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BBQ Bus food truck in Washington, DC.

Washington, D.C., has a thriving, delicious food truck culture. On any given weekday, trucks pull up around the city at lunch time to serve barbecue, Indian, Mexican, cupcakes, and much more, often drawing long lines. But now the food trucks' business is suffering for the same reason local businesses outside of national parks are having problems: Republicans shut down the government.

Sales at several gourmet trucks are down 50 percent or more; another has had to lay off employees; and others have decided not to operate, or operate less frequently, until the shutdown is over. [...]

The proprietors of the Stix truck have already cut loose their prep and grill cooks “because we’re unable to pay them,” co-owner Leah Perez said. “It’s just pretty sad out there.”

Josh Saltzman, co-owner of the PORC truck, has decided to take his vehicle off the streets. It took just one day of vending for Saltzman to make the call. On Tuesday, his barbecue truck stopped at Franklin Square, a normally reliable sales location not dependent on federal workers. His sales were off by 50 percent.

Granted, Republicans talk about valuing small businesses a lot more than they actually value them. Nonetheless, it's striking how many small businesses, so praised by Republicans, are being hit hard and quickly by the shutdown. What's a relatively small blip (so far) for giant corporations can be fatal for entrepreneurs trying to build a business with little cushion against the kind of big drop-offs the food trucks are seeing. Will the government reopen and food truck business pick back up before the slow winter season hits? That's up to House Republicans. But it's clear that they care less about promoting small business than they do about hurting federal workers and poor people.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 01:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm sure the food in those trucks isn't the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, a2nite

    healthiest but damn it, people love eating at them. Where I work several of the regular cafeterias on being overhauled and we've got food trucks that come in to our parking lots to ply their wares. Yummy stuff indeed. Effing Republicans don't care who they hurt as long as they get what they want. What do you call people like that? Oh yeah -- psychopaths.

    Spite is the ranch dressing Republicans slather on their salad of racism

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 01:59:42 PM PDT

  •  You know what's really disturbing? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, a2nite, LiberalLoner, viral, worldlotus

    We aren't even talking about reopening the government. Obamacare isn't even mentioned in the national news anymore, except to talk about website glitches. The republicans have stopped using it as a talking point. All we can do is hope that our government doesn't default, and maybe, just maybe, we'll reopen the government before the end of the month.


  •  your GOP: killing Roach Coaches everywhere (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tool, IndieGuy

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:04:21 PM PDT

    •  Gov't shutdown POLL: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For the second time in less than a week, my local right wing rag is polling on who is responsible for the gov't shutdown and the local wingnuts are all blaming Pres Obama.....and not, the real arsonists (House Republicans).


      Poll is on the bottom right hand side.

      "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:04:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is so damn easy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All that needs to happen is for the house to pass a bill putting back to work, the workers that go out and have their lunch at a food truck.

    I mean, really, this is just one of hundreds, maybe thousands, of individual bills that could be passed to restore government services whenever a group or individual is found to suffer.

    Congress should just spend from now to eternity passing individual bills for a few jobs here, a few jobs there, so that innocent people aren't hurt. Eventually the government will be back to 100% full strength. It may take years of passing bills one at a time, but what the have to fight whatever publicity happens.

    Marry the one you love, not the one a bigot says you're allowed to love.

    by lotac on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:05:59 PM PDT

  •  This was featured today on WAMU Kojo Nnamdi (8+ / 0-)

    On his daily noon to two show on the DC public radio station.  It's not just food trucks.  Owners of small breakfast and lunch places near federal buildings.  One caller mentioned a Dunkin Donuts, franchise owned, in a federal building which had to close when the government shut down.  Think not just of the business owners, but of their employees too.  Of course, the fancier restaurants suffer too, as federal employees won't go out to eat when we don't know when we will be getting our next pay check.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:15:36 PM PDT

    •  The Agenda on Sirius/XM by Media Matters (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IndieGuy, Lost and Found, worldlotus

      has been covering this.  They interviewed quite a few people who are affected, i.e., the workers at the McDonalds in the Smithsonian.

      I know it won't happen, but I would love, love, love it if the Democrats while advocating and voting for the furloughed workers getting paid after the shutdown is over, whenever that is, I would love it if they would bring up a bill to pay those workers who work in federal facilities for private businesses to be reimbursed for their lost wages... for starters.

      It's a lockout for those workers in federal buildings where they must be reimbursed for lost wages.  

      That would be easy to calculate.  

      The food truck businesses are another story but with the same consequences.  

    •  And didn't I read somewhere that (0+ / 0-)

      the Congressional cafeteria is still open, because it is apparently an essential government function?

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:34:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Food trucks are part of the collateral damage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the GOP war on democracy.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:33:44 PM PDT

  •  Rs hate small biz & humans so it makes sense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:40:21 PM PDT

  •  Worker in a pinch often times go to their local (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy, LinSea

    food trucks over other fast food restaurants. The food is not the healthiest but it certainly is safe, cheap, and better then eating a whooper every day. In NYC you can get Halal, Mexican, Indian, Ethiopian, and other exotic foods on the go.  

    “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” George Orwell

    by Tool on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:48:46 PM PDT

    •  I remember the "roach coach" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea, Lost and Found, worldlotus

      of way back when -- got to admit I still miss the breakfast burritos packed full of eggs, cheese, meat and potatoes. One of those would keep me going well past lunch, so I could use my lunch hour for a good walk uphill and back down. One of those was frequently the payoff for football bets between me and one of the guys I worked with; loser had to buy the winner breakfast. Would love to check out some of the current fare at the ones around here.

      The current trucks are supposedly a Republican's dream -- pure entrepreneurship. But "pro-business" is the same as "pro-life" to the current Right-wing...they're "pro-life" till the baby's actually born, and they're "pro-business" if the business is big enough to funnel money into their pockets.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 04:16:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ACK! Sorry about the HR. It was not intended. I (0+ / 0-)

    clicked the wrong thing and thought I'd got rid of the HR and Recommended, but something messed up. VERY, VERY, VERY, SORRY! All caps seemed appropriate for that.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 06:01:27 PM PDT

  •  I'm seeing the same sort of thing in Arlington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are usually numerous food trucks parked near the metro station I use--today, only three.
    The pedestrian traffic is also way down, so the bricks-and-mortar restaurants in my very mixed-use neighborhood must be suffering, too.

  •  Thanks for posting (0+ / 0-)

    One small example of the ripple effect on the economy this is already having.  

  •  What happens if they make it permanent? (0+ / 0-)

    This was always the Tea Party endgame - government not operating at all. I'm sure they'll put out a bill that funds the military that the Dems will fall for, but otherwise they're perfectly happy with the situation as it is, and willing to do as much damage as possible until they get what they want. They just really don't care. What is the option if this goes on for a month? 2 months? 6 months?

    And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here.

    by Fordmandalay on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:14:47 PM PDT

  •  That's true (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Republicans talk about valuing small businesses a lot more than they actually value them."

    Republicans rarely support policies that help small businesses.  The "small businesses" featured in promotions of their agenda are typically big businesses.

    Another truth that needs mentioning here is the fact that Republicans avoid publicly embracing big business. Looking at both truths together, one realizes that Republicans are hiding a big business agenda behind the skirts of small businesses. And, very often, that big business agenda is advanced at the expense of small businesses, bringing us to a third truth:  Big business supporters of "capitalism" habitually use their Congressional influence to undermine entrepreneurial competition.

  •  Remember the rest of us hostages (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamesGG, dclawyer06, akeitz, anafreeka

    Namely, DC residents. I am lucky that the government contracts I manage are still operational, but the real question for us are city services. The DC government is forbidden to spend our own tax money during a shutdown, which makes absolutely no logical sense, and the contingency $$ that the city has been using to continue little things like garbage pickup (in some cases covering for furloughed feds) can't last more than a few more days. Yet we are powerless to do anything about it, because while we are residents and taxpayers in this country, we are not full citizens, having no voice in Congress (and yes, I am aware I could move to the suburbs, but I happen to love the city and just because I chose to live here doesn't make it right that I not have full citizenship).

    I also have to wonder to contracts like mine in a default. That's something that's never mentioned by the GOP claiming we have enough $$ to fund the interest on the debt - what about existing contractual obligations worth billions of dollars with contractors large and small? Is the government going to walk away from those contracts? The full faith and credit of the US doesn't just impact foreign investors, but domestic business as well. I can't believe the GOP in Congress thinks the government should simply ignore contractual obligations - being such fans of private property and all, but wouldn't any form of "prioritization" - assuming it's legal - require at least some of that.

    Boycott Russian vodka, Russian caviar and all things Russian. LGBT oppression cannot be allowed to stand.

    by CPT Doom on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:21:51 PM PDT

    •  I imagine it will cost tons to terminate contracts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Termination at the convenience of the government -- you see when the government ends a contract early it's already negotiated into the contract that the government must pay penalties to the contractor for doing so.

  •  Thanks for this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The GOP has taken ownership of the nation's economy as an election issue. Democrats better have the discipline required to pin this on their radical asses.

    The GOP tore out the foundation of the economic recovery. Now----if all this austerity plunges us into another recession, we should make sure the blame is doled out accurately.

  •  Ceviche! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My favorite lunch truck stopped coming because my employer laid off a bunch of employees and moved production to Asia.

    We are supposed to boycott Mcdonald's because they don't pay $15 an hour, right?

    The guys that run lunch trucks pay their friends or relatives who work on the truck $15 an hour, right?

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:48:23 PM PDT

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