The petty controversy: Is curbside recycling a form of socialism? Some residents in a well-to-do community west of Phoenix seem to think so. Tea Party activists in Fountain Hills, Ariz., are undertaking a fierce battle against a new local trash-handling law mandating that a single company will haul all the town's garbage and requiring residents to separate their recyclables. Currently, there is no curbside recycling, and residents can chose between five garbage haulers. Much like "ObamaCare," this new "TrashCare" regime is a strike against citizens' "freedom," says the Fountain Hills Tea Party, one of three local grassroots groups that led the fight against the measure in town council hearings. In this case, it's the freedom to throw out aluminum and "choose your own trash hauler" that's at stake.
The reaction: What's "so bizarre" about sticking up for principled freedom of choice? says E.D. Kain in Balloon Juice. Besides, trash "monopolies" aren't just bad for prices — they're prime breeding grounds for crime and corruption. Sign me up for an efficient monopoly, says Marcy Wheeler in FiredogLake. The "glorious 'choice'" that the Tea Partiers are fighting for simply means that four redundant haulers clog up local roads, and drive up costs to consumers. The bigger problem, says Fountain Hills councilwoman Ginny Dickey, is that "when ideology prevents rational discussion of a really pretty mundane topic, trash, there is no perspective," and that "paralyzes us."