Monday, June 22, 2009

Park month

Ken Ulman will proclaim July as “Recreation and Parks Month” in Howard County. By stealing from taxpayers to fund public parks, Ulman and other thieves born of democracy are destroying wealth rather than creating it. From a cost benefit perspective parks make us worse off, not better off. This is not my opinion, this is an economic fact.

Unlike public goods (roads, national defense, etc.), parks are private goods in that they are rival and excludable. They are not underprovided in a freed market. The reason there are few private parks is because few people are willing to pay for them. The land that the parks sit on nearly always has higher economic value if put to another use. The biggest cheerleaders of public parks are those who frequently use them or those who simply like the idea of them. The reality is that there are probably more people in Howard County who pay taxes and never set foot in a park than those who use them. Most local parks are ghost towns two seasons of the year.

I wish our elected officials had the good sense to realize that government is a “necessary” evil. Political “leaders” should be trying to think of ways to make government services unnecessary rather than trying to find new ways to destroy our hard earned wealth by providing services for which the costs exceed the value. Rather than attempting to minimize the size and waste of government, politicians force the tentacles of government into more and more areas where government does not belong.

Interestingly, one of the best private alternatives to public parks of which I am aware is something very local. It is, of course, the open space provided by the private Columbia Association.

Happy wealth destroying month!


Eludius said...

Wow, you're an absolute free marketist. As long as there's a fishing hole or a bike path or a playground, I'm totally fine with someone stealing a portion of my money. Mostly because I'll use the park. I can't buy my own park or build a fishing hole.

I do, however, have a problem wih the government stealing my money to bail out companies like AIG when they've hedged their bets, but get reimbursed for losses by the tax-payers.

Freemarket said...

So you don't mind being robbed, as long as the money goes to subsidize stuff that you like.

Democracy is like going out to dinner with a bunch of people and agreeing beforehand to split the check evenly. The people who like this idea are the ones to are going to order a couple of Patron Margaritas and get the most expensive entrees.