free market subsidies
April 5, 2011, 3:52 am
Filed under: betaCITY, Cities | Tags: ,

The author and economist Glaeser points to the environmental costs of sprawl in the following quotation.  And, of course, these days when someone mentions environmental costs, everyone gasps and pays lip service and some superficial changes are made.

In the second sentence the author talks about economic costs – we are subsidizing home ownership.  Economic as in cash, dosh, funds, coin – the hard cold stuff.  And taking into account our public debt, I begin to wonder – are the costs environmental or monetary?  And wouldn’t it make sense to talk about the money right up front rather than couching the topic in something we tend to take or leave, like environmentalism?  He says we are ‘implicitly’ encouraged to abandon cities.  How is flooding public money into suburbs (and not into cities) implicit?

Seriously, everyone’s named their dog lucky and wants to be shown the money, and knows the green stuff’s what makes the world go round.  It’s the goddam lingua freaking franca.  So, someone please say it:  the costs are economic.  We fund craziness, and everyone moves out into the fully subsidized suburb and starts boasting he ‘did it on his own.’  And 50 years later we collectively wonder why the debt has risen like a sea around us.

Here is the excerpt from p 13:

The environmental costs of sprawl should move government to put the brakes on car-based living, but American policies push people to the urban fringe.  The spirit of Thomas Jefferson, who liked cities no more than Gandhi did, lives on in policies that subsidize home ownership and highways, implicitly encouraging Americans to abandon cities.

Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City, p 13

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