I have to say, one of the reasons I enjoy Oilman2‘s comments so much is that he thinks a lot like me…
Smart guy…but prefers the doing to the standing around talking about it. The accomplishment of the theory, not the exercise of ego so common.
So when he sent us this report on Idiopolis, it has whatcha call “the Rking of Truth.”
And yes, there’s an Idiopolis in every state…but maybe a few extra ones in rural East Texas…
“I don’t want to foul anyones’ backyard, so I am going to recount this tale using a towns name I make up – let’s call this place “Idiopolis’.
Idiopolis is a small town of 3000 people, more or less. They have 2 policemen and a policewoman, a tiny jail and a similar tiny courthouse. The town was bypassed with a 4-lane highway improvement, and the main focus of the police is to work their stretch of this 4-lane highway, along with whatever else turns up in this small town.
In Idiopolis, everybody knows where to buy pot. In fact, the local dealer has a driveway that is well-lit, and has a camera on the street and the driveway. The driveway goes completely around his house, and there are cameras covering it 360 degrees. When a deal is done, they (customers) drive through and are serviced in the backyard, away from the view of people not wanting pot. This guy has been there for over ten years, in the same spot, and never busted by the locals. He is also first cousin to one of the local Idiopolis officials. It is a drive-thru pot op, and I literally watched it while drinking an icy-cold beer on the front porch of a house across the street.
The Chamber of Commerce is run by a husband/wife team, along with their crony buddies. Two of them are on the 6-person city council as well. There are exactly 3 businesses with payrolls above ten people in Idiopolis, one of which is a major farming operation. Everyone else works around the county or works elsewhere as a truck driver or in healthcare.
There are exactly 3 people who have monthly garage sales in this town. The garage sales are done in their yards, and are closed down and gone completely out of sight by Sunday afternoon, open for Friday and Saturday customers. Two of them draw a steady stream of people, as they are buying storage units at auctions and selling what they find in them. It isn’t a traffic jam, but there is a steady stream of people looking for bargains even better than Dollar General. It isn’t glamorous, but it does bring in hundreds a month, and every now and then somebody busts $1000 in monthly income.
This stream of people often go from one sale to the other, looking for what they want or need. Lots of these customers eat at the local donut shop, hamburger stand or the local Idiopolis Cafe. They also often buy gas from the local convenience stores. I imagine they might also drop by the local pot drive-thru as well, if they have a penchant for that.
This is the backdrop for what happened in Idiopolis, and this is all true – except the name and location of Idiopolis.
Once upon a time in 2017, the City Council of this tiny metropolis decided to pass a law restricting the garage sales to two per year for any resident. In addition, garage sales would now require a permit. On the permit application, you must declare your estimated average income from your garage sales.
The City’s stated plan was to use the Garage Sale permit revenue to assist the Chamber of Commerce in attracting more businesses, and to tax the garage sale folks if their income exceeded an unspecified amount, to be determined the following year based on the permit information.
At the same time, the City decided to sponsor local “garage sale” events each month, using the venue of the City Library. Participation was “free” if you “donated” 10% of your proceeds to the Chamber of Commerce.
The net result of this is that the garage sale folks, all 3 of them, decided to pool resources. They are renting a small decrepit old barn next to the 4-lane highway, but outside the incorporated area of Idiopolis. The rent is $50 a month, provided they clear away all the brush and clean all contents out of the old barn, per the absentee landowner.
Inside the barn when they rented it were a lot of very old things, such as brass fire extinguishers, old farm tools, even an old John Deere tractor from the 1940’s. They sold the tractor for $3500 to a guy in another state – just got their cash and split it last Friday when the guy showed up with a trailer for the tractor. They went on with their first garage sale outside town last weekend, and the combined receipts are 30% higher after their split. Not counting the tractor, they split $600 they made on the other stuff they found in the dilapidated barn.
Using common sense (there is no online course for that, btw…) – what can we derive from this tale?
1) You cannot fix stupid people.
2) The only way greedy people learn is when they lose money.
3) Police are for revenue collection, much more than they are for civic protection.
4) Laws are written and enforced based on the desires of those in government.
5) Drug laws are a huge waste of your tax money; that cow is long out of the barn.
6) Working together and pooling resources is often a better option than competing, especially when the competition is government searching for your hard earned money
This isn’t any different from what happens in bigger cities – it is just more harmful in smaller places with even less average income. The “idea” that Idiopolis instituted actually came from one of the Chamber people reading an article about Austin, TX regarding permits for garage sales. It’s numbing to think how much similar money is extracted from people in places like Dallas or Houston.
Drug laws, when selectively enforced, simply allow those with connections to make a pile of cash. It should be pretty obvious that drug laws are very much selectively enforced and a great way to establish and maintain a monopoly on a lucrative product. Drug monopolies are invisible in larger cities due to the number of people, officials and places – far easier to observe and discover in small towns like Idiopolis.
The only way to avoid stupid and greedy behavior is to avoid people with those traits.
Vote with your feet. Vote with your wallet. Work together.
Because item #1 above is a truth everyone needs to take to heart
I wonder how long until there are “Mobile garage sales” being run out of trailers, just to avoid the stupidity and greed of municipal governments?”
One of my colleagues this week told me “your mind doesn’t work like anyone else’s, George.”
So I hope OM2 doesn’t take this wrong but the “mobile garage sales” concept is already going strong.
It’s just we call them Craigslist and eBay.
And THAT, in turn, is yet-another reason why at some point – after the current mega-bubble of the market comes a-crashing-down that we will see local governments from every little Idiopolis in the country screaming for licensing of the internet. The leeches have multiplied and their thirst is greater than ever.
Government is no longer By the People for The People.
It is Government by Government and Screw the People. The change is not complete, of course, and the illusion lingers. But when you see the data, you see the trend and it’s everywhere.
Come back next week for further revolutionary musings…and write when you get rich…