Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XVI: VICTIMS OF GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP - Where and Why Public Ownership has Failed
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CHAPTER XVI: VICTIMS OF GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP - Yves Guyot, Where and Why Public Ownership has Failed 
Where and Why Public Ownership has Failed, trans. H.F. Baker (London: Macmillan, 1914).
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VICTIMS OF GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP
The Mayor of Elbeuf, M. Mouchel, and Gas Service.—The Mayor of Milwaukee.
A high school professor of Elbeuf, M. Mouchel, afterward mayor of that city for 17 years, and finally deputy, was attacked by the municipalization mania. He municipalized water, electricity, gas, the collection and disposal of garbage, and the burial of the dead. February 28, 1911, there appeared in the Dépêche de Rouen a highly eulogistic article extolling his work. On October 15 of the same year the mayor was obliged to confess that his attempts at municipalization were causing a deficit of 180,000 francs ($34,200) in a budget of 800,000 francs ($152,000). A sum of 250,000 francs ($47,500) would be necessary to cover the losses.
After confessing his delusions and deceptions before a meeting of the municipal council M. Mouchel committed suicide in the cellar of the town hall.
The serenity of the Socialist journals was scarcely rippled by such an occurrence. L'Humanité remarked: “It will be found that the municipal operation of gas will not have cost a sou more nor less than private operation.” Even if that statement were true it would have been bad business.
But the partisans of government and municipal ownership are incorrigible. “What if there are losses,” they say; “the citizens have been gainers.” Not as taxpayers, that is certain.
As for the United States the disorder and waste of its municipal administrations are notorious, and development of public operation has certainly not lessened them.
In Milwaukee, a city inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, municipal Socialism has been a very costly proposition. Before the city had experimented with a single municipal undertaking the annual normal increase of the budget was $250,000. Beginning with 1909 it has increased $1,000,000 in two years. At the April elections, 1912, the Socialist ticket was defeated by a majority of 13,000 and Mayor Seidel prosecuted.
A new Bureau of Efficiency and Economy, costing $20,000 a year, has been organized, but it has thus far failed to make any report.1
Journal of Commerce, New York, December 22, 1911.