I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time, and Alex Tabarrok’s post about the NPR piece: “Government’s Empty Buildings Are Costing Taxpayers Billions” has inspired me.
The NPR article is excellent but it vastly underestimates the size of the problem. In addition to empty buildings, the Federal government owns/controls millions of acres of land that are worth hundreds of billions and perhaps even trillions of dollars. The land is not being used to its full value or potential even though maintenance costs runs in the tens of billions annually.
in 2012, it was reported that a local municipality (not even a Federal agency) had misplaced — get this — hundreds of Toyota Priuses for five years. Miami-Dade County bought them, forgot about them and then let them rot in a parking garage for a couple thousand days.
I am reminded of something Don Boudreaux expressed recently regarding Krugman’s Econ 101 textbook.
I’ll likely write more in a follow-up post about Jim Gwartney’s excellent presentation, but I conclude this post by asking you to suppose that the above passage from Krugman and Wells had ended not with:
An important part of your education in economics is learning to identify not just when markets work but also when they don’t work, and to judge what government policies are appropriate in each situation.
but, instead, ended with:
An important part of your education in economics is learning to identify not just when governments work but also when they don’t work, and to judge what market policies are appropriate in each situation.