The Supreme Court fights city hall.

How the dismal science applies to your life.
June 4 2002 3:48 PM

Shut City Hall!

The Supreme Court concludes that most government agencies should be out of business.

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In his decision, Justice Stevens expresses quite explicitly the belief that if governments had to pay for the costs they impose on landowners, then in almost every case, a sufficiently reflective policy-maker would opt for almost zero government. I'm not sure whether that's true or false, but if it's true, then it follows that we should have almost no government. So the court's position comes down to this: We should exempt governments from compensating landowners because that's the only way we can continue having more government than we ought to.

Steven E. Landsburg is the author, most recently, ofMore Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics. You can e-mail him at armchair@landsburg.com.

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