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No exegesis here, just the thought for your consumption pleasure. Reflect upon the mass of taxes, regulations, welfare interventions, work restrictions, licensing, urban planning, immigration restriction, lack of congestion pricing, limits on Big Box stores, etc. that occurs in the city. Think about how attractive this makes cities relative to suburbs, exurbs and rural areas. Think about the problem of “sprawl” and open space for wildlife conservation. Then ask yourself, if “planners” ought to impose high taxes, barriers to entrepreneurship, barriers to immigration, etc. ought it not be out in the suburbs, exurbs and rural areas that we hope to preserve?

It’s not rocket science, which is exactly why the planners get it wrong. If I were the Benevolent Dictator of Western, NY the first thing I would do is allow open immigration to the area – completely flouting federal law. Any immigrant who wishes to work and live in our cities, and commits to staying here would be welcome to come with no penalty or threat of penalty. The second thing I would do is eliminate all urban planning committees, and eliminate all zoning rules within city limits. The third thing I would do is eliminate entirely the property tax – and if that were politically unpopular, I would at least restrict the taxes to the value of the land and eliminate the tax on improvements in the value of land. The fourth thing I would do, and this would be the only use of public money I would allow (because it undoes the damage prior interventions with public money have caused), is to subsidize the demolition of decaying and decrepid structures, and provide funding assistance for urban cleanup and basic amounts of home renovation. Fifth, I’d legalize anything that’s peaceful. Sixth, I’d eliminate all occupational licensing – for all occupations. If folks want me to treat their ailing heart, I would be permitted to do it. If urban residents wanted the security of licensed occupations – they can drive to the suburbs where everything would be just as it is today. Seventh, I’d accept payments for taxes in the forms of other monies, not just dollars denominated in Federal Reserve “dollars.” Eight, any federal or state monies that were sent to the city would be refused unless they took the form of block grants to be used to purchase services privately. This would mean the end of public schooling and Medicaid as you know it. Ninth, … you get the point.

Incredibly no city has ever attempted a move toward economic and real political freedom. Reflect on the myriad problems crushing many urban centers across the United States. Reflect on the decline of many once great American cities. Now, I am not sure these places ought not decline. But it should be stunning to readers that not in any one single case has “the freest nation on Earth” experimented with … you know … freedom. What, do we think freeing the people of Buffalo or Syracuse or Rochester would make those places … worse?

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