Thank Goodness for Dear, Glorious Leader Sheldon Silver

Almost exactly one year ago, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser wrote a great little essay for the New York Sun’s op/ed page that asked the question, Does New York Suffer From A Soviet Traffic System?:

The Soviet approach to markets
set prices at some controlled price, and then let shortages ensue.
Under this system, millions wasted hours queuing and goods went to
consumers with the time to stand on line rather than to consumers who
valued the goods most. Today, you don’t need to go through the messy
process of getting a visa to Cuba or North Korea to see the social
costs of under-pricing. Right here in New York, we don’t charge
anything for using a particularly valuable resource: car access to
Manhattan streets.

Today, on the very same op/ed page, the Sun’s Jacob Gershman praises the New York State Assembly’s Soviet-style political apparatus for throwing a wrench into Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plans:

Thank goodness for Sheldon Silver. Mr. Silver, the obstructionist, the political merchant, the dour face of Albany’s status quo, is one of the few voices of caution in the intensifying battle over congestion pricing. Whatever the motive, Mr. Silver and one of his colleagues in the Assembly, Richard Brodsky, have been asking the right questions in a debate that could use a dose of reality.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I don’t know if a sneer at Cuba is really necessary. Could be that Cuba is using less carbons per capita than anywhere in the world, that should stand for something. Also, my friends who have been there claim that is very bicycle centric. Maybe critical mass should organize a rally there before Castro passes. Harvard scholars who write for the Sun (Sun and scholarship, contradiction in terms) should never be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    As Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute points out, the driving force behind the mayor’s plan is money. […]

    If money weren’t the object, they’d give the revenues back via a tax cut. […]

    “Before you impose new costs, manage better, use the money more efficiently,” said a historian of Mayor Giuliani’s administration, Fred Siegel.

    I don’t know if there’s a fuller version of Gelinas’ comments anywhere, but judging by this comment, she deserves to have her libertarian credentials revoked. Why is she opposed to charging drivers the full costs of commuting to Manhattan?

    The same thing for Fred Siegel as a historian: if he knows anything about Giuliani’s administration he’d know that Giuliani and Pataki cut the MTA budget deeply. I’m perfectly willing to believe that the MTA could use its money more efficiently, but at least return it to a reasonable level of funding before demanding that.

    It just shows how inconsistent some libertarians can be: any subsidy they don’t like can be reduced in the name of efficiency, but any subsidy they like is untouchable.

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