24 Jun 2014

By Federal Law: Everyone Must Live Here

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pacific-heights
San Francisco: nice view, kind of pricey though.

Kevin D. Williamson considers the implications of applying the principles behind Obamacare more widely.

I have heard it argued that the San Francisco Bay Area is not only the nation’s but the world’s most desirable metropolis. I don’t buy that for a minute, but it’s not entirely implausible. There’s great natural beauty, and many of the world’s most creative people and institutions choose to make the area their home. It’s pricey by American standards but still a bargain by global standards. Like New York City in its golden age, it is a glorious collision between culture and money.

Let’s assume that the Bay Area partisans are correct in their high estimation of the metropolis. What might we do with that information? Why not pass a law requiring everybody in the United States to live there? As with the Affordable Care Act’s approach to health insurance, we wouldn’t be forcing an inferior product on people; we’d be forcing them to drop their second-rate cities for something better. Sorry, Cleveland — you can’t keep your crappy city, so deal with it. There would be some great economies of scale at work, and there are well-known economic benefits associated with population density, which we’d have in spades with a population of 300 million. (Though if we define the Bay Area broadly, we’d still have a lower population density than Manhattan, on average.) We could drop altogether thousands and thousands of redundancies — of school districts, police departments, fire departments, planning and zoning codes, tax laws, city councils. The rest of the country could be turned into farmland or left to revert to wilderness. Think of the efficiency we could achieve.

Once we’ve decided where everybody should live, we can move on to the question of what they should eat.

Read the whole thing.

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