Posted by: brian | August 6, 2007

Infrastructure costs money

This comic says it better than I could.

I think the fundamental question raised by this issue is, “What is the role of government?” Implicit in that is the more specific “What should the government do with our tax money?”

I’m working on a paper right now about the rise of suburban sprawl, and the most fascinating part, to me, is the fact that in the 1920s-1940s, the federal government established the following housing policy:

The federal government will subsidize private developers. These developers can build vast tracts of single-family housing with little to no attention to creating good communities, then take their profit, and, when the septic tanks they installed (cuz they were cheaper) fail, we’ll jump in with federal money to install a sewage system. In addition, public housing (“a breeding ground for communists,” according to Joseph McCarthy) will be provided only grudgingly, and built poorly.

Apparently, the federal government is supposed to ensure massive profits for a few people with the power to buy — I’m sorry, influence — policymakers. Making sure that every citizen has a decent place to live is not the government’s role, I guess. (Same goes for adequate healthcare and education, it would seem.)

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