By Gary Burns | Buffalo Business First
It’s supremely ironic that so many anti-government, hyper-free-market, regulation-is-bad, laissez-faire-loving business people in downtown Buffalo are up in arms because of the threat to their wallets posed by food trucks on the city streets.
It just makes me want to laugh.
Here we have Carl Paladino, of all people, whining that the food trucks are “unfairly competing with tenants in buildings who pay good rent and taxes.”
He has become a de facto spokesman for Buffalo Place members who apparently object to the free-market competition presented by the food trucks.
What does he think a free-market is, anyway? If operations like the hugely popular Lloyd’s Taco Truck can find a way to succeed against downtown restaurateurs – who may happen to be Paladino’s tenants – then good for Lloyd and his ilk.
American business is not fair and it never has been. Business is a hard-nosed game, often tinged with cruelty and a disregard for the losers. Carl Paladino surely must know that.
Look, huge American corporations have no problem offshoring jobs to low-paying countries, do they? Heck no. When jobs are sent overseas, the high honchos in the board rooms have little patience for whiners who may complain about how millions of American workers are being treated unfairly.
The stockholders demand profits, do they not? Competition demands that corporations outsource their workforces. How much is actually built in this country anymore? Not much. And free-market, rough-and-tumble, winner-take-all capitalism is the reason why.
But when we take this down to a local scale, when we talk about food truck operators going up against the downtown Buffalo business establishment, there is suddenly a problem with free-and-open competition – competition that happens to include a bit of cutthroat gaming of the rules.
Those rules are just fine when you always win. But when the game goes against you, is it right to cry about it? That’s what some downtown business people are doing now. Now, certain power brokers see the need to impose rules and regulations on the competition. Suddenly the free market isn’t such a good idea.
Irony? Loads of it. Hypocrisy? You betcha. And a hardy-har-har-har to that.