Friday, August 24, 2007

King O'Malley on "Smart Growth"

Previously, I reported on the links between the housing crash and government meddling in the economy, including so-called "smart growth" policies.

Well, to no one's surprise, it seems as if King O'Malley is attempting to bring this failed policy back, full scale. The Baltimore Sun did their usual one-sided ass kissing reporting on this, complete with whiney O'Malley quotes, and just one sentence reserved for even mentioning the many issues that make up the opposition of such policies. We'll break the report down.

”The public is crying out for this,” O’Malley said”

No, your out of state, wealthy, anti-capitalist environmental nut-job friends are crying out for this. Oh, and people like Glendenning, who supports statist control over the property of others because it makes his property values increase in the short-term.

…the governor said Maryland needs to figure out how to accommodate the new people while still preserving its environment and quality of life.

Obviously the higher density urban areas are not marketable to most people in the areas of environment and quality of life. How about you do a better job at crime prevention in those areas? Maybe tax cuts to spur growth? Why would people want to move into urban areas where they risk the safety of their lives and property, and all the while are guaranteed that the government will take more of their money?

It does not make sense to enact policies that discourage growth in suburban, exurban or rural areas, thus driving the costs of existing housing to unaffordable levels when the alternative urban areas are terrible place to live for most people. Make people want to come back to the urban areas, then you won’t need to worry so much about “sprawl.”

The state’s population has increased by 30 percent since 1973, O’Malley noted, while the amount of land developed has doubled.

OH NO! The people are able to afford to buy more land and build their own homes and move up the economic ladder?! The economy has been growing and getting better?! EVERYBODY PANIC, says O’Malley, we can’t have that! Then they’re less likely to vote for him!

”If in the next 30 years we grow like that again, I shudder to think about the future we’re going to leave for our kids,” he said.

Oh please, spare us your crocodile tears. We have it better today than we’ve ever had it before, and there is no reason to suspect we’ll have it worse when the next generation arrives on the economic scene. This increased prosperity will only improve the economy, standards of living and society, naturally, without any of your central planning. Even Baltimore isn’t a lost cause, and as more people are prosperous, it will improve as well.

The governor said he hoped the workshop, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts, would help his administration tweak state development policy so that it protects Chesapeake Bay and saves taxpayers money but also is “predictable,” so businesses, farmers and residents can all get behind it.

Wait, the National Endowment for the Arts??? They have a say in these meetings, but everyone else gets shut out?

Oh and if you want predictable, how about you let landowners, farmers and residents continue to care for their own property, which has been proven to be far more beneficial to the environment than more statist control of land.

”We need to find predictable ways that we as a people can say no to development that is irresponsible and say yes to development that is responsible,” he said.

Like how it would be irresponsible for a family to grow in Baltimore given the present conditions in regards to their personal safety, and the value and safety of their property? Seems alot of people are saying no to the city in the shape you left it, Governor.

Glendening said that he had offered to work with O’Malley to restore what he said is the state’s faded prominence in the nationwide effort to curb sprawl.

Faded prominence, or the fear of a well justified voter backlash on the state’s violation of property rights, like in Oregon?

Some have faulted former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for neglecting or undermining the effort...

You can’t have a Sun article about another grand idea from O'Malley without a swipe at Ehrlich. I guess Ehrlich was supposedly neglectful or undermined “the effort” by supporting more family and property owner-friendly, market-based solutions? You know, the ones that in the end provide for a much better situation? I mean if statist control of land works so well for the environment, then why was the USSR one of the most polluted nations on earth?

...but others have questioned whether state funding alone is a powerful enough incentive to counter market forces and local zoning practices that seem to favor development in green fields over rebuilding faded urban communities.

Ah yes, the token single sentence where the BS presents another view…without any elaboration that might undermine O’Malley’s position, of course. It’s too bad, because this is exactly right. Market forces cannot be tamed. If there is a demand for housing (which there will be so long as people are still being born and growing up to work and make money), there will continue to be the need for a steady supply. In addition, localities know who butters their bread, home and property owners who pay taxes.

But most of the tracts on which houses were built were outside of designated growth areas, and the share grew from 1992 through 2004, the latest year for which data are available, according to the state Department of Planning.

Maybe because the government does a TERRIBLE job at gauging supply and demand, always has always will.

Finally, the communist overtones in this article are downright scary. You know who else had “designated growth?” The USSR. Yeah, how’d those endless rows of block style apartment buildings hold up?

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