How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness crisis in a generation
Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 14 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.
By trying to force working folks out of their jobs driving ice cream trucks, since it is far more important that a handful of bellyaching neighborhood grouches can avoid hearing
Turkey in the Strawfor 30 seconds around 8:00pm, than that working folks actually be left alone to make an honest living, using a few fittings to trick out a truck they may already own, by providing a cold treat to willing customers and a little bit of happiness to neighborhood children in the midst of a sweltering summer. (The Las Vegas Sun, apparently with a straight face, describes briefly hearing an ice cream truck pass by is
akin to aural torture.If so, it may be the only form of torture that you can avoid by turning up your damned hi-fi for a minute or two.)
By forcing working folks out of jobs driving taxis, by artificially limiting the number of taxicabs that can legally operate in Las Vegas, thus limiting the legal cab market to only 16 companies, cartelized into
a controlled oligarchy protected from outside competition— notably from any possibility outside competition by independent cabbies, who might otherwise be able to set themselves up in one of the largest and most lucrative tourist markets in the world, with nothing more than a car they already own. As a result of all this, anyone who does manage to get work as a taxicab driver is forced to work at somewhere around minimum wage for one of the 16 government-approved taxicab companies; while lots of people who could otherwise make a living driving a taxi are forced out of work because, thanks to the arbitrary fiat of the Nevada Taxicab Authority, based on sheer guesswork about how many cabs Las Vegas
needs,the only legal way to drive a taxi in Vegas is to rent yourself out to one of these big taxi companies — and the Authority, again based on absolutely nothing other than pure guesswork, tourist-industry gossip, and impressionistic
first-hand observationsabout how many cabs Vegas
needs,won’t even let those companies hire on any new cabs this year.
And finally, rather than just getting the hell out of the way and let working folks make an honest living with resources the already own, by shutting them down at every turn, running them out of business for the benefit of neighborhood power games or established insider companies, and then, to crown all, by sticking their hands into working folks’ increasingly empty pockets, and grabbing out a million dollars while they still can, to hand over to the tax-funded Las VegasConvention and Visitors Authority, in order to run a bunch of ads on behalf of big casinos to beg other big businesses to send their executives on more trips out to Vegas, apparently on the theory that those poor ol’ casinos just can’t be expected to pay for their own damned advertising.
Nick Manley /#
Rock on! Charles.
Why should one be disturbed by an ice cream truck sound? I’d be excited at the prospect of buying ice cream ( :
And do we get to tell the cops they can’t have loud high speed chases through city streets or anything? They make annoying noises whilist likely doing nothing of importance — running down pot smokers and other such modern day “scum”.
Somebody please explain to me why statist leftists harp about “helping the poor” and react with horror at the prospect of working people starting their own business to get themselves out of poverty?
I think it’s because statist leftists feel there’s something vaguely distasteful about money in general. That’s why they want candidates to try to campaign without it, and their political activists to work for free, and all that kind of weirdness.
Besides, starting your own business means you’re probably some kind of antisocial weirdo. I mean, why couldn’t you hang out at the watercooler with the other nice people? (Heh.)
Laura J. /#
I LIKE Turkey in the Straw, dammit! It reminds me of childhood and summertime and joy!
Leftists want their activists to campaign for nothing? Not even a hug or a pat on the back? That makes Obama’s victory seem that much more creepier…
Bob Kaercher /#
I don’t how things work out in Vegas, but if you want the privilege of entering the taxi business here in Chicago, the license (called a “medallion”) costs upwards of $150,000 or so. This of course means submitting oneself to debt slavery to one of the local banking cartel. I think I’ve read somewhere that a taxi medallion costs over $250,000 in NYC.
That’s what I’ve always loved about America. You know, the free enterprise system.
Nick Manley /#
“Somebody please explain to me why statist leftists harp about “helping the poor” and react with horror at the prospect of working people starting their own business to get themselves out of poverty?”
My mom is a liberal statist Progressive Catholic who teaches business to low-moderate income people. It’s important not to generalize too much.
I agree with Nick on his objection.
A very good friend is an ex-hippieish liberal Buddhist who has identified to me as a social democrat- she’s employed by the state, or close enough. She’s encouraged me a great deal in setting up my own small business- she’s a ‘harm reduction’ type by ideology, and extremely noninterfering. She does have a very unique code of personal honour regarding the profit motive which I’ve not entirely figured out as yet.
I have differences with the kind of left which is statist by conviction, but there’s too much fashionable demonisation of this relatively well-intentioned political perspective. And some of those who wish us to hate and fear establishment liberals are themselves far more plausably demonic.
Nick Manley /#
To add a bit more to my original comment: my father is a nationally renowned labor lawyer. Our basement library has plenty of books on labor history, Chomsky, general New Leftist stuff, Marxism, and other such material. He’s not against businesses per se. I got him to read Marx, Hayek, and Utopia. He even took notes on it ( :
I’d say he sees his work in promoting unionization as countering corporate and employer coercion. In that sense, he’s kind of a Libertarianish social democrat. He’d probably be happy to organize the equality minded social welfare stuff in a New Leftist fashion. His concerns with taxation and welfarism are basically summed up as “people shouldn’t starve on the streets”.
My stepmom, stepsister, and stepcousin are similar. I find their Progressivism to be generally tolerant. I know I’ve provided a snapshot of a tension filled moment with my dad on here, but I actually get along quite well with my family here. If I hadn’t been born with a left-liberal or Progressive father, then my circumstances right now may have been drastically different. Some of my forays into illicit politics and culture could have been severely constrained or even prevented by my parents. I get annoyed at some of the paradoxes of this type of leftism, but a lot of my good friends in MO are left-liberal-Progressive or even lefty anarchist. There was no greater time in KC then when I was at an unfamily Thanksgiving party in KC — create your own family ( :
Pretty sure a young gay guy was hitting on me. If only I were confidently bisexual still…
Anyhow, the point is that I can breath with these people — something I couldn’t do with more stuffy conservatives.
Soviet Onion /#
His concerns with taxation and welfarism are basically summed up as “people shouldn’t starve on the streets”.
What kind of Commie traitor wants that!? I’m sorry Nick, but neither you or your family will ever be TRUE libertarians, unless perhaps you stumble onto some prime real estate in Galt’s Gulch.
Just out of curiosity, have you ever heard of Bioshock, the Randian-themed (aesthetically, at least) video game? It’s essentially a haunted house version Atlas Shrugged wherein the Gulch is overrun with nanotech zombies.
Nick Manley /#
Yeah! I remember still reading PC Gamer when it came out. They mentioned the Randian influence.
Yes, I’ve ALWAYS been a nerd ( : ( :
Everyone knows poor people should starve….snickers It’s the Alan Greenspan take on Rand:
I would very much like to see a reformulation of Randian ideals purged of the their distorting taint of classism. But this piece is more spiritually vile than Rand in her most narrow moments. What I read here is bitter age denouncing youthful passion- with self-interest as the official topic of denunciation, and sexuality the primary obsession. I’ll agree that Rand’s concept of sexuality as a manifested idealism is only part of the truth, but it is far spiritually healthier than this knowing, sneering condescension towards animal hormones. The author is supposedly a progressive, but he sounds like any conservative parent: ‘I grew up and overgrew my hopes and dreams and desire, and now I’m going to make sure you never have a chance to find what I did not- for your own good, of course.’ The jealous ressentiment of the egalitarian synthesises well with the jealous ressentiment of the Puritan. ‘I cannot have this, so that those who can are the archetype of evil’. Slave morality at its most consistent.
Yes, the Christian element of the Western heritage does locate evil in precisely the thrill of selfhood of which adolescent sexuality is a beautiful symbol (and which the wealth of Babylon is a primary external manifestation)- and yes, this world allows it to flourish very rarely, and as a rule at others’ expense. What we need is a social order which allows that adolescent spirit to preserve its essence into rational maturity, and extends this possibility to as many human beings as possible, and organises social life in a way that harmonises rather than abolishes egoisms or sets them in expolitive conflict. Conservative morality must see this as madness and an impossible attempt to rationally universalise the root of evil. It is this moral intuition whose persistence makes it impossible to divert the American drift to dictatorship.
I used to believe that it was more-or-less inevitable that the majority of people would be cowed into the kind of morality that preserved the social group, and thus an ethics which subordinated the living individual to the preservation of the tribe was inevitable. What I now find it almost impossible to communicate is what it is like to live in an environment where the average person pretty much does live for their own happiness, largely considers authority an inconvenience to work around, and more-or-less leaves people alone to live their own lives. Yes, it is possible- even if history suggests that it doesn’t emerge very often and doesn’t last very long.
I read Naomi Klein’s book, or tried to. It felt like a churning of floating facts anchored to each other by arbitrary bromides and a suspicious sense of social causality. Some of the facts were important, but the picture blurred before the eyes and wouldn’t stay together in the mind. It was the kind of book you finish and then wish you’d spent the time drinking- if you are going to have a hangover, then you might as well have had the pleasure of intoxication first.