Donald Cohen

Steve Thomas: Donald Cohen, welcome to Circulating Ideas. We’re going to talk mostly today about the Privatization of Everything, which is the new book by you and Allen Mikaelian. But before we get too much into it, can you let listeners know a little bit about you? 

Donald Cohen: Sure. Happy to and happy to be here. I am the executive director of an organization called In the Public Interest, and we’re a research and policy center that focuses on public services and public goods, look at the impact of private privatization on public goods and the need for revenues and how we can create better public services. I’ve been doing that for about 10, 12 years. And we work with groups and policymakers and folks all over the country.

Steve Thomas: And how about your coauthor?

Donald Cohen: Allen is a writer and a historian, he’s written several other books, and we’ve known each other a long time, decided to write it together. There is some history infused within the book, which I think makes it really, really interesting.

Steve Thomas: Just so we can have a foundation for our conversation, how would you define “privatization?” 

Donald Cohen: I have a very specific definition that I use, and it’s “private control and power over public goods.” Just a little broader than most people think of it. They think of outsourcing or selling off a water system or a bridge or outsourcing a library or what have you, but private control can come over the things that matter to us all, public goods, in a variety of ways. For example, if there are not adequate public budgets to fund social services or libraries or whatever, and folks are left on their own to deal with their basic needs. Austerity, some people refer to it as, but not enough public resources to meet the demands for public goods, which I’m defining also as the things that we all need and that we can only accomplish if we do them together: health and community and democracy and the economy, and a variety of other things. Privatization also includes when we fail to adequately protect the public, from pollution or workplace accidents or climate change, that if there are private corporations or private companies that are polluting and not adequately regulated or monitored, then they have excess control over our health and our survivability and all of that.

So it’s a pretty broad definition, but it gets down to who controls the things that matter to us all: private interests or the public? 

Steve Thomas: And you talk in the book about how it’s often just a political strategy and it’s not so much that they think the private sector can actually do a better job. They just want it off the government’s books.

Donald Cohen: Yeah. Well, that’s a piece of it. I’d say there’s several pieces where it’s coming from now. One is absolutely, there are a set of conservative strategists that in starting during the Reagan administration and beyond thinking that that would want to shrink government that have a different world view about what government should and shouldn’t do, and they see privatization as way to offload those services to the private sector. But there’s also trillions of dollars. Before COVID, there were roughly $7 trillion a year spent by state, local, federal government agencies. And when you run a corporation, that’s a revenue stream that you don’t want to give up. So there’s a lot of pressure from companies that just want the business. So that’s a big piece of it as well. 

Steve Thomas: And those companies have lobbyists who talked to the politicians and it’s a vicious circle. 

Donald Cohen: Absolutely. And politicians or elected officials, if you’re a mayor, you have lots of things on your plate and a company says, I can take this problem off your hands, and I’ll make it cheaper and better and faster and all of that. You can see where mayors will say, yeah, why don’t I outsource this one less headache? And there are conservative elected officials who say that’s our job is we want to outsource everything cause we want to make government smaller.

Steve Thomas: It’s not as though you’re against all instances of private industry working with the government. A prime example you mentioned is roads. We don’t expect government workers to actually build the roads. A private contractor can be brought in to do that work and then hand off the ensuing public good to the hands of the government and to the people.

Donald Cohen: No, we all contract for things, individuals, companies, governments, we all contract for things. That’s not the issue. The issue is the control. So yes, we hire general contractors to build our roads. We might even hire a company to develop a new software system for a library or a city that’s all possible, but the issue is whether you give it to them to run it and to own it, to control it. That’s where there’s danger. And then even in the places where we’re just contracting for something, we need to make sure we do that right, that there’s adequate monitoring, that the contracts are written well, that the public is getting a good deal.

And all the above contracting is a standard practice that everyone uses need to make sure that we do it right, and we definitely need to make sure that we’re not, when we sign the contract, giving them a power over things that we should have democratic control over. 

We really lose a significant amount of transparency. Once something goes behind a private wall, we do not have access to the information that we would have if it was public. If a city or a county is spending money, we can find out what every dollar is being spent for. We can find out how much the people are paid, all of the above. Once it goes behind that wall, we lose transparency. We lose access to that information. And then in some cases that private company will say, you actually can’t get it because it’s a trade secret. Charter schools are publicly funded, privately operated schools. There are charter schools that say that their lesson plans are trade secrets and won’t share them, even though we paid for them. And that’s the purpose of charter schools to create innovation and to share those. 

In 2009, Chicago sold off its 36,000 parking meters for 75 years to a consortium of Morgan Stanley, a fund from the Middle East, and a national parking company. And so they got $1.1 billion up front. The city desperately needed cash during the recession. But what turned out to be true afterwards that if the city now wants to create bike lanes or a street mall and eliminate cars or bus rapid transit lane, or what have you, they need to buy those spots back, which means in many cases, they don’t do it because they don’t have the resources to do that. So fundamentally, the city has given control for 70- some years to these private operators over really fundamental municipal policy issues, land use, transportation, climate, affordable housing, a whole set of things.

That’s the problem of this is it really affects our ability to make the decisions that ought to be ours. And certainly not for 75 years into the future. 

Steve Thomas: A disturbing percentage of privatization projects came about in opposition to civil rights, such as the rise of private schools. 

Donald Cohen: Yeah. After Brown vs Board of Education was forcing a school districts in the south primarily to integrate, the response by different states was to create voucher programs and essentially what became white flight segregation academies.

And ultimately those voucher programs were found unconstitutional, but the segregation academies persist to this date, in some of the places in some form or another, mostly through residential segregation, but privatization of public education started as a segregationist response to integration in the 50’s. 

Steve Thomas: There’s a chapter that goes through the history from Milton Friedman to today. And it’s pretty clear that this is not just a pile on for conservatives. President Clinton in particular, but also President Obama made massive investments in privatization. 

Donald Cohen: It’s absolutely not. Reagan came in as, ” the nine most dangerous words in English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” That’s kind of the well-known statement, but he actually failed to privatize a lot, even though they wanted to. The Democrats still controlled Congress. It was a different political time.

Clinton did actually do a lot. He actually did sort of supercharge privatization. The 1996 welfare reform law TANF opened the door for privatization of big pieces of welfare around the country. He actually did a lot and he appointed vice-president Gore to create the national performance review to retool and re-imagine government. And that’s not all bad. You always want to improve bureaucracies and how things work, but privatization was baked pretty deeply within it. Both from an idea perspective, businesses can do things better and let’s let them have them do it, but also political as well. 

Steve Thomas: It’s like when people say they want the government to be run like a business, but that falls down because the government is not a business and it’s dishonest about the way the government is run. 

Donald Cohen: Yeah, I completely agree. There’s a difference if you said we would like to learn management techniques from successful businesses, okay, there might be some things we could learn. We think public institutions ought to be managed really well. There’s no question about that, but as you say, it’s not a business.

Business es don’t serve everyone. They serve the people who can buy what they’re selling and that’s what they do. Governments don’t have that luxury, nor do we want them to have that luxury. We have to serve everybody. And in fact, not just because everyone deserves the services, it’s because we all do better when everyone does better. It’s in my interest, in your interest for every kid to have a good education. My kids are old. I have grandkids now, but it’s in my interest for every kid in my neighborhood and throughout the city and the country to be educated well, It’s not just about those families. What matters to each one of us actually matters to us all. 

Steve Thomas: The whole idea of the rugged individualist is really just been spun out of control where sure you should be free to make your own way in the world, but you can’t just think of yourself. It’s selfish. 

Donald Cohen: And your destiny is aided controlled, impacted by things outside of your control also, right? You could be a rugged individualist, but if you don’t have water, cause your water system fell apart in your city, you can be as rugged or as individualist as you can, but you’re still not going to be able to flush the toilet. You’re right. People have responsibilities. People have to do their part. We all have to do that, but we all have to do it together. One of the things we talk about in the book is we’re citizens, small C, not consumers, right? So we have rights, we have responsibilities, we have obligations to each other, to ourselves, and that’s different from being consumers that you’re really just on your own and you’re buying what you need. Or can afford. 

Steve Thomas: Some of the pushback this gets is “that’s communism,” but it’s the Constitution. It’s what we are.

Donald Cohen: It’s not communism. It’s democracy. It’s deciding to run a country together. Majority rules means your ideas win sometimes, your ideas lose some times, but we’re all in it together. Cause we’ve decided to do it that way. And that’s all it is, which means we need to be able to do the things that affect us all with special care. I mean, air pollution, or climate change, we’re all in or all out on that one. 

Steve Thomas: People with lots of sense of empathy. And you can go so far as to say that there are people who won’t even admit that there are systemic problems. 

Donald Cohen: I think that the lack of empathy, the lack of the dismantling or the fraying of community, spirit of community and actual community, is at the core of the problem with privatization. Because the more we stratify, the more we segment, which is real huge impacts of privatization, the less we interact with each other, the lest we see our interests tied together, and when that’s the case, we go into our bubbles, and we don’t see, we can’t see the world through the eyes of others. It’s excrutiatingly important and privatization weakens that. It breaks the ties that we have with each other in very real ways. 

I’ll give an example I’m thinking about: social security. Social security is everybody, all in, when you turn 65, you’re eligible for social security and Medicare. Everybody. So that program is impossible to eliminate number one, but had George W. Bush been successful in privatizing it, where we were just all being 401ks, and all we’d be thinking about is our 401k, our investments, not the health of the system, so that every person over 65 has some level of economic security.

Steve Thomas: One of the big things today is how much should the government be involved in healthcare? Right now, the base is only that people get emergency care and that’s really just not good enough. That’s not a good enough floor. That can’t be the minimum. 

Donald Cohen: Well, in COVID we now know that everybody, we need everyone to be healthy, for us each to be healthy. I mean, that’s just sort of crystal clear right now. Just in terms of health care, if you decide that everyone should have equal access to ability to see a doctor and get care, that should not depend on how much money you have, then you can only accomplish that with government involvement. Now that doesn’t mean that there’s no private healthcare, you can do it in different ways. You could create a single payer system. You could create a Obamacare, more in that direction, employer mandate, you can do it in lots of different ways, but the only way to get everybody equal access to healthcare is with government involvement. There’s no other way. 

Steve Thomas: COVID gave you a great introduction to the book because Trump’s response was a perfect example of the kind of things you’re talking about. 

Donald Cohen: Trump’s first response was a privatized response. Let the market take care of this. What did we need at first, first we needed PPE and ventilators and equipment and test kits. We needed to get that in the hands of everybody ASAP, as quickly as possible. And his first response is to let the market do that. Let states bid against each other on the private market to buy those things. And so that’s what happened. States couldn’t get it. They were competing against each other. The companies were taking advantage of having a sellers market and increasing their prices because the demand was so high. It was nuts, and It contributed to lives being lost. So that was his basic problem.

 This is a crisis. So I can understand some confusion about having to get a hand on a crisis, but Trump’s was ideological and who he was friends with, the private market can take care of everything. Let’s let it work itself out. And also handing over full access to the patents of the vaccines, even though we fundamentally paid for them all. We gave Moderna a grant, we didn’t give that to Pfizer, but they got a pre-buy agreement so there was essentially a grant. And now they still have control over the patent, which limited the ability to get other companies doing generics quickly so that we could get vaccines in people’s arms more quickly. So there was a wholesale response of, let’s give this to the private market. 

Steve Thomas: I think the government should be more willing to break patents during emergencies, like the pandemic, like the vaccine should be open for other countries to produce more easily. 

Donald Cohen: That’s exactly right. That’s the difference between public and private. We can respond to public need when things happen that that require response, that don’t depend on profit, that don’t depend on a company’s bottom line. Now we could have given them a profit, we could have just set a deal, you get 9% and then we’ll take the patent. They can make money. That’s not a problem, but that’s the issue who has control over it. We should have control over our health. We should certainly have our control over our health and global health in the context of a pandemic or floods. This is a little bit of a different example, but Indiana many years ago privatized its toll road to a company, and there was a flood and the governor said you had to open the toll gates so people can escape. And then the state got a bill. They paid it, I’m sure, but you wouldn’t want that in any governor’s head. Oh my God. Do I do this or do I spend a million dollars to save lives? It should be a decidedly public decision. Not constrained by the need to keep a private company’s interest whole.

Steve Thomas: When it comes to the environment, our water, our air, that affects all of us. It makes the world a worse place for us, much less future generations. 

Donald Cohen: You were referring to individualism earlier. We are all individuals obviously, but we’re also completely interdependent whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not, we depend on each other in fact. The water comes out of my tap because people pay taxes and water bills to keep the water system. The air is clean because people in my neighborhood are not polluting. And you can just go down the list, and COVID just punctuates that with quite a few exclamation points. We depend on each other.

Steve Thomas: We’re seeing that interdependency with the supply chain issues now. 

Donald Cohen: That’s right. It underlines that we are kind of all in it together here. 

Steve Thomas: Another example you bring up is private prisons. President Obama had scaled back their use and Hillary Clinton had pledged to withdraw from them completely. But when Trump won, he pushed us back in hard. And of course, once they started the harsher border enforcement, there were all these people that suddenly needed prison cells and voila, private prisons were there. 

Donald Cohen: Well, yeah, I would say two things there. One is that it’s morally reprehensible to make profit off of incarceration, but setting that aside, it’s another example of our just interests are different.

It’s in a private prison company, there’s two big ones, CoreCivic and GEO group, it’s in their interest to have heads in beds. They make money. That’s what they sell. They’re a company that sells things. It’s all heads in beds and prisons. It’s in our interest to have fewer heads in beds, to reduce prison population. We looked at private prison contracts in states across the country and found that two thirds of them had bed guarantees. In other words, keep the beds filled or pay anyway, some 80% or 90% some at 100%. So obviously it’s in their interests to keep the beds filled, then it makes it easier for the public agency to keep the beds filled because okay, we’ve got to pay anyway, why do something else? As opposed to if it was public, we could take that money and put it into a reentry program or a drug treatment program, or what have you. 

Steve Thomas: We talked about that a little with the social safety net. Clinton was working hard to get people off the social safety net services.

Donald Cohen: That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. We always look at the perverse incentives in contracts, and I may get this wrong because it was a while back now, but what a researcher found, and I think it was one of the social service contracts in Texas I may have related to the welfare system is that their compensation scheme in the contract was, the metrics were how many times they touch the document. How many times the document went through a procedure for eligibility or what have you. So that was incentivizing more bureaucratic delays. It was actually in their interest to keep people in the system. That’s the same in others as well.

So it’s all in the incentives. It’s all in how the contract is written, what the restrictions are, the contract, what the contract doesn’t allow, what the contract doesn’t take into consideration because then it won’t happen, and how much money is being taken out of the service for company profits or high executive compensation or what have you, those are the core issues.

Everybody becomes a commodity, a widget or a point of sales, if you’re a company. Companies do one thing, they sell things. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all buy things. But that’s all they do. And so what do they care about? The care about volume, they care about revenue, they care about costs, they care about market share, and they care about profit margin. That’s it. I’m not saying that they don’t care about the service they do. They’re human beings. But in terms of what they measure and what they focus and how they determined successes though, that’s it. Those four things, and that’s just different from what we need to do. 

Steve Thomas: It’s about incentives. Companies on the stock market need to grow, grow, grow, and cannot be content with just stable profitability.

Donald Cohen: In some of these public private partnerships and these long-term contracts, they’re very rigid documents. We can even take this into the library context. And so, there’s a lot of contract litigation in America. And why is that? Because people didn’t think through exactly all the things that could happen and their language isn’t clear enough so there was different interpretation or someone fails to do what they said they would do or what have you. And so if you sign a contract, then you are locking in certain things, which means you are eliminating your ability to be flexible. Now the public needs flexibility. I will give a library example. So a pandemic happens, a flood happens, right? And a pandemic happens. What do libraries do? They turn their parking lots into wifi hotspots for kids. Libraries are helping homelessness in their communities, becoming centers for people to get public services. They’re serving as a community need in far more ways than a book repository very clearly. So let’s say you had an LSSI operated library.

And then I go, well, that’s not in the contract. Right. And that’s just going to cost us money. Now, there may be some reputational things that just decide they better do it, or else they’re going to lose the next contract. But for the most part, we no longer have the flexibility to say we’ve got to do something different next week because there was just a flood or there’s just a pandemic or in California, we just had an earthquake or there’s this opioid epidemic, you know, ravaging our communities in some rural district. That’s a really big issue. We need flexibility because the world changes and we need to be able to respond to it. 

Steve Thomas: You mentioned in the book that libraries are second responders. Other agencies should really be taking up the slack, but they’re underfunded much like libraries, but libraries have stepped into the breach to fill some of that slack, like with helping address the homelessness issue. 

Donald Cohen: It’s also because it is a public service. Librarians are public servants, and so there is that sense of duty to the public to step in. I can’t say that a librarian that works for LSSI doesn’t feel the same way, probably does. People that want to be librarians have the same personal instincts. But if you work in a public institution and have those instincts, then you’re aligned, right? If you’re in a private institution, you have those instincts, you’re not aligned. They say, you can’t do that, cause we don’t have a contract for that. As I was saying earlier, libraries are one of the few literal physical places in our communities where we are. Go get things where we come together, where we see each other, where we can go and say, Hey, that’s ours. I think that’s important. 

Steve Thomas: This is not the first I’ve heard of LSSI, but the way the founder talks about librarians is devaluing and frankly, insulting, how he thinks that people want to sit around and be lazy and then collect their pensions at the end of their career. 

Donald Cohen: It’s a business mindset, right? And so, yeah, insulting, they’re sitting around they’re overpaid let’s de-professionalize, let’s cut their wages, all that. From a guy who’s never actually run a library, right? He’s just a business guy. In his mind, the library is really a place to go get books, or maybe now online because everything, the world is changing in that way, but it’s transactional, it’s a place to get a particular service need, but when most of us go to the library and the numbers are large, as you all know, to get help figuring out how to find something, it’s by listening to some music that you may not have heard because they have a CD collection, it’s about looking through the stacks to find things. It’s about a whole set of things, not just about how do I get that book out. So you could imagine given what’s going on in grocery stores or in Home Depot that you no longer need the librarian to check your book out, you just do it yourself. And LA Public Library has a kiosk like that, where I’ve gone, but you need to be able to ask people questions. That’s the key. This is an institution of education and knowledge and not Barnes and Noble. 

Steve Thomas: Yeah. My library has the self-checkout stations, but it frees up our staff to do more important tasks. The physical act of scanning a barcode or reading an RFID tag doesn’t need a human, but we do need help with finding the correct material for someone, connecting the right information, whether it’s a book or a movie or database or whatever.

Donald Cohen: Well, that’s a smart use of technology. Take that simple thing and do it mechanically, but keep the people to do the real service, a real service.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. From LSSI’s mindset, if it takes one person to check out books, then you add self-checkout stations and fire that person. Whereas a good library system redeploys that person to do more meaningful work, like connecting with their community. 

Donald Cohen: That’s right, and listen, Google does not replace a librarian. If you’re a student, a high school student, and you’ve got to do a report and you go to the library and you start Googling, you don’t know what you’re finding and what you’re not going to find. You don’t know how to pose the questions to the search, the search terms and all that. You need someone to help you. That’s what this is. It’s an institution of learning, and so you can’t just learn by sitting at a computer. 

Steve Thomas: I want to talk a little bit about EveryLibrary who is one of this episodes sponsors. Thank you very much for that. Please go support them. But to set the stage for that, can you talk a little bit about ALEC and what it is?

Donald Cohen: Well, ALEC is a conservative lobby group that’s a mix of elected officials and companies that meet. They have committees on different subjects, you know, public service areas, directions, and maybe even libraries, I’m not actually sure, and they work together to write laws actually that help the corporate sponsors who are paying for it.

Awhile back, we were talking about private prisons, right? I think they left ALEC cause they got a lot of heat for it, but the private prison companies co-chaired with a elected official, the criminal justice committee of ALEC and wrote “strong on crime” bills or “three strikes you’re out” bills, and so that’s the institution where they come together and do that. It’s a very business friendly organization. They’re doing all sorts of things about voter suppression laws now. It’s the conservative place where a lot of these model legislations are coming out of. 

Steve Thomas: Right, they’re writing that model legislation and then handing off to the legislators who then go and pass it. That’s why somebody’s laws in various states have very similar language. EveryLibrary is not exactly the anti ALEC, but they do fight for libraries and the public good, whereas ALEC seems to lean much more toward helping private interests over public goods. 

Donald Cohen: That’s exactly right. The good news in libraries is, you know LSSI has lost a lot of fights. Libraries do have a special place in people’s hearts and minds and communities. Librarians, when you do polling in political campaigns or what have you, librarians come out on the top of people who are trusted in their communities, and LSSI has tried to privatize a bunch of places where they have failed. There was one in Florida that we were helping a while back. But they’re are company, right, and so what they’re trying to do is sell what they’ve got, and we got an email from a librarian in Florida who wanted some information because according to him LSSI was sniffing around his part of the state. They’re just looking for contracts, and who decides, who gives those contracts? It’s a city council or it’s a library board whoever it is, which means it’s a very political process. So it’s either a conservative who thinks it’s the right thing or it’s somebody who likes businesses for any other number of reasons like campaign contributions or what have you.

Steve Thomas: And have you done some work with EveryLibrary before? 

Donald Cohen: We work with so many different groups in so many different things. We know them, we know each other well. And so I think we just sort of refer to each other at times. I don’t know if we’ve actually done any projects together, but we consider them a partner and an ally.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. You’re on parallel tracks. 

Donald Cohen: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. We believe in public goods and public services and libraries are, absolutely, for all the reasons that we’ve been talking here. 

Steve Thomas: To wrap up, what are some things that we can do to help reverse this trend, to fight for the public good? 

Donald Cohen: There’s a big picture answer to that and a smaller picture. Big picture is always, the public services and public goods are all around us. Government action is all around us. It’s in the paint in the wall behind our rooms because there used to be lead in paint and government regulations eliminated that paint. When we turn on the tap or flush the toilet, our trash gets picked up, the post office around the corner, the library on the corner, the school, it’s all around us. So it’s remembering that in a time when there’s so much disparagement of government that people should first remember it’s all around us. The second thing again at the 30,000 foot level is to remember what it’s for. Like I said, libraries are not about taking out books. I mean, you do that there, but what it’s about is, it’s social, it brings us together in community, it’s the place where we expand knowledge, people get more access to knowledge and learning. It has a bigger purpose that’s more than just serving you as an individual. Everybody who listens to this podcast will know that. It’s important to always remember that and bring people back to that. If all you think of it as a place to get books and why not give it to a private company? But that’s not what it’s about. So remember that. 

 What are roads? Roads give us mobility. We can’t get to work. We can’t get to school. We can’t go to the grocery store. That’s what roads are. It’s about allowing us to move around and we need to be able to move around freely. So that’s the first thing. The second thing of course, in a local community is to be engaged with organizations or civic institutions, or if they’re librarians with the Friends of the Library to be on the lookout.

Keeping in tune is really, really important, ear to the ground, and then engaging with others to say, no. Lots of communities have done that, lots of organizations have been created the fight the library privatization and won, whether they stay together or not.

And then I guess finally, as an individual libraries often don’t have enough money, right? Public services don’t have enough money. I think Los Angeles did a few years ago, a ballot measure to allocate 6% of the budget, I believe if I have it correctly, to the public library system so it can survive. So whether it’s allocating existing money or passing a bond measure to expand the library or increasing the budget so it can expand its services or collections, all that is something we’ve got to do. We’ve got to pay for things. So these are just some ideas. 

Steve Thomas: You have to get people to vote, to get the people into office, to implement those policies. 

Donald Cohen: That matters. But you have to always educate, cause like I was saying a number of minutes back is you get elected to again, pick a mayor cause it’s really an on-the-ground job in many ways. And you’ve got all these problems and a budget that’s too small to meet the needs and the things that you’d like to do and the needs of the people who live in your community. If someone comes to you and says, I’ll take this headache off your back. By the way business does everything better, anyway, of course that’s just taken as a fact, even if not true. And we’ll save you money and people may say, okay, I guess so, they may just feel desperate.

And so we’ve got to keep educating them because what happens is, they sell off their parking meters, they’ve outsourced their library. And four years later, the collections has gone down, the services have gone down. People are unhappy. You got to know that stuff before you make decisions. 

Steve Thomas: Donald, thank you so much for talking through this with us. And for much more details, listeners to check out the book, which again is the Privatization of Everything by Donald Cohen, my guest here today, and Allen Mikaelian.

If listeners want to learn more about the topic or engage with you, how can they get in touch with you? 

Donald Cohen: The organization website is My email is info@inthepublicinterest, we’ll see it it’ll get responded to quite quickly. Don’t hesitate. We work with folks around the country. We have ideas, we have kind of tips and tools on how to help, get on our email list, going to be sending out stuff every week and we deal with public services of all kinds. I’ve been encouraging people to go to their local, independent bookstore to order the book because we want to support independent bookstores. If you have a library, you can add it to the collection, and don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Steve Thomas: Thanks so much, Donald. 

Donald Cohen: Thanks for having me.