BGC – a forum for ideas

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Pioneer has already received a great deal of interest in its upcoming Better Government Competition awards dinner. Since announcing just Friday that Governor Patrick would be the featured speaker and that Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson had been invited and tentatively accepted an invitation to offer prefatory remarks, I have received quite a number of phone calls and e-mails. The majority have been requests for tickets (which have not yet gone on sale), but some have been – well, let’s just say the word traitor came up more than once.

In light of this constructive feedback, I thought it worth reminding people that Pioneer Institute is a non-partisan think tank. We are uninterested in the success or failure of any particular party, candidate or elected official. What interests us are free markets, determining exactly where and under what conditions free markets can deliver public services more efficiently and at a lower cost than a government bureacracy.

Around the office we like to say that markets are not a conservative, nor even a libertarian dictum. During the last 50 years, governments of all political persuasions have used market mechanisms to improve their citizens’ quality of life. In his first budget proposal as governor, Mr. Patrick himself offered some sensible, market solutions to help ease the fiscal constraints the Commonwealth faces – a roughly $1 billion operating deficit and $26 billion in future unfunded public employee pension and healthcare liabilities. The Governor is to be commended for this and Pioneer has said so publicly. Pioneer has also criticzed other aspects of the Governor’s budget, but that’s the point. We are interested in ideas and turning those ideas into action. Whether the idea is dropped in the water by Deval Patrick or Mitt Romney, around Pioneer’s offices anyway, the idea floats or sinks on its merit.

We welcome Governor Patrick as this year’s BGC speaker and we will listen to everything he has to say. Then and only then will we determine whether we agree with him.