This was previously posted on www.anton-wahlman.com on or before 2005-04-26:
The debate about what the New York City government should do with the undeveloped area on the West side of Southern Midtown Manhattan is a perfect example of how the insane belief in socialistic land ownership has infected local politics, however predictable. On the one side is Bloomberg with the plan to build a giant sports and convention stadium. On the other hand are a variety of folks that don’t like Bloomberg’s plan, but aren’t really proposing anything, really.
The point here is that they are all wrong. The land should be sold to one or several private owner(s), but they should be free to do what they please with the land. Economic value represents aggregate preferences. This is nothing but Economics 101. Hello???
The highest bidder may want to build condos, office buildings, a mini-Disney, a sports stadium, a shopping mall, or a grand old Red Light District, of which Manhattan has been deprived in the quest of making the city particularly boring for desperate adults. Or any combination of the above. Why is the choice a sports stadium or nothing?
The City should sell the land to the highest bidder and let him/her do whatever they want with it, subject to the basic/normal noise/pollution limitations. Let’s say that turns out to be a $10bn or whatever. It should then cause a corresponding tax cut, particularly on the onerous income tax which causes the millionaires to leave the city in favor of less punitive jurisdictions.
Then, sell The Port Authority and all other government property so as to fund the long-term elimination of the income tax. Oh, and how about firing those 250,000 city employees that make NYC as large a socialist state as many ex-socialist states? Big Government is a cancer, and let the surgery start on Manhattan’s middle-West side with an auction and a major income tax cut! Let Freedom ring!