Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That's The Spirit!

Two NJ companies step up to aid Newark with its toilet paper crisis

The Star Ledger is reporting that Marcal Manufacturing of Elmwook Park and are coming to the rescue of Newark City employees who will have to work without the benefit of taxpayer funded toilet paper should Mayor Cory Booker make good on his proposal to plug his $180 million budget hole in part by eliminating tushy tissue from the office supplies account.

The Star Ledger article said, "The company also plans to help out Newark city employees by pulling up in front of City Hall in their tractor trailer handing out 50,000 rolls of recycled toilet paper to people who show their city IDs. The 50,000 rolls amounts to almost $35,000 dollars."

Ewwwww. The Star Ledger editors might want to rephrase that. I think they meant that Marcal is handing out rolls of tissue made from recycled paper.

Booker is also cutting the Christmas decoration budget. The atheists will like that, but their lawyers won't. responded by saying they would put a button on their website for their customers to donate paper printed with holiday decorations. They should print tissue with holly leaves so that the employees can get used to the idea of cleaning up the very old fashioned way.

The head of said, "Isn’t it someone’s right to have toilet paper at work?" I don't remember that chapter from my undergrad Con Law class, but if the unions sue Booker for the right to toilet paper at work, I wouldn't put it passed a judge to find that right in the constitution.

The publicity that Marcal and justtoiletpaper have gotten already is cheap advertising compared to what their generosity will cost them. Unless of course Marcal really is distributing recycled toilet paper (where would they get it?), in which case the publicity will not be so good. Being a student of politics, I don't subscribe to the theory that all press is good press. John Edwards would agree with me.

Joking aside, Newark's budget crisis and the two companies' stepping up point to an opportunity for cash strapped communities throughout New Jersey, if not throughout the world: Charity and volunteerism.

Communities already use donations and volunteers for important government functions. "Adopt a Highway" is an example of such generosity. Private sponsorship of fireworks is something many of us enjoyed early this month. There are lots of examples. Volunteerism is already critical to many municipal government functions. Planning boards, zoning boards, environmental commissions are filled with volunteers. Many many communities have volunteer fire departments and first aid squads.

What other government functions could be donated or performed by volunteers? Most, I think.

The benefits would be more than financial. Neighbors would get to know each other, and their families. People could learn tasks and skills from each other. A sense of community would develop.

What's to prevent more charity and volunteerism? Laws, rules and regulations promulgated by governments to justify their existence and dominate the people for one. Litigiousness and liability for another, which is really more of the government justifying its existence and domination.

Government has gotten so big and invasive in New Jersey, and elsewhere. We've become so accustomed to it, that we've lost sight of what it is costing us, beyond money.

No comments: