Comment 28729

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2009 at 13:46:20

Councillor Bratina, what about tax cuts? All successful cities have vibrant private sectors and that is exactly what our downtown is missing. Therefore, instead of trying to "stimulate" the neighbourhood with public goods, wouldn't it be easier to just let people keep more of their money in the first place.

Hamilton government has a long history of tinkering around with the local economy and it has resulted in what we see today, a lack of private sector investment, such as restaurants, small shops and anything else that is linked with private consumption. Instead, downtown Hamilton is filled with government buildings. I don't know about you, but when I think about a good place to live, it is a place dominated by good food, cool shops and an overall dynamic, diverse feel to it. Furthermore, the only way to produce this type of city, is to let private individuals allocate most of the capital and not government.

If I gave you the option of spending $2000 dollars for yourself, or having me spend it for you, which would you choose? Unless you're crazy, you would choose to spend it yourself. This would be the rational choice and it would also result in better spending decisions. If you let me spend it, I would have to read you mind and would likely end up wasting much of the money on purchases you didn't want.

This exactly what government does with taxpayers money. It spends it on things it "thinks" people want and it reduces the percentage of money that gets spent on things people "know" they want, like a good meal, or a new pair of shoes, or a new T.V.. Over time, by limiting the percentage of spending decisions made by individuals, you end up with a less dynamic economy, with more capital invested in big, highly visible projects and much less in the way of small shops, stores and cultural spots that actually appeal to the marketplace.

If Hamilton is ever going to be a great, fun place to live, it must reduce the role of government in the economy. Individuals are the strength of any community, so why not let them direct where the capital is put to work. This way, Hamilton will produce real destinations that consumers want to visit and not just stadiums that get filled up a few dozen times a year.

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