Washington D.C. Takeover of Street Vendor Food

I previously posted a video by the Institute for Justice on how talking without a license as a tour guide could land you in jail for 90 days in the nation’s capital. Yesterday, an op-ed in the Washington Times by Deborah Elson and Caleb Brown notes how Washington D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is trying to limit competition through restrictive laws and regulations prohibiting street vendors to park in certain spots or sell certain types of foods without a licence.

Elson and Brown explain:

The new rules would punish food-truck owners by restricting where they operate, how they apply for licenses and how vendors interact with the public. The attempt to limit competition is at the expense of paying customers, who will find it more inconvenient to enjoy a wide variety of cheap food options, and food vendors, who will be less free to execute business decisions….

Government-designed vending zones, lotteries and parking time limits are at best arbitrary and at worst blatant attempts to protect powerful interests against upstarts. Government meddling into food trucks’ business hours and location arrangements will needlessly complicate decisions that vendors can work out among themselves. As grown-ups seeking aboveboard profits, food-truck vendors are more than able to develop their own informal rules governing how they interact with each other.

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