Florida, the antechamber to heaven

Maybe Richard will get there, what with good intentions and all that. Dan Gardner notes the frozen thinking:

Jonathan Kay has unkind words for urban theorist Richard Florida.
Personally, I can’t get near Richard Florida without catching a whiff of 1997.
Concepts like the “creative class” were cool and edgy once. So was kicking around a hacky sack at work. But then pets.com became a punchline, time passed, and the world moved on.
But Florida says nothing new. Ever. No matter what happens, the future belongs to cities which lure the creative class with bike paths, hip lofts, and offices with plenty of space for hacky sack.
He reminds me of Republicans. The economy is booming? We need tax cuts for the rich. Stocks falling? Tax cuts for the rich. Terrorist attacks? Tax cuts for the rich. Economy tanking? Tax cuts for the rich. Asteroid impact imminent? Tax cuts for the rich.
But Republicans are supposed to be rigid [it’s just that more of them are able to afford Viagra, Cialis or Levitra;what one learns watching US network television, esp. the four-hour warning – MC]. It’s their brand. Florida is marketing creativity. Opennness to new information and perspectives. Constant learning. Flourishing thoughts. Coming up with, you know, something new.
Seriously, dude. Kick around the hacky sack and work on it.

Mark C.

18 thoughts on “Florida, the antechamber to heaven

  1. Ran says:

    What’s this bullshit about tax-cuts for “the rich”? A tax cut for one is necessarily a tax cut for all and an increase in wealth for all.
    Socialist economic theory rests on an emotional falsehood that “wealth” is a zero-sum game.
    Taxes are simply an elegant form of slavery. [Yeah, yeah, the trolls will be out in force.] When any entity – government or mafia – confiscates the earnings and property of others they are stealing the time and sacrifices of those who produced. They accomplish the confiscation with FORCE. If you avoid arrest, you will be confronted with arms and you WILL be killed if you resist. THAT, my troll friends, is slavery. Get over it.

  2. Peter says:

    “Taxes are simply an elegant form of slavery.”
    I haven’t heard anything so wacky since “marriage is just an elegant form of prostitution” in the heyday of 1970’s feminism.

  3. Ran says:

    Good morning Rip Van Peter.
    Marriage, I am told, is voluntary. Try this for fun: Duck your taxes. Go ahead. Make someone’s day.

  4. Peter says:

    Ran, why don’t you and your friends go out and play “Go Galt” until we call you in for dinner?
    But, ok, I’ll play. Name me any society that got beyond subsistence without taxes? Many did without slavery. You might also want to try and name any society where the better off expressed an openly “in your face” disdain for the “unproductive” victims of economic distress without eventually losing their heads.
    Your ideology is blinding you.

  5. Blame Crash says:

    Good point Ran.
    We haven’t heard back from Peter yet. I hope he hasn’t taken your suggestion seriously.
    You should let him know that you were just kidding, or he might get hurt.

  6. Dara says:

    You know what city has some great suburbs?
    Detroit. http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1882089,00.html
    Taxes as slavery? Maybe with a very narrow view of the freedoms that the government provides.
    Do the taxes that I pay to maintain the roads increase or decrease my freedom? Would I be more free if they were run by private enterprise?
    How about the money that I kick into law enforcement? Would a private force be more fair?
    How about the taxes that pay for the water running out of my taps and public water fountains? Does anyone have to go into debt to get a drink of water during a shortage?
    But I know that Ran particularly hates taxes for health care so maybe he can tell me what the worse slavery is:
    Paying the government to provide a universal health care system or running up a private medical bill worth years of your salary in order to save your life?
    Don’t get me wrong, I pay far too much in taxes (as one of Florida’s favorite urban types) but it hasn’t really felt like a yoke just yet.
    It seems like there are some areas where people absolutely need an outside entity of providence and the (modern western) government’s hand has the least potential for oppression.

  7. DaninVan says:

    It’s only slavery if you aren’t permitted to leave (or opt out). Taxes are nothing more than a service charge for living within a particular society. Now, if you want to discuss being overcharged for those services….
    Of course you can opt out; just dispose of all your worldly assets and turn to begging, or subsistence farming. Not a very appealing prospect.

  8. Sigivald says:

    Peter: He of course means that income and property taxes are slavery – because you cannot by any means avoid them*, and get shot or imprisoned for not paying.
    Before the income tax, the Federal government in the US was funded by excise taxes, which are avoidable by not consuming the goods involved, or producing it yourself for your own consumption.
    Taxes like that both allow for the necessary and good functions of the State (preserving public order and enforcing contracts), and do not enslave anyone**.
    * One pays no property tax directly if one has no real estate or luxury property that is taxes. However, one must live _somewhere_ and one’s landlord simply makes you pay the tax as part of your lease or rent.
    ** Where slavery is defined as coerced labor; taking the products of labor without recourse is very much equivalent to slavery for the amount of time required to gain those products.
    The “taxes are slavery!” rhetoric is overheated and often counterproductive, but philosophically it’s not incorrect, when speaking of income and property taxes.

  9. Sigivald says:

    Dara: The link says “Many of the mortgages were predatory, even fraudulent; buyers were encouraged to lie about their incomes, and many did.”
    When buyers know that *they are lying* to get the property, by *pretending they can afford it*, they are not the ones who are the *victims*.
    They tied that property around their own necks, and were simply foolish enough to believe that prices Could Only Ever Go Up – at least long enough to sell it to the next sucker.
    Zero sympathy, and they’re not “enslaved” at all. Bankruptcy and foreclosure will fix their obligations here.
    A lowered credit rating is nothing like slavery.

  10. Dara says:

    I would say that people on the wrong side of “predatory” loans are victims both of their own ignorance, and their financier’s greed.
    I’m not absolving the homeowners or recommending that mortgages should go through state approval, but maybe some zoning laws or building standards could have mitigated the damage.
    Unsustainable poorly constructed developments like the ones described in the article are always destined to turn into slums.
    Lack of any government oversight allowed it, and now the “insane” tax structure means that there is no way for it to intervene. I think that this is what Ran is asking for, so he should accept Florida as a case study.
    “”When people began looking behind the palm trees and into the account books,” says Mormino, all they discovered was “massive fraud and lack of oversight.”

  11. Peter says:

    To add to what I understand Dara to be saying, I’m mightily disturbed by the number of libertarian sites that are trying to pin this mess on the victims, as if it was all about their low moral fibre or irresponsibility. Banks and financial institutions aren’t 7-11s or car dealerships. We’ve all been deluged with high-pressured, flashy entreaties to borrow heavily 24/7 for many years and when a lender tells the average joe he can afford it, he can be expected to to rely on that to some degree. Surely there is an implied basic trust relationship with the banking system.
    Anyway, we haven’t unravelled it all yet, but it seems clear there has been at minimum massive breach of trust, reckless fee and bonus searching and a conspiracy of silence about the risks. As a result tens and maybe hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs, homes and families. If the best conservatism can do is to pout about taxes and blame the ‘unproductive” classes, we can look forward to years in the political wilderness and rightfully so. In fact, we’ll be lucky if we don’t start seeing tumbrils in the streets.

  12. Ran says:

    “Name me any society that got beyond subsistence without taxes?”
    None, Peter. Doesn’t change the fact; does in a limited way rationalize the brutal use of force to take from producers to pay for national defense, etc.
    “You might also want to try and name any society where the better off expressed an openly “in your face” disdain for the “unproductive” victims of economic distress without eventually losing their heads.”
    You might try avoiding false premises. Damn, but this is boring. “[V]ictims of economic distress.” You meant “… unwilling to bear the costs of their own incompetencies”, though that repairs only one error.
    I don’t read Darla’s posts. Nor Mr Dog’s, not since well over a year ago.

  13. DaninVan says:

    Ran; the (from my own personal observations)success stories of barely literate immigrants who’ve gone on to become wealthy landlords and land owners in NA, are ubiquitous.
    A lot of these guys that I’ve known have an inherent aptitude for making money; most never finished school; all are millionaires. No MBAs in that lot…
    (I’d suggest that the common thread is skating on thin ice CRA wise, and owning a piece of land back in the Old Country.)

  14. Dara says:

    “when a lender tells the average joe he can afford it, he can be expected to to rely on that to some degree.”
    After probably getting rejected most of the times that they’d tried to obtain money before, you could expect a person of indeterminate financial means to figure that being accepted was a milestone in their lives.
    That ended up around their necks, but as Sigi pointed out, most of them could slip it without too much disruption.
    The key point is that despite the general decline in market, these “building boom” houses were made to a low standard due to government action that ranged from lax to corrupt, with a whole lot of non-existent on the side.
    In other words, this is two Bush brothers deep into crimson red Republican mode of government that gets out of the way of businesses, and gives those businesses a seat at the table to make sure of it.
    If that’s such a good thing, then somebody please explain how that lobby-faire system of government worked out for Florida’s Joe the Plumber?
    (Other than all the work he’ll get putting the copper back into those houses, i.e. broken window economics)

  15. Ran says:

    Hey Dan. Yeh – I got “downsized” a few weeks ago when my former firm’s clients got hit with higher “Hope and Change.” They couldn’t redistribute their wealth to us though we were willing to, you know, actually WORK for our pay. No. Some worthless Gov-puke [guided by a morally corrupt ideology] decided she knew better where to spend our money.
    So… I’m back at sole entrepreneur mode. Know what? Sky’s the limit. It’s 21:30 hours here, and I’m still ‘on the clock’ cranking away, and I’ve not been this happy in years.
    G-d bless those immigrants, Dan. They’re shining example of how to achieve.
    Ray K… YEAH – “”…the freedoms that the government provides” AFTER HAVING TAKEN THEM – BY FORCE – FROM OTHERS. Fucking parasites.

  16. DaninVan says:

    Ran; Excellent Man! If your time and talent is worth something to an employer it’s worth twice as much to you. Your new bus. card:
    Ran. Entrepreneur. 🙂

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