A Grumpy Economist on ‘Pay toilets and NYT: a free market microcosm’

So John Cochran of the Grumpy Economist seems a good Blog to follow, this was an amusing reminder of something I had not thought about for awhile.

Nicholas Kristof in Sunday’s New York Times asks a pressing — often quite pressing — question. Why are there no public toilets in America? He is right. He calls for a federal infrastructure plan to fix the problem: “Sure, we need investments to rebuild bridges, highways and, yes, electrical grids, but perhaps America’s most disgraceful infrastructure failing is its lack of public toilets.”

The absence of pay toilets is in fact a delightful encapsulation of so much that is wrong with American economic policy these days. Activists decide free toilets are a human right, and successfully campaign to ban pay toilets. For a while, existing toilets are free. Within months, upkeep is ignored, attendants disappear, and the toilets become disgusting, dysfunctional and dangerous. Within a few years there are no toilets at all. Fast forward, and we have a resurgence of medieval diseases that come from people relieving themselves al fresco. Now let’s talk about rent control.

As with so many things ‘basic human rights’ as espoused by progressives are no such thing. Anything that requires other peoples money is not a ‘basic’ human right, and as above toilets cost money and public toilets are paid for by the public, or no one at all.

In England I know (having lived there in my early years and visited later) that pay toilets were/are a thing. And I have seen articles out of the UK and Europe discussing all sorts of robo toilets to make maintenance less of an issue (Though I seem to remember a story about someone getting stuck in one [maybe after cheating the pay system?] and getting thoroughly doused in sanitizer etc which I think killed that attempt.}

I seem to remember as above that the toilets were 1Penney (spend a penny anyone?) when I was a kid. It was enough. Why is this so onerous on the ‘poor’ you can usually find a penny on the ground if you look hard enough. So what gives? What gives is that the people who can’t pay, won’t pay for this, they would never spend any kind of ‘coin’ that might go for a drink or drugs or….who wants to know? Anyway this is another one of those stupid, stupid, stupid misreadings of human nature and human needs that is tearing our culture, and civilization, apart.

So in flyover country this is not that much of an issue. Any normal fast food facility has reasonably clean bathrooms that are maintained for the use of their staff and customers. While they discourage the use by none customers it’s not that big a deal. I usually stop at a McDonald’s for the ‘duty’ and then get a coffee or a small snack to pay for the privilege and am happy to do it.

I don’t like Cities Sam I am, I do not like them man oh man…

Cheers

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