The Best-laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future

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Cato Institute, 2007 - Political Science - 416 pages
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Drawing on 30 years of experience reviewing hundreds of government plans, Randal O'Toole shows that, thanks to government planners, American cities are choked with congestion, major American housing markets have become unaf-fordable, and the cost of government infrastructure is spiraling out of control. The book makes the case for repeal of federal planning laws and closure of gov-ernment planning offices. Every American who worries about the insidious growth of the Nanny State must read this book.
 

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Randal is RIGHT ON. He describes perfectly the growing pains San Francisco Bay Area residents are living in now. Too much too fast. Planned overgrowth and planned displacement, point to a total lack of understanding about how people make decisions about how they want to live.
San Francisco went from being one of the easiest cities to get around in to one of the most difficult. We have one of the least affordable housing markets in the world. If the government did not plan to create this mess then their plans are flawed because that is what we have. Development fees fall millions of dollars short of covering the actual infrastructure costs.
Watch for the San Francisco lobbies to descend on Washington with demands for housing and transportation funds.
We are in the middle of a drought that the planners did not plan for, so they are ignoring it. We look forward to seeing Randal next month.
 

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Oversimplified and Misleading
O'Toole does not understand the concept of the Commons. In his last paragraph, by stating that when we all work in our own interest, we work in everyone else's
interest, he demonstrates that he does not understand the situations in which markets fail. His line is a poor interpretation of markets, of freedom, and of the ideas that Adam Smith was trying to express in the Wealth of Nations.
People, when working solely in their own interest, tend to destroy the resources that are common to all people such as air, water, and yes land. In his facts and figures where he states the percentage of land that is developed versus open he fails to differentiate between different types of land. Sure, the United States has a lot of open space if you count the deserts and prairies of the west as well as the undeveloped areas of Alaska and the Northwest. But how about the coastal areas? In short, the points he makes are oversimplified and misleading.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
Part One Forest Planning
7
Part Two Why Planning Fails
45
Part Three LandUse Planning
73
Part Four Why Planners Fail
157
Part Five Transportation Planning
195
Part Six Why Government Fails
279
Part Seven Instead of Planning
311
Notes
357
Index
393
About the Author
417
Cato Institute
418
Back Cover
423
Copyright

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Page 1 - The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy! Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me; The present only toucheth thee: But och! I backward cast my e'e, On prospects drear! An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an

About the author (2007)

Randal O'Toole is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who has written four previous books and numerous papers on housing, urban growth, transportation, and public land issues, including his most recent book, "American Nightmare: How the Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership". He has been a leader in innovative thinking on urban land use, natural resources, and environmentalism.

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