Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tall on Intensions Short on Results: Greensboro’s Thirty Year Political Odyssey on the Road to Cacotopia

‘Economic “planning” is one of many politically misleading expressions. Every economic activity under every conceivable form of society has been planned. What differs are the decision making units that do the planning - which range from children saving their allowances to buy toys to multinational corporations exploring for oil to the central planning commission of a communist state. What is politically defined as economic “planning” is the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by government officials.‘(1)


It is a known-known in political economy that politicos want the focus on their intentions not their results. Results are politically inconvenient. Intentions are politically paramount.

If one ponders and reflects for a moment about the inconvenient results of economic “planning“ regarding Greensboro, NC, results of over thirty years of economic “planning” regarding a parade of politicos of basically the same ilk, the aggregate intensions thereof, the result is a +21% poverty rate and one of the highest tax rates in the state. Sweet!

One might further consider that the inconvenient result might be an indicator that the aggregate intensions are a monumental flop.

How in the world can one manage to achieve, simultaneously, the results of mass poverty and max tax? One would have to really work at achieving such a result. One would have to deploy the world's worst policy, on a consistent and constant basis to achieve mass poverty and max tax [see Detroit, Michigan].

Moreover, the powers that be, the non-resultant, keep deploying the same policy over and over. Better yet, they gleefully introduce more of the same e.g. music hall, mega site. Gleefully introduce more of the same as if their past track record is something to crow about.

One would be hard pressed to assign a moniker to a public policy process that results in the poor becoming poorer and the taxed become more taxed. However there are terms that describe the result: cacotopia aka dystopia.

On the thirty year road to cacotopia, one would be remise to only identifying the losers i.e. the poor becoming poorer and the taxed becoming more taxed. Winners surely occurred and are occurring. One can’t spend a gazillion dollars of taxpayer money over thirty years and find the only result being the poor becoming poorer and the taxed becoming more taxed. The taxpayer money went somewhere and that somewhere is the realm of winners. In other words, the plans of the few supersede the plans of the many with the result being a particular and select few winners and many losers. Very nice indeed.

The government has nothing to give. The government is simply a mechanism which has the power to take from some to give to others. It is a way in which some people can spend other peoples' money for the benefit of a third party - and not so incidentally themselves". (2)


(1) Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions, 1996 edition, pgs. 213 and 214.

(2) The Invisible Hand in Economics and Politics, Milton Friedman, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1981, p11.