Government: Getting in the Way of You and Your Lunch
On Monday, the city and county government in Edwardsville, Ill., banned the Pi Truck from selling pizza in the city. Edwardsville isn’t the only place that has banned food trucks — the municipality of Clayton has, too.
This demonstrates how the government can get in the way of business. And, when it does, business owners and consumers both lose. The story of the Pi truck illustrates how regulation by local governments may quash entrepreneurism and innovation and reduce freedom of choice. Because of these local restrictions, many hungry consumers cannot enjoy a freshly baked pizza on their lunch break, despite being willing and able to pay. As an unintended negative consequence, individuals have to drive out of their way in order to enjoy the product. (It certainly defeats the purpose of a food truck that travels to the consumer, doesn’t it?)
What is the ostensible reason for this particular ban? Do existing restaurants in the region lobby their government to tilt the playing field to their favor? Instead of competing with food trucks, do they convince their government to kick out their competitors? Does the local government enforce a stricter land use and aesthetic regulation of the area? Do concerns about health safety exist? If yes, then why is it OK for vendors at the Taste of Clayton to serve food outside, but not OK for food trucks?
I am in the process of tracking down the regulations in Edwardsville and Clayton that restrict food trucks from selling products in the region.
Sure, the pizza truck can tweet, but can it make phone calls? If it can, I encourage it to call me at the Show-Me Institute, because I would love to highlight this story on a free-market field trip!