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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

—Robert Burns

Somewhere in the United States today, government officials are writing a plan that will profoundly affect other people’s lives, incomes, and property. Though it may be written with the best intentions, the plan will go horribly wrong. The costs will be far higher than anticipated, the benefits will prove far smaller, and various unintended consequences will turn out to be worse than even the plan’s critics predicted.

People might blame the plan’s failure on the officials who wrote it, who may lose their jobs or be voted out of office. More likely, officials and planners will shift the blame to outside circumstances. Who could have known that costs would rise? That new technologies would render the plan useless or pointless? Or that people wouldn’t behave in the ways planners expected? Even more likely, few members of the public will even notice that the plan failed because few will remember what the plan said or that it was written at all. Instead, increased traffic congestion, unaffordable housing, declining employment, or other consequences of the plan will be considered “just one of those things.”

Few will blame any of these problems on the concept of government planning itself. Government planning has become an accepted part of life in these United States. Almost every city and county in the nation has a planning department and many states have laws requiring cities and counties to plan. Running government without planners seems almost as foreign as running marathons without air to breathe.

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