Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Street Cleaning

I know I'm repeating myself endlessly, but maybe eventually the world will make me dictator and I can implement my grand vision to save the universe. But my city, like many others, has a shortage of street cleaners. It's one of those things they cancel to save money and then never bring back. I think in Philly only areas that set up special neighborhood/business district taxation areas have regular street cleaning. Now a lack of street cleaning doesn't destroy the world, but it obviously makes the world a less desirable place. More seriously, as trash goes down the drain during storms it can cause problems with your storm drainage systems, especially if those systems are quite old. This can lead to basement flooding and significant damage.

There are a bunch of unemployed people around. Street cleaning isn't a highly skilled job, and I'm pretty sure for a reasonable wage you could find a lot of people willing to clean streets. This would turn unemployed people into employed people, reducing the current quantity of human misery, and provide the added benefits of healthier water systems and cleaner streets.

All of this is just an overly long way of making the obvious point that there are simple productive tasks that don't require that much in the way of planning that the federal government could spend money on. I'm not sure how well my street cleaning plan scales nationwide, but I'm sure we could think of other mostly productive things for people to do.