Friday, January 26, 2007

Lighten Up

The Journal Times has a blog entitled "Black girls under pressure to be lighter." They are not allowing reader comments, but I will.

While I know it is unhealthy for anyone to not like their looks, I can't help but think we might have stumbled on to the solution for the desegregation issue.

That is just a joke. Lighten up will ya.

What Business do you Boycott and Why?

Preachrboy asked an interesting question the other day. What would it take for you to boycott a business? Boycotting Pabst because you don't drink doesn't count. Boycotting McDonalds because you don't like fast food doesn't count. I am talking about businesses that you would otherwise patronize, but you don't because..........

I will answer the question myself. I don't have any boycotts going, but I sometimes consider boycotting Citgo gas stations because I think Hugo Chavez is a threat to his countrymen and neighboring countries.

Your turn.

Gary Becker on Harmful Effects of Minimum Wage Hikes

I just read a great article by Gary Becker on the harmful effects of minimum wage laws. The bipartisan fervor for a minimum wage increase "is a sad example of how interest-group politics and the public's ignorance of economics can combine to give us laws that manage to be both inefficient and inegalitarian" writes Becker. Becker goes on to explain, with convincing detail, how the minimum wage increases will harm those, the poor, that the laws are ostensibly intended to help.

Sadly, this Gary Becker is not the mayor of Racine. He is a Nobel winning economist. You can read his full article in todays Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

FreeRacine Meeting Enjoyed by Host

I didn't know what to expect from the first ever in person meeting of FreeRacine readers and contributors. And I don't know if it would be quite right to give any specific details of the evening. There were about nine in attendance and, if I may be so bold, it seemed as though everyone enjoyed the evening. I would like to thank all who attended. I am flattered and honored that you read my rantings and have taken the time to meet in person. My only lament is that none of my detractors were in attendance.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Whom Should We Starve?

According to a Milwaukee Journal article, property tax bills in western Racine County are going through the roof, prompting State Rep Robin Vos to suggest a property tax freeze, which in turn elicited this response from State Senator John Lehman; "What do you want to do, starve government?

Um, yes.

Rumor Department

OK, it is a little more solid than a rumor. Chances are good that a 18,000 square foot grocery store will fill the vacant land at the southeast corner of State and Main, next to the Ivanhoe. I heard this at the Downtown Racine Corporation's annual meeting, via director Devin Sutherland.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Meeting Reminder

FreeRacine readers are invited to socialize tommorrow, Tuesday Jan 23rd at the JavaVino on Main Street in downtown at 7pm. They serve coffee drinks and wine as well as some good food in a smoke free environment. The first one is on me. All are welcome. See you there. Denis.

Caledonia's School Choices and Union Opposition

Local union guy Tom Berger weighed in on the Caledonia school secession issue in a JT commentary. He does not favor it.

Among his more hilarious questions was this gem: "How will you achieve the diversity required by federal law in those schools?" I don't know all the details of federal law as it relates to this issue, but I doubt that a school district would be required to be more diverse than the community it resides in. Otherwise we might have to start importing some Hmong students from Green Bay.

But I like this question the most as it reveals the real issue for Berger: "How do you expect to get the voters not living in Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant to vote in favor a (sic) secession when it will undoubtedly increase their taxes to keep what is left of RUSD?" Tax happy communities like Racine are always looking for other communities to pay their bills, so the loss of Caledonia from RUSD would be a huge blow to RUSD. It is about time that Caledonia starts to look out for Caledonia students, especially as I have heard of credible reports indicating that 60% of eligible Caledonia students are stearing clear of RUSD schools. Caledonia residents are paying huge sums of cash for a school system that they are avoiding like the plague. If their secession harms RUSD, perhaps that will spur the remaining RUSD communities to consider some actual reforms that might work, such as school vouchers.

I have some questions of my own for the folks in Caledonia. Here they are:

To what extent can you link the demise of education to the rise in power and influence of the teachers unions?

Can you form a school district that minimizes or eliminates the influence of the teachers union?

Do you have to build shools at all or could you simply issue vouchers to parents who could use them to send their children to the school of their choice, whether that choice is public or private?

And this last question is for Mr. Berger: Since when do voters in Mount Pleasant get to vote on Caledonia matters?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

On Lending Discrimination and Tooth Fairies

An anononymous poster asked me how we can provide equity in the mortgage lending business without affirmative action. The question is akin to asking how often one beats his wife, as it assumes guilt on the part of the lending industry. I don't think that there is widespread or systemic racial discrimination in mortgage lending. Here is why.

First, we have to understand why any individual investor or any lending institution would lend money to an individual. They do it to earn money through interest payments paid by people who do not default on their loans.

Now let us suppose that anonymous is correct. Let us say that there are a million creditworthy black people who have been denied loans simply because they are black.

This means that there are a million money making opportunities out there for investors. There are a million customers out there waiting for loans, but every single investor (including wealthy black investors) or lending institution has decided to forgo the opportunity to make money off of creditworthy black people because they all agree that it is more important to harm black people than it is to make money.

It is far more plausible that the people who are denied loans, whatever their color, are denied because they are credit risks. But some persist in believing that there is widespread racial discrimination in lending. I say that if you are willing to believe that lenders prefer harming blacks to making money, you might as well believe in the Tooth Fairy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


When we have unseasonably warm weather, it is likely that you will hear something said about global warming. What do you hear now that the orange crop in California is freezing?

When the gas prices are high, it is likely that you will hear that oil execs are gouging us and that George Bush is responsible. What do you hear now as the gas price is dropping?

When our federal deficit is growing, you are likely to hear about the tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of our population. What do you hear now that our deficit is shrinking?

When unemployment was high, you heard about a jobless recovery? What do you hear now that unemployment is low?

What is it that you hear from liberals? Answer: hysteria.

What is it that you hear when they are proven wrong? Answer: silence.

A Higher Standard

I think Alderman Greg Helding has the potential to be a very effective local political leader. He is smart, articulate, knowledgable and hard working. He is often the voice of reason on the city council. Because of his intelligence and promise, I will hold him to a higher standard.

I was reading Mike Moore's column in the JT yesterday. At the end of the article, Helding indicated that the city should look for other sources of cash than those provided by "the gravy train of cable franchise fees."

My issue is that Helding's first instinct was to look for "other sources of cash" when the city faces the possibility of lost revenue. "Other sources of cash" invariably means more taxes or fees.

It would be wonderful if there could be at least one alderman who's first instinct is to ask what spending can the city do without. Could that alderman be Greg Helding?

Friday, January 19, 2007

JT Columnist Understands Free Market

Just days after blasting JT columnist Mike Moore for his support of race based affirmitive action, I must commend him for his column that demonstrates an understanding of the value of competitive markets.

I won't repeat the whole story here, but it involves the Racine City Councils addiction to the $750,000 franchise fee it collects from TimeWarner Cable. They want the same from AT&T but AT&T doesn't want to pay. Anyway, Moore recognizes that the consumer actually pays the fee as it is listed on his cable bill. Furthermore, Moore understands that competition among providers will bring the price down for customers. Unfortunately, some or most on the city council want to keep the TimeWarner monopoly going as they lack the understanding demonstrated by Mike Moore.

Now if only Moore and his colleagues could understand that the same principles would apply to the education of children.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More Snake Oil Please

I have been engaged in a spirited debate with Kay from In a recent post she equated the notion of tax cuts with "snake oil" while I maintain that tax cuts contibute to economic development which can ultimately result in more revenue for governments.

So I shared with her the delightful news that our federal deficit has been reduced by $165 billion over the last two years. Don't bother looking for that info in the JT, I found it in the Wall street Journal. Anyway, I believe that deficits can only be reduced by lower spending or higher tax reciepts or a combination of the two. Now we know that Republicans have been spending like drunken sailors, we have two ongoing wars, and we have had a huge disaster in New Orleans, so we know that the deficit reduction is not the result of spending restraint. The reason is more tax reciepts. Now we also know that Bush is widely criticized for lowering taxes. So how is it possible that after lowering tax rates, we are collecting more in taxes? The reason is that lower taxes stimulate economic growth. Economic growth is taxed, so we are collecting more in taxes despite a tax cut. To a liberal not used to thinking, this sounds like snake oil. I say bring on the snake oil.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Visit from Mayor Becker

Mayor Becker stopped by my business yesterday to, as he said it, understand the illogical opposition to commuter rail. FYI, the illogic jab was interpreted by me as a benign wise crack, ie no offense intended.

Assuming that what Becker said was true, and I don't know him to be one to deliberately mislead, I must incorporate this new info into my thinking.

It was my understanding that Metra would hemmorage about $8 million per year. Becker said that that amount is a bit high, but more importantly, that it includes repayment of the $40 million in local borrowing for up-front costs. This is an important difference because the $7 or $8 million or so of annual payments is almost entirely the repayment of capital expenses, not an operating deficit. So that annual payment will be over in a decade or so, depending on the length of the municipal bond. The operating deficit figures to be about a million per year, if I remember the mayor's figures correctly.

I never intended to get very worked up about the Metra extension largely because it is a federal battle rather than a local one, insofar as I am concerned. The problem, as I see it, is runaway spending at the federal level and that is not a problem that is going to go away anytime soon. And in this case, Racine will clearly benefit at the expense of taxpayers in Nebraska, Wausau, and west Racine county. The wealth transfer is going federal to regional, statewide to local, west of county to east of county, so Racine wins on this one. So while I remain vigorously opposed to government overspending, this is not a battle I intend to invest much of my time on.

But knowing me, that could change.

Monday, January 15, 2007

FreeRacinians Readers to Meet in Person

OK, that title involves some wishful thinking, but how about we get together on Tuesday, January 23rd at the Java Vino on Main Street in downtown Racine. It is smoke free (voluntarily) and they serve coffee and wine and some food as well. The first drink is on me. All are welcome and that includes detractors like anon. So how about it Wade, Brenda, Kathy, Fred, Preachrboy, Eric, Sam, Robin, Bill, Greg and everyone else I forgot to mention. See you there!

Awards and More Awards

If there is an award for the person who wins the most awards, it must certainly go to Corrine Owens. Yesterday Owens received the Peace Mentor of the Year Award from the Peace Learning Circles of Kenosha and Racine. She was desribed in the JT as a longtime civil rights activist. Though I have seen numerous articles about Owens winning this or that award, I have no idea what she has actually accomplished, other than winning awards of course. Is there anyone among my readers who can shed any light on Owens accomplishments?

A Little Bit of Racism OK for JT Journalist

It is amusing to watch people squirm to find a middle ground between racist policies and non-racist policies. That job fell to Journal Times columnist Mike Moore today.

Moore weighed in on the debate about race based admissions at UW schools.

One of the opponents of race based admissions, State Senetor Glenn Grothman, quipped that if diversity is the goal, they could seek to get "a good mix of hunters and non-hunters."

Moore sought the impossible middle ground, suggesting that "somewhere between those racial categories and blatant racial preferences lies a real solution. Yes, it would be an injustice for somebody's race to vault them over the combat veteran or the girl who was class president all four years. The things a student accomplishes as an individual should always come first."

But Moore's "real solution" remains elusive. OK, so ones race should not vault you over the combat hero. But should it vault you over the white guy who's grades and test scores are slightly better? Is a little bit of racism the answer?

The minute that you decide to use race as a factor to admit one student, you have decided to use race as a factor to deny another. That meets my definition of racism.

Religion Tour #8, woman reverend/Presbyterian

You can probably tell from the title of this entry that my primary purpose for visiting Covenant Presbyterian Church was that it is led by a woman, Reverend Melanie Hammond Clark. She is actually an aquaintance of mine because I once coached her son in soccer. By coincidence I sat next to her husband who apparently concluded that I was a visitor. He was very helpful and friendly.

So I learned little or nothing about the Presbyterian faith, other than it is Christian and that they allow women as reverends.

As I was raised Roman Catholic, I of course had no experience with women leading a congregation. There was nothing that Reverend Clark said or did yesterday that could not have been said or done by a male reverend, so I will not offer any conclusions about women reverends. I am also unaware of the arguments pro or con on women as reverends or priests, so I will reserve judgement until such time as I understand the issue.

Perhaps a local blogging Lutheran Reverend will tiptoe into that minefield for me. How about it Preachrboy?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Positively Negative

As an advocate for economic freedom, I will often oppose the never ending proposals for more government, whether it be a sales tax increase, another RUSD referendum, or a taxpayer funded ice arena. As a result, I am often described as negative.

This is a silly charge, and it must be exposed as such. If the government growth socialists every proposal is, by definition, positive, then any advocacy for individual economic freedom is therefore negative.

The "negative" label is used to avoid an actual defense of an idea. It is much easier to dismiss someone as negative than it is to make a case for a bad idea. The "negative" label is a useful tool for the intellectually lazy and mean-spirited debaters.

Wouldn't it be positive to oppose a bad idea, and wouldn't it likewise be negative to support a bad idea. Your negativity or positivity would depend on whether or not you are right. And we all agree that I am always right, isn't that right anonymous?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mayor offers free lunch. Watch your wallet!

I heard Mayor Becker on the radio today. He was promoting a tri-county sales tax increase (Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha) to fund the Metra expansion, other municipal transportation expenditures, and of course, property tax relief.

Now I didn't catch all of the mayors points, but if I understand the jist of it, the .25% sales tax increase would cover 5 times the amount needed to fund the annual Metra shortfall. The mayor pointed out that 20% of sales tax collected is from folks outside the KRM counties. Thus, the argument goes like this: The sales tax collected from outsiders will cover all of the shortfall casued by the Metra expansion. Thus we get Metra for free.

And on top of all that we will get property tax relief. Why is it that the only time Democrats mention the problem of high taxes is when they are trying to raise them further?

Equestrian Welfare?

State Rep Robin Vos is among the handful of people who read this blog, or so he tells me. I share that info only because I wish to comment on his legislative priorities as listed in todays Journal Times.

Among those are lower taxes, eliminating income tax on pensions, health care improvements "without turning to government-run, taxpayer funded universal health care", ethics reform, and my absolute favorite, school vouchers for Racine. The devil is in the details, of course, but I can say that I approve wholeheartedly of this agenda.

But I am not writing simply to praise Robin Vos. That is not my style. I must question another of his priorities: "Vos said he wants to see property tax benefits for farmers extended to people raising horses - helping preserve rural land in Caledonia by taxing the land for agricultural use instead of its development potential."

Now I am all for tax deductions, but this one gives me pause. I am envisioning very wealthy people enjoying their horses in large open areas. Why should they get a tax break? They should be taxed according to the value of their land like everyone else. Otherwise, you and I are subsidizing the recreation of the wealthy. This does not seem fair to me at all. Now of course I would support accross the board property tax relief.

Am I wrong Robin? If so, please explain this to me and my readers. Thanks.

Drug Company Helps Ungrateful Journalist

Dustin Block of the Journal Times wrote an interesting piece today about his troubles with acid reflux. Ultimately, he found a medicine, at a reasonable cost, that has relieved his discomfort.

But along the way, he was prescribed Nexium, a "little purple pill" that was helpful, albeit quite expensive. He told the story of Nexium, a "remarkable scam" he called it. Nexium is made by AstraZenaca, the same company that created Prilosec, another very successful drug. Prilosec's patent was running out, so AstraZenaca came up with Nexium, a very similar (perhaps identical?) drug, and they got a patent for it. They spent huge sums in advertising and no doubt they wined and dined doctors etc... to ensure its widespread use.

In my opinion, if there are bad guys here, it would be the U.S. Patent Office who issued a patent for Nexium when perhaps they shouldn't have, and Dustin's doctors, who either are ignorant of the pills they are prescribing or are purposely prescribing more expensive medicine for excessive profit. AstraZenaca is guilty of successfully advertising a product that works.

Now back to Dustin Block. He couldn't help throwing jabs at high deductible health insurance plans: "The pills...cost $350. This is what happens when you pick a high-deductable health insurance plan designed to save money." Block didn't mention the money he is saving on monthly premiums. And Dustin warned us that "if we close our hearts, outside manipulaters like drug companies take control." Wow! It is these very manipulators who have brought relief to Dustin. He should be more grateful.

Instead, Dustin credits his recovery to openness. "Help didn't come from the doctor. It came from people who care about me asking, sometimes forcibly, what was wrong." And "Somehow, opening up helped me research what was going on." And "If we're open to sharing our lives, opportunities appear."

Now I am all for openness, and I am glad Dustin has friends who care for him. But openness alone did not produce the drugs that are helping Dustin lead a comfortable life. Drug companies produce the drugs that are helping Dustin. And the drug companies could not produce their drugs without the support of our mostly capitalist economic system.

But it takes more than an open heart to realize all this. You need an open mind as well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Regulations on my Mind

I have regulations on my mind. This is because I am considering what to do with the second floor of my downtown building. It is large enough to make two nice size apartments. I will develop this property only if the projected benefit of the improvements (rental income, increased property value) exceeds the costs. The costs are the investment of cash and time, interest on loans, a property tax increase, and the big unknown; the costs associated with regulations.

The costs of regulations are hardest to calculate. Mainly this is because virtually every aspect of a development involves both state regulations and local ordinances. Plans are subject to arbitrary interpretations of codes made by unelected government bureaucrats. In other words, I am at the mercy of unelected, unaccountable people who may interpret codes in the most stringent manner, increasing my costs exponentially, ensuring a money losing venture. What's more, they can do this even after they have approved my plans.

I am hopeful that I am worrying needlessly. After all, my first investment downtown was relatively pain free, despite having some of the same worries.

Even so, I don't think it is right that unelected, unaccoutable individuals should hold so much power over others. Not only is it bad for individuals like myself, it is bad for the community if the risks of development exceed the likely rewards because of onerous regulations.

Now, for Kathy, I will try to tie this together with the posts about car safety. It is perhaps difficult to fathom the absurdity of some regulations associated with property development unless you have been there. But imagine, if you would, taking your car in for an oil change. There you meet an unelected state official who tells you that you may not drive your car unless you spend $5,000 retrofitting your car to accomodate people in wheelchairs.

Now you know that won't happen when you go for an oil change. But it may very well happen after I have already spent $100,000 renovating my building. Scary, isn't it?

Explaining "Saving Lives"

My most recent post, "Saving Lives," was pure nonsense. I suggested that cars be manufactured such that their maximum speed would be 15 miles per hour, as this would reduce the 40,000 annual traffic fatalities to nearly zero. And indeed it would.

Now why would I suggest something so ridiculous? Because most of us own and drive cars, we intuitively understand the trade off between speed and safety risks. We are better off driving 65 mph on a highway even though we put our lives at greater risk. Otherwise, we would choose not to drive on the expressway.

Wade has solved the riddle. It is nonsense to endorse anything that would save just one life, or 40,000, unless we are prepared to ask the next question, which is, "at what cost?"

As a society, we have decided, quite rightly in my opinion, that the improvements in our lives, the greater freedom, the economic benifits, etc... provided by cars that exceed 15 mph are worth the loss of 40,000 lives, though we would probably prefer not to think about the loss of life.

This is life. We must balance risk with rewards. We must take reasonable chances. There are even risks associated with any effort to avoid risks. Total safety is not possible, and any attempt to provide it will have adverse consequences.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Saving Lives

According to U.S. census data, over 40,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2003. All of those people would likely be alive today if my car safety ideas were mandated by the government. I propose that automobile manufacturers be required to limit the maximum speed of vehicles to 15 miles per hour. There is little doubt that traffic fatalities would be reduced to nearly zero. 40,000 lives could be saved annually. Is there anyone out there who disagrees with my life saving proposal? If so, please explain what it is you like about gruesome traffic fatalities.

School Board Nuggets

Superintendent Dr. Hicks figures on a "blended solution" concerning the desegregation/neighborhood schools debate.

Board member Russ Carlsen had this to say: "We have a pretty homogeneous heterogeneous population."

Board member Brian Dey proposed neighborhood schools coupled with school choice and transportation help for the socioeconomically challenged folks who wished to opt out of their neighborhood schools. Board member Randy Bangs agrees with Dey but would also permit minorities (regardless of socioeconomic status) to be included among those eligible for transportation assistance if they want to opt out of their neighborhood schools.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Religion Tour #7, Unitarians/Secular Progressives

I didn't go to church today, but I went to the Unitarian church several times starting about a year ago. I was initially drawn to them because of their claims of tolerance, open mindedness, and their interest in political matters. After a few visits, I began to wonder just what it is that they believed in. Their sermons quite often incorporated viewpoints and or teachings from numerous religions. Over time, I realized that the teachings from the various religions would support the very leftist agenda of the congregants. I concluded, perhaps unfairly, that this religion, at least as it is practiced in Racine, is the religion of liberalism. On my last visit to the Unitarian Church, the Pastor Tony Larsen directed the congregants to hold hands and loudly sing "I am a gay American." The reason given was to support those homosexuals who could not otherwise comfortably declare their sexual orientation. I was uncomfortable with this song, not because I am heterosexual, but because the song was a lie.

Friday, January 05, 2007

E-mail to Fred Dooley on Liquor Issue

The following is an email response I sent to Fred Dooley of RealDebateWisconsin. Fred, a candidate for city council, and I have been engaged in a discussion about liquor issues. You can read the exchange at his Dooley for Alderman site. (Fred, if I haven't ticked you off too much, I could use some instruction on links someday) Anyway, if I understand our differences on this issue, it is that Fred would be open to terminating liquor licenses at bars, even if the unlawful behavior was not committed by the license holder or his/her agents, while I am a stickler for differentiating between the behavior of the license holder and the behavior of the patrons. So here is my e-mail to Fred:

Yes, you answered my question. Unfortunately I did not like the answer. The way I see things, entrepreneurs should be assured, in advance, that if they act lawfully, they will be able to pursue their interests with the support of local government, including the police. With your answer, it is possible, even likely, that a responsible, law abiding bar owner will lose his livelihood because of the actions and behaviors of other people. This is a horrible climate for an entrepreneur. Additionally, this quasi-prohibitionist approach to liquor enforcement will not solve any problems. It will simply move them to other bars in Racine. Suppose Bar A is closed because of excessive fighting. The troublemakers will still be around. Do you suppose they will stay home and play Scrabble? Certainly they will take their problematic behavior to other bars, and heretofore "responsible" bar owners will become "problem" bar owners through no fault of their own. Overall I have a problem when people are not held responsible for their own behaviors, or if people are held responsible for other adults behaviors. The larger problem, that nobody wants to address, is that Racine has a large population of troublemakers. This fact makes it more difficult, I am sure, to have a business in Racine. With your approach, bar businesses will be harmed twice, first by the troublemaking patrons and then again by the city council. Should you win your race Fred, you will be faced with scenarios much like I have described. I hope that you would consider making a clear distinction between the behavior of the business owner and the behavior of the patron. To do otherwise would be to contribute to an already hostile business climate in Racine. Thanks for taking the time to consider this issue carefully. I find this discussion interesting. I will include it on my blog, as I think it may interest others and as I believe public matters should be discussed publicly. Thanks again Fred. Denis.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Seperation of Business and State

Most of us accept the idea of church and state seperation. Certainly there is squabbling as to what that means exactly, but nobody who is taken seriously is advocating a state religion. Thus, except for some whackos on the fringes, the basic concept of church and state seperation is accepted as a good thing. And it is.

But what of seperation between state and business? This concept is seldom discussed. Indeed, we hear frequently of public-private partnerships. And this is always spoken of as a positive. I don't think it is at all, and I find this frequent fusion of business and government far more threatening than paranoia about a state religion.

Consider the large developments under way or proposed in our area. Many of the developers are either former elected officials or at the very least are quite savvy politically. Political skills are neccessary to navigate or circumvent the often onerous government roadblocks.

Consider the Point Blue development at the former Walker Manufacturing location. It is a large plot right on Lake Michigan. If a developer can't make a profit developing lakefront property without government assistance, then we should ask why this is so.

Are property taxes too high? Are the building regulations too onerous? Yes and yes I believe.

So the politically savvy developer goes looking for money from his government pals, often in the form of tax breaks. A public-private partnernership developes. The politicians can point to the development when reelection time comes around and the developer gets the development profits without having to worry about the risk. The risk, minus the profits, goes to the taxpayer. In other words, we get screwed.

Many of us are developers, though we may not think of it that way. We may aspire to own a larger home or put an addition on our current home. These investments also benifit the community. The only difference between us and the big developer is that we lack the political influence. Thus, we get no tax breaks. We don't get the regulatory burden lifted. And of course, we assume all the risks, as we should. And of course your private development is made all the more difficult because you are presently underwriting the risk of other developments.

So the next time you hear someone hail the virtues of public-private partnerships, I hope you will at least begin to question whether that is a good thing. Perhaps a seperation of state and business is a better idea.