Currently both Sedgwick County and Wichita are considering trash franchising.
On the surface, “franchising” sounds like a good thing. It sounds like someone’s opening a new Subway sandwich shop.
But what trash franchising does is to grant a monopoly to one (or sometimes a few) service providers for specific geographic areas. Under franchising, people living in an area will have either no choice, or perhaps limited choice, in choosing who picks up their trash. Rates will also be set by government.
The effect of this is that the profit motive for trash haulers is dramatically modified. Under franchising, trash companies have guaranteed customers paying mandated rates. What is the likely effect of this? I refer to Walter E. Williams, who said this: “Here’s Williams’ law: Whenever the profit incentive is missing, the probability that people’s wants can be safely ignored is the greatest.”
The use of the term “franchising” glosses over the consequences of a government mandate of who customers may choose to do business with. Citizens need a better term that accurately describes what our government is considering. Unfortunately, I am having trouble coming up with such a term, so I am asking you for help.
So far I have these terms: “mandatory service provider selection,” “choice elimination,” “enforced selection,” and “trash service reduction program.”
As you see, none of these terms are very artful. So please help me. You may email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave them as a comment to this article. Comments may be anonymous.