There are two campgrounds near my house, one privately owned, the other government owned.
Signs at the government run campground say “Camp is full,” but it’s not! There are few people camping.
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We asked the Massachusetts Department of Parks why its big camp was mostly empty. They didn’t respond. We kept calling and emailing until 9 days later, someone told us, they’d “had difficulties hiring seasonal employees.”
Really?! This summer, Massachusetts had the highest unemployment rate in America.
But at Maurice’s Campground, the smaller private one just a bike ride away, they managed to hire enough staff. They had to. They fund themselves. If they don’t please their customers, they can’t stay in business.
The owner, John Gauthier, tells me, “If there was no staff, we were the staff.”
That’s the difference between government and private. The Massachusetts Parks Department is allowed to lose millions of dollars. Taxpayers will make up the difference.
John Gauthier invests his own money He has to make a profit to survive.
I tell him, “It’s unfair, you have to compete against the government, which is losing all this money.”
Gauthier replies “Yeah. It’s not a great scenario, but what can we do?”