Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Will Austin TX Turn Into a Hellhole?

Austin, TX, future hellhole?
By Robert Wenzel

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


  1. No worries the larger chains will move into the void with great fanfare. "Look how environmentally and socially concious we are! " and before you know it will be "Hey dad can we go to Chilis?!" So it goes all across America

    1. Arent all cities turning to shit? I mean come on RW! Whether the political class has a good idea or the private sector has one, our march toward divisiveness is such that no matter who floats it there will be someones self interest that is NOT served and it is assured to put up road blocks the shut everyone down.

      Why cant the city consult the local business to best serve everyones interest and create something that can be agreed on???

      Basic economics aside, supporting the community or doing whats right is not nutty! Cities didnt grow prosperous by a cutthroat mentality. There were many that looked out for each other and a community greater good.

      There is very little of this mindset left and your automatic dismissal of an idea worth pursuing however poorly realized is part of the problem.

      No one wants to offer solutions anymore and it is what will lay waste to us all

    2. Bruv, the law described is an unfunded mandate on restaurant owners, a new tax. Why should taxes ever be increased?

      Besides, restaurant owners can already compost or donate their food waste. If this is such an important issue, then why don't the proponents form a private non-profit and make a public relations campaign to persuade more restaurant owners to follow suit? Why tax them? Why force them. The force of the State should not be used for this issue.

      If you want to support a tax break as an incentive for restaurant owners to compost food waste, fine. I won't stop you. But support a new hidden tax on small business owners- c'mon man.