by Tyler Cowen
on September 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm
1. The recalculation story.
2. Markets in everything: lingerie football.
3. Receiving income payments can kill you.
4. Is government, on net, pro- or anti-suburban?
If you think lingerie football is intriguing, you should Google “Ultimate Surrender” (warning: very very NSFW) and see the latest twist on mixed martial arts…
It’s not as sexy as lingerie football but link 3 was interesting, to a wonk.
Link from the secret blog?
Wow, another thing you can blame on the Bush Tax Cuts- people died, but, at least, death was skewed towards the wealthy.
In #4, Caplan is just talking past Yglesias. Caplan cites four “pro-urban” policies that lead him to conclude the U.S. is not necessarily encouraging suburban development:
1. Regulations against developing empty land.
But here, Yglesias would respond, “yes, and let’s have more of them.” One of the examples Caplan cites is the Bay Area which, sure enough, is very densely populated and is a poster-child of city-lovers. The point is there are too many other places like Atlanta or Los Angeles and not enough that are like the Bay Area.
2. Government land ownership.
Suburbs are, by definition, located near a major city. This affects rural exurban development mostly, not suburban.
3. Regulations against mixed use.
These local restrictions are generally popular with suburban voters so I’m not sure what Caplan is aiming at. New urbanists generally favor allowing or encouraging mixed use development to make suburbs look and feel more like cities. Caplan seems to have it backwards in citing this as a pro-urban policy.
4. Gas taxes.
Again, people like Yglesias (and Greg Mankiw) would respond that gas taxes are too low. I seriously doubt there are many Americans who make a decision at the margin to live in a city because of gas taxes at their current levels. Any amount you save on gas taxes would get eaten up by higher housing costs, taxes, parking fees (if you keep your car) or public transit fares (if you scrap it). People may live closer to work because of gas taxes: all the more reason from the point of view of Yglesias and company to raise them even more.
In short, I don’t see much in the way of marginal thinking or big-picture analysis in the Caplan piece.
When big city politicians stopped catering to middle class families, and started catering to other political interests (city worker unions, social engineers, race politics, etc.), middle class families moved out. Big cities either became Downtown Disneyland for the rich and for tourists (i.e. Manhattan), or Ghetto (i.e. Detroit).
Leaving the city for the suburbs was the only way middle class families could escape the corrupt Tammany Hall style political machines.
So yes, government promoted suburbanization… although through its own corruption and incompetence more that some overt policy decision.
Two of my favorite things in life…women and women tackling each other ending up in compromising positions. lingerie football is such a very nice game, i always see this nice game..
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