And the problem is?
A taco truck on every corner? So, heaven?
Marco Gutierrez, founder of Latinos for Trump, made a nasty threat on MSNBC Thursday night. “My culture is a very dominant culture and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it you’ll have taco trucks on every corner,” said Gutierrez.
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) September 2, 2016
I’m not entirely sure what problems Gutierrez is referring to nor did he effectively clarify what he meant, but would an abundance of taco trucks be such a bad thing?
Surely an influx of tacos would drive down the price, making tacos the most readily accessible and affordable food around.
Phillip Bump explores the economic ramifications of a ‘taco truck on every corner’:
The first question we must answer is how many trucks we’re talking about. A corner is dependent on an intersection of street, a place where two roads meet or where one road turns. For the purposes of our thought experiment, we will assume that Gutierrez didn’t mean a truck literally on every corner — that would be ridiculous. Instead, let’s assume that he meant a truck at every intersection.
There doesn’t appear to be an official tally of the number of intersections in the United States, in part thanks to our using this term to describe a lot of possible combinations of streets.
We do have estimates of the number of intersections with stoplights in the country, though. In 2004, the Institute of Transportation Engineers estimated that there are 265,000 “signalized intersections” in the country. But that report also included a rule of thumb suggesting a ratio between the number of intersections with stoplights and the population: For every 1,000 people, one intersection with a stoplight. That doesn’t quite hold in New York City, where there are 12,460 intersections with stoplights and a population of only 8.4 million. But it’s fairly close, so let’s use it. That would peg the current number of intersections with stoplights in America at 322,000.
That’s just intersections with stoplights, of course. Estimating how many other intersections there are is even harder. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there are nine un-signalized intersections for every intersection with a stoplight. The density of stoplights is higher in a city — Manhattan has 2,820 signals but probably about 3,500 intersections — but out in more rural areas, they’re rarer. Here’s a random swath of rural Kansas: Lots of intersections, few signals.
That would give us about 3.2 million intersections in the United States. And it would mean that, per Gutierrez’s vision of the future, we’d suddenly see 3.2 million conveniently located taco trucks. How ubiquitous is that? Well, it’s one on every corner. But we can also compare it to Starbucks, which seems pretty ubiquitous in a lot of places. In 2012, there were about 11,000 Starbucks locations in the United States.
But it’s where we’re headed, apparently, if Trump loses. That’s good news for the economy in one way. If you assume that three people work in each truck, that’s 9.6 million new jobs created. The labor force in August was 159.4 million, with 144.6 million employed. Adding 9.6 million taco truck workers would help America reach nearly full employment — and that’s just the staffing in the trucks. Think about all of the ancillary job creation: mechanics, gas station workers, Mexican food truck management executives. We’d likely need to increase immigration levels just to meet the demand.
His whole piece is worth reading and should probably be a Pulitzer contender.
If you need me, I’ll be daydreaming about tacos.
The entire interview is here:
DISCLAIMER: The author of this post LOVES tacos. Like, really loves tacos. They’re probably her favorite non-coffee food.
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