Wednesday, July 16, 2014
notes the careless use of polling data to excuse government looting and
It turns out that government spent your billions on urban transit based on surveys that asked people if they want to live in "walkable communities."Set aside the important moral objections to the government confiscating money from individuals -- for any purpose -- and think about this for a moment.
Of course people said yes! Who doesn't want to live in a neighborhood where you can "walk to shops"? But if they'd asked, "Are you willing to spend about four times as much per square foot to live in a city instead of a spacious suburban home?" they'd get different answers.
Why would the bureaucrats bother getting better information? They aren't accountable to customers or backers who will want to know where the money went if it doesn't yield some kind of return. They'll personally look busy collecting their data and analyzing it ad nauseam to produce the kinds of results their agencies need to justify raking in more money. So many people are used to being robbed of nickels and dimes on a daily basis that the few who are curious about where their money is going won't have the time to get into much of a lather about whether they think it is being wasted. Indeed, such polling data will make it look like most people are getting what they want and defuse all but the most principled anger.
I could go on, but isn't it mind-boggling how the abdication of the trader principle makes government planning even dumber than common sense would suggest, based on the fact that government planners, being human beings, aren't omniscient to begin with.