NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Federal Zoning Laws?

February 18, 1999

American Enterprise Institute fellow Ben Wattenberg is raising some red flags over Vice President Al Gore's vision of what America should look like -- styled as "smart growth" policies.

  • Wattenberg cautions that Gore's plan -- announced Jan. 11 as a "bold new initiative" designed to "support remarkable smart growth efforts" -- appears to be a big step toward federal zoning of local communities.
  • The billions of federal dollars necessary to make America green would go to "encourage" local governments to follow Gore's grand plan -- while those which are reluctant to do so would get no money.
  • Gore attacks suburban "sprawl" -- but living on a parcel of one's own has been the American dream, and limiting suburban growth would certainly drive up the price of existing suburban homes.
  • The plan aims at fewer Americans driving their own cars, opting instead to utilize public transportation -- but that violates Americans' clear and obvious preference for their own personal automobiles.

In his 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance," Gore wrote that automobiles have "a cumulative impact on the global environment (that) is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation."

Source: Ben Wattenberg (American Enterprise Institute), "The Sprawl Brawl," Washington Times, February 18, 1999.


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