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  • Sam Stone

Wash, Rinse, FAIL, Repeat

Good policy is supposed to act like a shower: to clean up problems, not make them worse.

When you get up in the morning, hop in the shower, and wash off, you expect to come out clean. Democrats in charge of all the largest U.S. cities, though, somehow manage to emerge even dirtier than before. Traffic, crime, homelessness, blight…time and again, they implement policies that fail to address our problems, but instead make them worse.


Housing First was supposed to dramatically end homelessness by dropping the barriers to moving people from street to shelter. So, what happened? Homelessness exploded.


Vision Zero and Complete Streets are programs designed to improve transportation, and eliminate roadway fatalities, especially among pedestrians, by lowering speed limits and taking away vehicle travel lanes to add bike paths. What happened? Minimal or no reductions in fatalities, and a massive increase in gridlock.


Bail Equity was designed to stop putting an undue burden on poor people accused of minor misdemeanors. What happened? The program almost immediately expanded to include hardened criminals, leading to rising theft and violence.


Climate Action was designed to reduce green-house gas emissions by reducing energy consumption and shifting municipal vehicle fleets away from gas and diesel. The result? The toxic materials in discarded solar panels and EV batteries are quickly becoming the next great environmental disaster, while the U.S. is achieving massive reductions in GHG emissions through a shift to natural gas for power generation, and efficiency improvements in internal combustion engines.


There are many more. They are, invariably, adopted to thunderous applause from the local press and liberal "Urbanist" advocates. And they are all - like the examples above - clear and obvious failures. Yet, somehow, these programs keep moving from city to city. The endemic failure of progressive urban policy is whitewashed by the same advocate-journalists who touted their implementation, who excuse the disastrous outcomes of their advocacy by – invariably – claiming these programs weren't supported (read: funded) well enough. They say that if we just spend more money, as much as it takes, they will succeed. And yet….


Seattle and San Francisco are fully bought into Housing First, and spend about 9 times the amount Phoenix does per homeless person. Does it seem like they've solved homelessness?


Los Angeles implemented Vision Zero and Complete Streets. They didn't solve the problem of roadway fatalities, but they did turn their already outrageous gridlock into something totally unmanageable.


New York City instituted Bail Equity. Within weeks criminals were bragging about their impunity from the law, while a wave of thefts and violence exploded over the population.

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