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City for sale: The politics of privatizing infrastructure

Our first episode of Need to Know’s new format begins with a question being heard in this year’s campaign: What is the role of government? Are there things that citizens, or even private companies can do instead of government?

Our story comes from Chicago and Harrisburg, Pa.: two of the many cities that face urgent budget problems despite deep spending cuts and tax increases. Now you remember that old joke about selling the Brooklyn Bridge to an unsuspecting tourist? Well these days, there are private companies who’ve said they’d like to at least lease your city’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure. It would save cities the headache of running and repairing them, and raise money immediately. Chicago is among those places that said, “sounds like a deal.” and some in Harrisburg think it is too. Correspondent Rick Karr reports.

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

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    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
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    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
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      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.