Over at Matt Yglesias’ new blog Moneybox, Via Meadia‘s research team came across a smart post from earlier in the week that cuts through the complaining and over-analyzing of the story about Mitt Romney’s upgraded beach house, and gets at a real problem most people have missed: to put on an addition at your house, you shouldn’t need a lobbyist.
Romney’s house sounds tacky and extravagant, but it’s not some kind of public safety hazard in urgent need of regulation. You shouldn’t need dedicated lobbyists to get permission to build buildings on property you legitimately own. At the end of the day, Romney is going to be able to hire the lobbyist and get his mansion built. But these same hurdles afflict people who might be interested in affordable housing for low-income people or simply regular old market rate structures for the middle class.
Exactly right. The country’s most populous state is strangling itself in red tape. And if you need to hire a lobbyist to negotiate the permit process for building a home, ask yourself what starting a business or building a factory will involve.
Here at the other end of the country we have the same kind of trouble; people have to hire “facilitators” to push all the paperwork through all the bureaucracies needed to get simple and very ordinary jobs done. Every year, there are new requirements, new fees, new mandates as New York City works systematically to destroy its economic base and drive the middle class into the burbs.
The biggest victims: the middle class and the poor. It’s hard to quantify the jobs lost, the revenue foregone, the opportunities killed by the bureaucratic monstrosity the Golden State has spawned, but in California as elsewhere, the blue social model is killing hope.