Let me show you it.
Over at Reason, A. Barton Hinkle documents the dismally predictable failure of pro sports subsidies in Gwinnett, Georgia to deliver anything other than a regressive transfer from taxpayers to a baseball team:
Government-funded gifts to sports franchises tend to be sold as economic stimulus, which I imagine is why they’re so beloved of progressives. Guess how well that turned out?
Plans originally called for 300 hotel rooms, 600 residences, more than 300,000 square feet of retail space and twice that much office space. As of last month, the principal developer had broken ground on fewer than 250 apartments—and was so discouraged he wanted to sell part of his holdings to another developer who would build more apartments.
County officials said no. For one thing, nearby homeowners worried about the effect on their property values: “They said they were promised an upscale commercial area,” writes the AJC, “not apartments and car washes.” Besides, Gwinnett officials “say the original plans are worth waiting for.” The chairman of the county planning commission admits the original vision “may not be viable at the moment, but I think it was a good plan originally.”
Next, here’s Warren over at Coyote Blog pointing out another virtue of economies of scale:
It’s short, so I’m quoting it in full:
For all you hipster large and small towns in the northeast who have taken great pride in banning big box stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, good luck rebuilding after the storm. I am sure you are going to be really happy that you banned retail establishments with worldwide logistics resources and that have developed special skills in routing supplies needed for post-storm cleanup. Good luck getting a generator from that boutique hardware store you have been protecting.
It’s worth pointing out that the towns aren’t “hipster towns”, but rather “towns whose governments have been successfully lobbied by hipster constituencies”. (Also, why are we picking on the hipsters again? Statists of all parties have been complaining about large corporate big-box stores since long before it was cool. …oh!) I imagine that the vast majority of people in boxless communities are more or less blameless for this sort of thing, having been mostly annoyed by the debate until they realized how deep they got fucked by the protectionists. Let’s not impute the motives of venal politicians and malicious (and/or stupid) “community activists” to everyone in such a town, mmmkay?
Still, I’d dearly love to see Russ Roberts et al. take a sabbatical to rub every last Naomi Klein wannabe’s nose in all the suffering they’ve caused by making things like gensets and hand tools unnecessarily expensive. Sometimes “that which is unseen” becomes pretty fucking easy to see.
Finally, Ken of Popehat and Marc Randazza tag-team a truly vile scammer. Almost makes me want to go to law school, it does.