Please Government Masters, Can We Have A Little More Anarchy in Knoxville?

If the government does not pick up your trash nobody will?

Related blog post here.

“Why can’t the city be more like the county?” I asked that question of a City Councilman toward the end of our conversation  just a few months ago. Councilman Marshall W. Stair was representing an insurance company as their lawyer (one of the nice things here, most of the politicians have real jobs too), and after we wrapped everything up, he gave me his City Council business card and asked if there was anything my community/subdivision needed in the way of city services.

I replied, “Why can’t you do less?”

Just off the top of my head, trash service came to mind. Out in the county one has a choice between competing trash companies, at least when someone decides to compete in that market. The county does not even try to pick up your trash.

The Waste Management corporation will pick up your trash for a fee every week if you ask them, and they are from Texas! If you like, you can take it to a county run trash collection center on your own (limited to one pickup truck load per day). Sure, I would be happier of the county got out of the trash business all together, but at least I should have a choice in whose truck is coming by to empty the can, and one of those choices should include my own truck.

However, the key there is if you haul your own trash you don’t pay anybody else to do it.

When I was flying in the National Guard here, one of my fellow Officers owned a trash collection business in Chattanooga. Sounded pretty easy to setup. Just one truck, that was not outrageously expensive. I forgot how many people he hired. He ended up selling his business to a competing company, for what sounded like a decent profit to boot. There is paperwork, of course, and “permission.” Even a hot dog cart here the city requires three licenses and a periodical health inspection certificate, so I am not sure what number to multiply four by to cover carting off things people don’t want anymore, vs. giving them something they do want real-soon-now.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, I attended the same church as a woman who owned AAA Trash, a very successful company that competed with BFI and Waste Management at the time. Her firm was there long before I arrived, and I am sure it is still there. It appeared to do nothing but grow.

What choice do we have in the city?  In the city, of course you can haul your own trash, but there is still a bill for it hidden in your taxes. They put out a bid and one big company wins.  The current firm is Waste Connections.  Of course, the city has a set of rules at that link about what is included in the deal that they negotiated for all 180,000 of us.  They pick up all the trash until time to recompete the contract.

How do the wife and I pay for it? Out of the various taxes we pay as city dwellers, on top of the taxes we pay as county dwellers. We really have no idea exactly how much we are paying for that “service”, since the cost is hidden in our already high taxes.  Sure, the city payments to Waste Connections are available somewhere, but what portion of that came out of my families’  taxes is anybody’s guess.

The notion that if the government does not pick up your trash nobody will, is pure rubbish.

Steve is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Finance.  He is a 30 year veteran Aviation Officer of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, and former Defense Contractor in Resource Management.  He has always had a libertarian streak, no matter which major Party flag he flew. Today he is a Minarchist leaning to Anarcho-Capitalism. He and his wife reside in a secret, undisclosed, subterranean lair with the clan motto of “Leave us alone and nobody gets hurt.” The Anarchist’s Soufflé  Book is Steve’s current work in progress, coming soon any year now.  Follow Steve @AustrianAnarchy and view his Austrian Anarchy blog.