Monday, September 17, 2012

Are ballots more democratic than markets?

I really don't know.  But Parris Glendening made an interesting point at a conference I participated in at GW last week: that in Los Angeles, people decided to tax themselves (via Measure R) to build a light rail system.  So while such systems fail to pass the cost-benefit test, and often worsen the bus service that low income riders rely on, they do, in the case of LA, reflect the will of the people.

I am guessing most people don't read the works of John Kain before they vote; they also don't read IEEE journals before buying PCs.  Los Angeles is implementing measure R in the manner described when it was on the ballot, which makes it very different from the high-speed rail initiative.  I think I need to make my peace with light rail in LA (although I sure wish the Expo line worked better).