The author says,
“As a libertarian, I believe that you have a right to live your life as you see fit as long as you dont violate somebody elses right to do the same.”
in describing a free society but does that equate to a just society? Or help to choose among competing interests?
“But we do believe they would be possible and better than what we have now.”
Except that libertarians have no evidence that their ideology is, in fact, possible. Point to another successful libertarian society in history. Now if you were to say you wanted a more libertarian society, then we could certainly agree that’s possible. However, there will always be competing interests in any society. I think the closest this world ever came to achieving your ideal was at the founding, but things happen that cause government to expand. I’m just wondering if there’s a historically proven way to back a government down without things falling apart? In other words, do governments ever substantially change without a crisis? Or, is government expansion inevitable short of war, revolution, or economic collapse?
“Many of these thruways charge tolls which are fairer because they are user fees.”
Here’s the problem: If the governor clears a right-of-way for a “private highway”, and then sells the use of that right-of-way to a private company for, say, $2 Billion, and then promises to ‘protect’ that company from competition (i.e., nearby new highway, or nearby upgraded roads) for 75 years, and then allows that private company to charge whatever level of tolls it wants to charge during that time - is that really a “free-market solution”.
I would argue that private company was just used as a tax collector for the state - because where does that $2 Billion go? It goes into state coffers for general use. So a good chunk of everyone’s toll is not just paying off the highway, but also paying off $2 Billion that the governor got to spend as he wished, on anything he wished. In fact, often the “concession fee” is higher than the cost of the highway. By the time the project is finished, you have a beautiful ribbon of concrete that costs so much that no one uses it, as has the been the recent history of private toll roads in this country, particularly when there wasn’t a captive audience to extract money from (i.e., for undeveloped areas).
So, maybe if private highways were structured differently - such as no long-term “partnerships”, no up-front fees, and no no-compete clauses, then it might be possible to have some of these roads. Part of the bidding process would be to find out which company would operate the road cheapest. Of course the big companies wouldn’t be nearly as interested in the projects, and the big wad of money the governor was hoping to get to hand out to his friends wouldn’t materialize, but the roads would be cheaper and probably get some use.
But, in the end, why bother. Just raise the gas tax a dime.
On other thing, he doesn’t talk about the little detail of eminent domain, which is practically required to build a highway in most of the country. Without it, nothing can get built, particularly in Texas and the Eastern half of the country where nearly all of the land is privately owned.
I guess one has to assume that he would use the state in a way similar to Kelo, to take property from reluctant owners, and hand it to a private company.
I always get annoyed at people that leave out inconvenient details of their schemes because they can lure people into thinking it’s a good idea. Take Communism. The missing detail was how to get people to work, when they received no personal benefit from it. No one bothered with that concern up front, so they got Communism, the economies tanked, and the people had to be turned into virtual (or real) slaves, to get anything at all done.