Government Brilliance In Action

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I’ve written before about Palo Alto’s clumsy attempts to prevent teen suicide by posting guards at two sections of railroad track here in town (which constitutes about 0.1% of the tracks available on which to fling yourself). To my knowledge, in spite of being posted there for five years now, these guards haven’t prevented a single suicide. I was always a little curious how much my fair city was spending on these guys, who basically sit on plastic chairs and stare into space all day. This morning’s paper gives me my answer:


So there you have it. The city is spending $456,000 a year for nothing.

But let’s take this a step further: there are two portions of track guarded during weekdays. I’ll be generous and assume they are there from 9 to 5. So what this means is that somehow the city is managing to pay the equivalent of $228,000 per year per person on what must surely be the most unskilled labor in the world. All you have to do is sit there and, should someone come up to your particular section of track and announce they are about to jump in front of a train, you call the police.

This, in a nutshell, exhibits beautifully the waste and idiocy of government shared by every municipality, state, and country on the planet. Oh, and if I ever decide to stop blogging. you might find me on a plastic chair near the train tracks. It sounds a lot more lucrative.