|The ACLU forced the city of Republic to remove|
the Christian fish symbol from its seal and flag.
Recently, I attended a citywide town hall meeting which I am pleased to report was still opened with prayer. This particular town hall was a very controversial one, and tempers were running hot among the people. The community room was packed wall-to-wall with standing room only. What was the issue on everyone's mind? Trash. That's right, the whole thing was about trash.
You see, the City of Republic is a beautiful and clean city, and I personally believe that is because of the free-market system of competition that currently exists here between trash haulers. Basically, when you move into Republic, there is a list of trash haulers to choose from who have a license to operate in the city, and all you need do is just take your pick. The system works really well at keeping prices down and keeping the streets clean. However, it is not without its problems. One minor problem is that trash is being picked up by one or another company on almost every weekday. This is more of an eyesore, as when driving down the street, you can always see one or two houses with a trash bin out front. Another problem is a big one, and this is the one that primarily concerns the city council. It seems that big heavy trash trucks have a tendency to put a lot of wear and tear on the city streets. So, to keep up with the growing number of large trash trucks tearing up the city streets, the council was forced to either raise taxes or else restrict license to one trash hauler and collect a small percentage fee (about 8%) to apply toward road maintenance. So the city is now (as of the date of this essay's publication) in the process of considering this new ordinance.
|The town hall meeting was packed wall-to-wall|
with standing room only.
Now many people rose to address the council, stating their opposition and dismay that the council would even consider such a thing. It was correctly pointed out that creating such a city supported monopoly will eventually cause prices to rise, service to fall, jobs to be eliminated, and could potentially end up forcing the city to do the job itself.
It was at this point I took it upon myself to also express my opposition to the proposal, but at the same time offer a potential solution to the problem. It seems to me the city council is making a common mistake that is so prevalent across our post-Enlightenment civilisation, wherein governments either take over a portion of the market (socialism), or else favour one company over all others in the market (fascism or "crony capitalism") thus creating monopolies. Both of these methods of dealing with problems are fundamentally flawed, and ultimately cause more hardship on everyone (including the government) because they limit the ability of the people to own productive property (i.e. business) and concentrate this productive property into the hands of the few (as in monopolies) or one (as in government). Both solutions deprive the people of the ability to address the market needs by going into business for themselves. What is needed is the opposite approach, and this is how governments dealt with things way back during the Middle Ages. Basically, the objective is to open the market fairly, so the little businesses have a chance to compete with the big businesses. This is done by structuring licenses, fees and taxes in a graduated system, so as to somewhat "level the playing field," thus keeping the market open to as many little people as possible. In modern times this way of thinking as been called by many names. "Distributism" is one of them. (Not to be confused with to socialist idea of "Re-distributism." That's different.) Others have called it "micro-economics" or "micro-capitalism." It doesn't really matter what you name it, as long as you're thinking about it. Personally, I like to call it the good ol' fashion "Traditional Market." When the government participates in this idea properly, it promises to open the market up to as many small-businesses as possible, creating a thriving society wherein a good deal of people actually own their own jobs. Such worker-owned (small business) economies tend to resist recessions and keep money more local, thus enriching the community and of course, that includes increased tax revenue. Like I said, this is just the good ol' fashioned Traditional Market at work, but sometime in the late 1800s, America started to forget this principle. As a result we've ended up with an economy where people usually work for someone else (a big business), and governments get locked into the false notion that they either need to artificially prop up big business (fascism or "crony capitalism"), or else take over their market entirely (socialism).
|Every autumn the City of Republic celebrates its annual|
"Pumpkin Daze" festival, wherein local farmers bring their
largest pumpkins for competition, while the people are entertained
with shows, booths, food, attractions.
So applying the principle of subsidiarity and in the spirit of "distributism" or "micro-capitalism" I addressed the city council with a proposal that was consistent with the good ol' fashion Traditional Market. I proposed to the council that garbage trucks be licensed with a graduated fee according to size and weight. The larger and heavier trucks pay more, while the smaller and lighter trucks pay less. Ultimately, the small and local private entrepreneur with a pickup truck or flatbed, could acquire a trash hauling license from the city for a next-to-nothing fee. While a larger massive garbage truck, used by big trash companies, would need to pay much higher fees to acquire the same trash hauling license. This would effectively reduce the amount of large garbage trucks on the streets in Republic, thus reducing the wear and tear on the roads, and simultaneously provide more revenue per large-truck license to help pay for road maintenance. Also simultaneously, it preserves a free market in the city when it comes to trash hauling, giving the people more choice, while it creates local jobs at the same time for local families who want to go into the trash-hauling business for themselves. In today's economy I can't think of anything more needed. Hopefully, the city council will take this idea seriously, and perhaps implement it in a way that is consistent with its intentions.