I was driving to Court yesterday and heard an interesting exchange on the radio.
A conservative economist was discussing how state and municipal governments throughout the northeast were going bankrupt, due to the allegedly high wages of policemen, firemen, paramedics and other first responders.
The economist stated that one of the reasons why first responder wages were so high, was because they were trained to do "superfluous tasks"---things they didn't need to do, things that overlapped with the job duties of other first responders.
The radio host asked this economist for an example of something he felt was "superfluous" when it came to first responder training and duties.
The conservative economist stated that Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and basic first aid training were good examples of what he was talking about.
He stated that ideally, only paramedics should focus on EMT and first aid training, because this "goes to the concept of economic specialization."
He stated that firemen should only focus on fighting fire, and policemen should only focus on fighting crime. He stated that its a waste of money to teach a fireman how to perform CPR or train a police officer to apply a tourniquet. He stated that this results in a needless repetition and overlapping of job duties, something that results in the wasting of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year throughout the nation.
He said that a sensible Republican/Conservative approach to First Responder programs in America, both at the national and local level, would necessarily consist of (a) the cutting of wages for firemen, paramedics and police officers; (b) an economically efficient trimming of the training first responders receive, such that they can be pure-field specialists, and (c) working to ensure that new jobs are created, perhaps, from those duties and tasks culled from the abovementioned first responder teams.
I don't know about you, but I think this economist is a useless waste of space. I think its a good idea that firemen and police officers know how to apply a tourniquet, use basic first aid, or apply CPR in the field. Oftentimes, when there is an emergency situation, you may only have a single police officer or a handful of firefighters at your disposal. It may take a while for a certified paramedic to arrive on the scene, and those lost minutes could make a difference between life and death.
Yes, this may be redundant in terms of job training. Yes, this may not be the most economically efficient system possible. But I think this sort of redundance makes the most sense, from a human point-of-view.
What do you think?
Are the Republicans going totally insane here, or is it just me?