Oh No! Public Transit is a Marxist Plot!

At City Journal, Myron Magnet denounces not only that bastard FDR, as is the style these days, but also that bastard Fiorello LaGuardia. He attacks the "European-style New York" Roosevelt and LaGuardia engendered as anti-democratic and destructive of self-reliance.

When it comes to actual negative results from our "struggling under the accumulated burden of eight decades of 'progressive' government" in New York, though -- and eight decades should be enough time to produce a good dystopia, I think -- he mainly tells us that it's expensive, and that rich people pay too much for it.

He does claim that New York's "public services, even vital ones like the subway, work badly" -- compared to what? Public transit in Tucson? -- "because they operate less for the convenience of their users than for the sake of their unionized, overpaid employees," and because we have "no democratic levers of change, such as voters’ initiatives and referenda." But he fails to tell us where public services work significantly better, probably because New York doesn't compare well with other places. He might suggest low-tax New Hampshire, for example, but even the most conservative governance is not going to make us resemble that sparsely-populated, rural state in any case (though I like the idea of Town Meeting Day). And Magnet is presumably too smart to offer as an example that Valhalla of "voters’ initiatives and referenda," California.

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