Monday, September 03, 2007

Perfect storm

The climate change scarce makes it possible for politicians at all levels of government to grab for the worst policies. In California, state politicos (the governor, the legislature and the irrepressible AG Jerry Brown) have found a new way to involve themselves in local land use planning.

The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters (thanks to Brad Hill for the tip) writes about how high-density development and increased transit use have now risen to the top of California lawmakers' agenda.

Where to start? Most people do not want high-density living and avoid public transit. Years of policies that favor both have had no appreciable effect except to waste tons of money. (They also helped drive up home prices.) Further politicizing local land use and planning decisions is poison. California can do nothing to appreciably affect climate change.

Reason (Oct 2007, not yet online) includes Bryan Caplan on "The 4 Boneheaded Biases of Stupid Voters ..." They are anti-market bias, anti-foreign bias, make-work bias and pessimistic bias. These ideas are further developed in his wonderful book, The Myth of the Rational Voter.

The perfect storm, of course is when one policy embraces all four of these at once. That is apparently the genius of California's leaders.