Blogs > Liberty and Power > Your Tax Dollars at Work Harassing Business People

Feb 16, 2004 11:51 am

Your Tax Dollars at Work Harassing Business People

For those of you who have lived or do currently live in a large city you know that local governments are typically larger and therefore far more corrupt and inefficient than their counterparts in smaller communities. We often hear justifications for these large bloated bureaucracies based on economies of scale - larger communities need more rules, regulations and government.

While most American cities have gone through a revival in the past 15 years, several large Northern rust belt cities have been left behind. Detroit is one of them, and if this piece in today's Pravda is any indication the Motor City will continue to languish for a few more years.

OK, let's assume for just a moment that it is necessary for a government to provide certain services in larger cities, like garbage pick-up, education, road maintenance, and perhaps business regulation to"protect" consumers. I don't buy that, but for the moment go with me. Even before those things, what is government's most basic role? Public safety. In a city of 950,000 people there were 35 murders last month and it's police are under investigation for a wide range of civil rights abuses.

So what does Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick decide to do about that? Harass the owners of liquor stores who are predominantly Iraqi Christians. Like most cities, Detroit's liquor stores often serve as mini-marts selling groceries and other things to consumers.

I know this sounds crazy, but I've got a better idea Mr. Mayor. Why not cut the regulation, taxes and bureaucratic redtape that prevents full service supermarkets from locating in your city? In most large cities big box retailers have found that even locating in low income areas is profitable because of the concentration of shoppers, but typically the government has to be flexible on zoning and other matters.

I guess it's easier to score cheap points with voters by" cleaning up" stores owned by another minority group and inflaming bigotry. What would we expect from a politician? A constructive way to spend tax money? Nahhhh.

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