact, “CEO” Mike Stenhouse is promoting that the Center modeled their ‘Privatization’ plan after Pennsylvania law, however, this is not the whole truth, because what he fails to mention is that PA’s P3 law was adopted almost ‘word-for-word’ from the ALEC legislation that he and others are shopping to Statehouses across the country.
As Mike Stenhouse has previously confirmed, “The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity and ALEC, as part of their respective missions, each seek to advance market-based policy ideas that have a track-record of success in other states,”. “ALEC is also a close national partner of the State Policy Network (SPN), the national association of which our Center is a member.” http://www.rifuture.org/rhode-island-is-alec-free.html
Therefore, The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s plan promoting the (ALEC) Private-Partnership P3 model, comes as no surprise. In fact, all of SPN’s think tank fronts push parts of ALEC’s agenda in their respective states when their state’s legislature begins a new session. Whether called lobbying or not, SPN Member think tanks, like the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, present state legislators with the policy priorities and bills being pushed by the corporate-backed agenda of ALEC on numerous legislative items sought by the huge multinational corporations that fund them.
However, SPN’s think tanks don’t write the bill themselves. When ALEC bills are introduced in state legislatures, the job of the think tanks are to write the studies, spin the most favorable data, provide the expert talking points, put out the media releases, and do the press interviews that give an aura of academia to their efforts.
It should be noted, ALEC members are both left and right – as it states on their website that the goal is for “corporate members and member politicians to create legislation for their OWN interests”, where every aspect of policy is primarily driven by corporate, market concerns. So that is who the Center serves.
But, Mike Stenhouse maintains, the “mission of the Center is to return government to the people – by actively opposing special interest public policy”. However, this is not reflected in the ALEC philosophy, nor is it behind their PRIVATIZATION campaigns meant to advance corporate interests by privatizing American infrastructure, privatizing public schools and pushing for-profit charter schools using taxpayer dollars for vouchers, that The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is strongly promoting and receives corporate money to do so.
With this kind of doublespeak, ALEC has adapted and learned to operate under the guise of ambiguous talk about freedom and liberty used in an economic sense; like privatization, free-markets, etc. espoused by their franchise-like think tanks. While behind the scenes they manipulate and shift policies to create what we now recognize as the 1%. Whereas, the Global Corporations who fund ALEC, are on a mission of rewriting YOUR Rights “via ALEC Model legislation” just like this – to boost THEIR Revenues.
“Their standard technique of privatization, is to defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, and they hand it over to private capital.” Ironically, just what has happened to our infrastructure and public education, that Mike Stenhouse has been working with ALEC to privatize in preparation of their corporate takeovers.
That’s why the talking points of The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s (ALEC) “Free Market” rationale for P3s are twofold:
(1) P3s avoid public debt,
(2) P3s offer lower prices due to competition & reduced operating costs.
However, what the Center fails to mention is:
(1) P3s are more expensive than govt debt.
(2) P3s charge the public a premium for their service whilst simultaneously receiving govt subsidies.
(3) Privatization just shifts money from working people to profit seeking corporations that end up paying little to no taxes, while the 99% pay rent back to the 1% on their once owned assets.
(4) Taxpayers must indemnify the private operator against making a loss, where “Profits are Privatized and Losses are Socialized”. (like a 38 Studio moral obligation!)
(5) Public private partnerships (P3s) were introduced so governments could be seen to be reducing government debt by passing off expenditures as private debt.
(6) There is also a fundamental conflict of interest between public and private. When things are privatized – profit comes first, not public interest. (sound familiar as in the taxpayers got stuck with 38 Studio bond payments!)
So, if Mr. Stenhouse really believes his own speeches, ‘that more power needs to reside in the people’…. it’s certainly NOT by passing legislation on behalf of elite groups for their own economic enrichment.
10/16/15 – RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity recommends “The Center’s public/private partnership plan for the governor’s RhodeWorks project.”
Mike Stenhouse, “Rhode Island lawmakers should draft and prepare legislation that would:
Enable a P3 model for the governor’s RhodeWorks project.”
“The Center further recommends that the state develop and implement a competitive process for such a P3 project as soon as possible”
The Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s Public-Private Partnership proposal is nothing new, because the Governor’s original proposal also cited Public-Private Partnerships as possible funding too. see: (urls below) So is this just more of a bait-and-switch to usher in the (ALEC) Public-Private Partnership? Now that we’ve brought the question to light… if there is a collaboration afoot, it will be in plain sight.
Just doing our part for Rhode Island each & every day…. whether the Village likes it or not!