Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Big Government "Inurbs" and Exurbs

Fred Barnes, in a Weekly Standard article about Republican efforts to regain the inner suburbs ("inurbs") of Chicago, highlights a point of contention between suburbanites and exurbanites:

. . . one major issue in the exurbs -- reducing traffic congestion -- didn't register favorably in the suburbs. Asked if they wanted privately built toll roads, "voters said they'd rather the highways not be there."
Exurbanites like new road projects, which are big government programs whether they're toll roads or not, because they give commuters easy access to the city. Inner suburbanites don't want them because they inevitably entail the exercise of intrusive government power like eminent domain, taxation, lowered quality of life, and lowered property values around the highways.

Barnes says in the article that exurbanites don't like intrusive government, but it's more accurate to say that, like everyone else, they like government programs that help them, and if they intrude on others . . . oh well.

The article is also interesting in that the Republican programs that are proposed in order to appeal to suburbanites -- federal screening of schoolteachers, federal mandates for blocking online porn in libraries and schools, federal guarantees of health insurance portability -- are also big government programs that intrude into the local or private sphere.

But in a good way, I guess.

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