I’m listening to “This American Life” right now and they were talking about an experiment in Colorado Springs after the start of the recession in which some services were put up for pay when a tax increase didn’t go through. So bills went out saying street lights would be turned off unless you paid for the one by your house — credit cards accepted.
This reminded me of a conversation that happend last week. I was talking with my friend Brad in a food line, celebrating that both Champaign and Decatur have gone to recycling for everyone included with your regular tax collection. We both were marveling at how little we have in regular trash now. Someone we didn’t know behind us spoke up and grumbled that it was unfair that he had to pay for recycling as part of his garbage pickup when he didn’t make use of it. Brad’s response was wonderful:
“We live in a community and we need to all contribute to things that are for the betterment of that community.”
I love the response. I would have begun a debate about the merits of recycling, the overall cost savings as landfill use goes down, etc. But his response really cut to the chase. We live in community. We need to support the community. We need to make sure that the whole community is benefitted, and especially those who most need our help.