March 19, 2011 1 Comment
Sorry to disappoint…but this isn’t a dissertation on environmental responsibility. It is however a simple case for human responsibility. Earlier this year the Fresno City Council rejected Mayor Swearengin’s proposal to “privatize” the trash collection process. In reality the proposal did little to privatize anything. It only transferred responsibility to a privately-owned government-contracted company. The difference is not substantial. PG&E is a private company, but they might as well be Cal-Trans because our local government gives them a monopoly on energy supply. The Mayor’s proposal would achieve the same results: Slightly more desirable than the current mess of a system, but hardly a free-market victory worth cheering for. Why isn’t anyone asking the obvious question: Since when does it make sense to expect politicians to take out the trash? Wait a minute…you aren’t suggesting…Yes, actually, I am. Eliminate all trash collection services immediately. Is it really so radical? Before the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965 waste management was largely a mom and pop operation. People could dispose of their own waste to save a few bucks. A neighborhood family could volunteer to take out their neighbor’s garbage. People could even drop off their refuse at the local pig farmer to be recycled into feed. Competition thrived, prices dipped, and thousands of jobs existed. Was America one giant dump prior to 1965? I’m not sure because I wasn’t there. I’d venture that the huge influx of immigrants and our status as the most powerful nation in the world were some indicators that we weren’t a nation hiding under a heap of garbage. Yet, as is its nature, government refused to keep their hands out of a situation that didn’t require their attention. Why can’t we dispose of our own garbage? Why do we need a group of 100 people hired by politicians and paid by our tax dollars to do what any high school student could do on the weekend? Why do we allow them to negotiate ridiculously high wages that in no way reflect the amount of work or skills required to do that work? Forgive me for being optimistic and failing to believe that Fresno would bury itself under all our garbage if the city didn’t save us from ourselves. Sure, there are people that would live in squalor. But have you noticed that the people who want to live that way already do? Those of us who care about sanitation would find a way to take out the trash. It wasn’t such a radical idea 46 years ago and shouldn’t be classified that way today. Unfortunately, once government takes a hold of something they rarely let go. Congratulations trash collector guy. You’ll keep your high-paying-perfectly-secure-health-care-providing-pension-pending job…for now. Maybe people will figure out that feeding garbage to pigs is a lot cheaper…or are we already doing that?