Leslie is trying to prepare for the correspondents’ lunch by testing her jokes on the Parks Department. While most of her jokes revolve around a local newspaper that has picked on Leslie in the past, she decides to ask her colleagues if they have any jokes she can use Ron decides to tell the gang a joke about efficient governments, but Leslie doesn’t find it all that funny.
Leslie shares her opinion that a vendor at the farmers’ market has a crude display, and cites this as a reason to kick them out. Some citizens argue that government should not play an active role in dictating norms in society, but Leslie feels that’s the part of the government’s responsibility. This could be argued from a public choice perspective or as the role of government in correcting externalities.
Local restaurants are now offering giant sodas, filled with sugar. The child-sized soda is actually the size of a small child! Leslie proposes a soda tax to cut back on citizen’s consuming the sugary beverages, but a representative of the Pawnee Restaurant Association warns Leslie against doing so. Because this will limit the number of sodas being sold, restaurants may have to layoff up to 100 workers and Leslie will be the one to blame.
April accidentally schedules all of Ron’s meetings for March 31st because she doesn’t think it’s a real day. Instead, Ron has to deal with a variety of concerned citizens, many of whom are causing externalities throughout the city.
The Pawnee Video Dome is failing and going out of business. Leslie is trying to find tax breaks to keep him afloat, but Ron says the market is signaling that the company is not providing enough value to consumers and deserves to fail. If companies provide a social good (like intellectual conversations) then governments may step in and subsidize the production of the service.
Leslie’s first act as a city councilwoman is to implement a soda tax because she believes that it will make Pawnee healthier. The new larger sodas are causing obesity in town and Leslie aims to regulate the market through taxes. Depending on the size of the local elasticity, there may not be much of a change in consumption, but it could mean additional revenue for the city.
The Parks Department is hosting a BBQ in the local park. Ron decides to bring a pig to the park because he wants people to see their food before consuming it. He is not allowed to because it is against the law and violates health codes despite his beliefs that he should be allowed to as the Parks Department director.
A young student needs to interview someone for a school project and stumbles upon Ron in the office. Her project is supposed to focus on the role of government in society, which gives Ron the opportunity to share his libertarian views about the government’s purpose. After describing these views, the young student’s parent comes back very unhappy.
Ron invites Mark over to his workshop because he needs a license in order to continue selling products. Ron describes how he shouldn’t have to follow government regulations about toxic chemicals because he’s the only one breathing the fumes. If he isn’t bothering others then he doesn’t feel the need to be regulated.
Ron describes his promotion to manager of a sheet metal factory at the age of 9, but regrets that child labor laws are now ruining this country. Child labor laws a good example of decreasing in supply of labor for the early 1900s and a service as a good discussion on the role of government.