A nice example of what happens when an industry captures the regulatory government

Why Is DC Cracking Down On Food Trucks?
[Via American Times]

Sometimes it’s the small innovations that make all the difference. In the world of food this can mean many different things but one of the biggest innovations in how food vendors do business in recent years is the food truck.

Light-weight, mobile, and able to cater to a niche customer base, the food truck is the perfect restaurant for the gig economy. It’s perfectly suited to the mobile worker. Food truck mobile apps can tell people where their favorite restaurant-on-wheels is at any given time.

Food truck vendors can avoid the tight regulations that plague their brick-and-mortar competitors.

But not everyone is happy about these nomads. DC city officials are effectively banning the food truck by cracking down with arbitrary fees and penalties:

Over the past week, District officials have been visiting food trucks and telling them that beginning on Jan 13, 2012, they will be ticketing food trucks that don’t have a line formed in front of them.  Specifically, if there is a lapse of more than 15 minutes between customers, the food truck will receive a $1000 fine!UPDATE: I hate to report this, but the news is even worse.. District officials were allowing 15 minutes between customers, but starting tomorrow, they will have no time frame!  The fine is also set at $50, but escalates with every violation (so, I’m guessing that’s where the $1000 figure comes from).  This means that if MPD rolls up and sees a truck with no line, they are immediately fined $50 and told to pack things up and go home.  To add insult to injury, if a truck racks up 17 of these violations in one year, they can have their license revoked.


The established businesses use their paid for politicians  to kill an upstart industry, using regulations that serve no need. We see this again and again. It is one reason for the current anger at the corruption of government by the huge amount of corporate money.

Good regulations sustain an industry, providing a level playing field for both good and bad actors, helping all of us. These bad regulations seem to only help those who buy off the politicians.

I think that just as a fish rots from the head this corruption begins at the Federal level. The huge amounts of money being thrown around at that level is simply ludicrous. It does not sustain our Republic but in fact weakens it.

Killing taxes will not stop the corruptive influence of money on both parties. It will not even take a few examples of populist will to change things. It will take massive changes that permit this corruption to be totally rooted out and laws changed to prevent it from happening again.

It is a weak and corrupt legislature that is the most fearful thing we have today, not the Executive. Our Founders created the Congress to prevent the accretion of power by the Executive. Their weakness and corruption of Congressional leaders – of both parties – has allowed the Executive to do what it will always do when not controlled – grab power. This was a habit of the last two Presidents but it has been going on since the 80s.

Changing the President will have little effect on this process. We have seen Presidents of both parties fall victim to this process.  We must have a strong Congress can stop this process and restore our country’s political vigor. We need an entirely new generation of political leaders, ones whose ficus is on the Nation and not on their own bank account.

Otherwise, we will follow the way of the Roman Republic, with a plutocracy in charge and the loss of our freedom.