|Austin, TX, future hellhole?|
Austin, Texas is one of the regional hot spots in the country for tech startups and innovation. There is
a major economic boom in the area.
However, alongside the boom, there is emerging an indication of a serious problem.
It appears that the Austin local government and its citizens are a bunch of busybody freaks that just love to intervene in free market activity.
It should be recalled that Austin citizens voted in May 2016 to require fingerprint-based background checks from ride-sharing drivers and ban passenger pickup in traffic lanes, Uber and Lyft promptly pulled out of the city.
The ride-sharing giants resumed services only after legislation was passed by the Texas Legislature blocking the Austin fingerprint demand. Specifically, the bill overrode local ordinances like Austin's that regulate ride-hailing services.
Now comes word that starting Monday, a new ordinance will require Austin restaurants and food businesses to come up with alternatives to tossing extra food in the trash.
The ordinance, the Universal Recycling Ordinance, requires business owners to educate employees regularly, have informational signs about the effort and submit an online Organic Diversion Plan each year.
The city hopes businesses donate the extra food to those in need, but they could also give it to local farms or compost it.
The ordinance is part of a plan that will push Austin toward becoming a "Zero Waste" city by 2040.
Of course, this all nutty and flies in the face of basic economics. Sometimes, it just doesn't make sense to recycle waste, the cost is too prohibitive.
When a byproduct is thrown off that has value after recovery costs, businesses are more than willing to gain the added revenue. That businesses aren't turning food waste into compost tells you that the economics of doing such doesn't make sense.
This is the type of economic basic that is always ignored by busybody interventionists.
So the bigger picture here is not that local government has been spotted harassing Uber and Lyft or, now, local restaurants, but that there appears to be an activist government in Austin that can't stand free markets and just loves to micromanage the local economy.
It won't happen immediately but such micromanagement will eventually, over time, turn Austin into a hellhole as businesses are faced with a pile on of new micromanagement regulations that will cause them to struggle with complying with various new busybody ordinances that will distort the local economy.
Yes, the busybodies are in town. I am not optimistic.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of