By Nathan Barton
The ineptness, arrogance, and corruption of local government stares at us from our computer screens and (for those that still get and read them) the pages of local newspapers.
Consider some examples. In Moab, Utah, we read in the Sun News how (in a place where the economy of 2017 is almost completely based on tourism), the Mayor wants to stop Rally on the Rocks UTV and side-by-side off-road vehicle gathering because it is too much of a hassle – what a piece of work. This shows that he does not understand his own town’s and community’s economy.
Or go to Berkeley, where a local meat shop, according to “Berkeley Side” has been forced by an “animal-rights” and anti-meat-eating (vegan) activist group to put up an “animal rights” sign in their window to stop weekly, graphic protests in front of their store. Protests that blocked access, threatened and drove customers away, and even invaded the store. Where was the city government (and cops) in this? Aiding and abetting the protesters in their acts of extortion and attacks on business and others.
We all understand that cops are not able to prevent crimes or tragedies, but we DO expect (reasonably) that they respond to such. Yet, according to EHS Today (a health and safety magazine), in an eastern city, a worker trapped in an elevator door overnight on a Friday likely died because police refused to respond to a “missing person” report in a timely manner – the man had died by the time he was found the next workday.
(Although it is not called out, both of these incidents (action or lack of action) may stem from a significant bias AGAINST private business.)
Wyoming and Nebraska folks (almost all private business or organizations like the Chamber of Commerce) are preparing to host (and make a lot of money from) tourists from all over the world to see the total solar eclipse week after next. They expect traffic like (if not greater) than the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is enjoying this week.
But not Oregon, where the authorities (local and state government) are scaring their citizens and businesses (according to Oregon Live) that disaster is coming with the eclipse, and emergency action and preparedness are essential – or else. Apparently they fear being invaded by a million people, and the impact of the sun after the moon stops hiding it, triggering intense wildfires. And no doubt, fear and madness on the part of people sure the world is coming to an end.
Mama’s Note: I really thought Oregon was going to the dark side for some time now… but this is utterly ridiculous.
All of this sort of thing is typical of local government. Consider a town and county in southwestern Colorado which, in essence, forced a local farmer to stop holding a religious music festival which would have attracted about 2,000 people at the farm for a weekend. Again, in an area where tourism is important to the economy.
Or dozens of times a year in hundreds of places, where perfectly legitimate businesses are kept from moving into the community or expanding (or just changing) locations in the community because of those local authorities listening to horror stories about how the viewshed, the roads, the environment, and land values will all be destroyed by a sand pit, a gravel pit, an asphalt paving facility, or a warehouse. And see the stupid, popularly-elected “community leaders” dictate to landowners what they cannot do.
Mama’s Note: I watched this happen in a small community near where I lived in So. Calif. A group of businesses wanted to build a warehouse complex there, on land fit for little else (long story). The complex would have provided good jobs for a lot of people and, of course, lots of tax money for the various robbers. The city “government” and a handful of NIMBY activists managed to delay the project for FIFTEEN YEARS – for reasons that were never the least clear. I don’t know why the business people hung on that long, but in the end the land was left vacant, over run by weeds, transients and vandals, worthless to the original owners… I need to check back to see if the “city” eventually took control of the land, by whatever means, and then magically saw fit to build something there after all.
Local government is a parasite and almost always is a massive drag on the economy, doing far more to prevent the average business owner/operator and average resident from making money and having a better life than anything they might do to improve that life. And with each year, the burden gets worse.
In an aside, this comes from one of the newletters I get, talking about unusual cycles of economics and society. This reminds me of Heinlein’s famous short story, “The Year of the Jackpot.” They call it “the Puetz window.”
In the early 1990s, researcher Steve Puetz looked into eight epic market crashes — starting with Holland’s tulip mania of the 1630s, ending with Japan’s meltdown in 1989–90 and including the U.S. crashes of 1929 and 1987 It turns out every one of them took place during a window surrounding a lunar eclipse. And each time that lunar eclipse took place within six weeks of a solar eclipse. (As you might have heard, there’s a total solar eclipse here in North America coming up Aug. 21.)
Puetz ran the numbers and concluded the odds of these circumstances being sheer coincidence were 127,000-to-1. The current Puetz window runs through a week from today. Note well: Not every Puetz window results in a crash.
I like their final thoughts:
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Next time you think about how your family or business plans might get messed up by some stupid action of local government, “don’t say we didn’t warn you.”
Mama’s Note: The only thing I can suggest is, at the least, DON’T ASK them! Otherwise, they might never know about it. 🙂
FYI, my family is using camping out somewhere in the wilds of the Nebraska Panhandle or Eastern Wyoming to see the sun go away (and come back again, if all the sacrifices work! ) as an excuse for a couple of days with us all together in one place without unwanted hangers-on and people calling.
Dave, I read your pain. I’ve seen businesses destroyed outright and severely damaged time after time by city and county governments, and seen land taken by eminent domain and then just wasted. I’ve even had clients who lost land and businesses because of really stupid actions by governments. Cities “improving our quality of life” by building water parks, gymnasiums, conference and convention centers, and recreation centers have been the worst: driving local privately owned/operated water parks, camp grounds, fitness centers, and various types of recreation locations out of business because they can’t compete with “free” or reduced-interest money, free maintenance and repair (paid by taxpayers), and all the other services. I’ve seen trash companies put out of business by the city or town starting its own or expanding beyond the city limits to compete with private business in the suburbs even though the private companies can’t legally offer services in the city limits, and more. Right now I am watching while a county spends millions in taxpayer money (local taxes and grants from fed/state government) to put a half-dozen ISPs out of business by offering “free” or reduced internet service.
There is NO substitute for city governments – nor should there be: everything that city governments do that is really worthwhile can be done by private, either for-profit or non-profit, with paid and volunteer help.
Nathan, I really appreciated this article. My business was taken by eminent domain in 1997. I wanted to rebuild close to the original location it had been in for 70 years. I will tell you the whole story in a personal email. You would not believe the roadblocks thrown at me In the rebuilding process. City government is a scourge to private investment and business retention. They truly believe they are doing the businessman a favor by letting them locate in their city. Please read this sad story of a local business facing closure due to overbearing officials. http://journaltimes.com/news/local/after-complaint-mount-pleasant-business-in-jeopardy/article_9f96ee54-e374-5dd6-83f8-75d13902dda0.html
City governments MUST be eliminated.
Yes, Oregon has gone full retard on this. The blood banks are clamoring for extra donations just in case; Hospitals and shelters are trying to open up space; Cops are preparing for a “drug epidemic”; The “governor” has even called out the National Guard. etc. etc.
Me, I’m stocking up on popcorn.
Good heavens. Someone asked me yesterday if I was going to look at the eclipse, and I told them probably not. I really don’t care, and I won’t notice it when I’m working in the office unless it gets really dark. I certainly wouldn’t so much as cross the street for it. And a “drug epidemic?” Such nonsense. I can’t take my ibuprofen until 2 PM. 🙂