KFC has offered to fix Chicago potholes if the city will allow the fried-chicken chain to paint its logo on each repaired pothole.
The city rejected the idea of course, so the taxpayers will get the foot the bill instead.
But why are potholes and road maintenance even an issue? Governments have been telling us for centuries that they must own the roads, that no one else can do it, and that road-building and maintenance is one of the reasons we must have government.
Yet, governments are terrible at this. Daily now, we are inundated with reports of how bridges are falling down, roads are in disrepair, and the infrastructure in general is a nightmare. And this caught government by surprise? The life span of roads and bridges isn’t a big mystery. If roads are the government’s specialty, why are they so lousy at it, and why did they not even notice that their bridges are in lousy shape? It’s not as if this problem couldn’t be anticipated.
So now, everywhere across America, at local, state and federal levels, Americans are being told that taxes must be increased to pay for road and bridge repair. But why? There are already taxes in place for this. The tax revenues for this are generally based on vehicle registration fee revenues, gas taxes, and income taxes. All of these taxes increase either with the number of cars on the road, or with miles driven, or with population growth, or with economic growth. In other words, tax revenues have increased many times over, yet we’re now being told “oops we forgot about the roads, so give us more money.”
Few things better illustrate that we have passed well beyond the point of diminishing returns with the most basic government services. Tax revenues go up and up and up, yet those basic things that the government tells us they must do, but which are nevertheless essential, are relegated to the back burner and forgotten until some future time when a crisis can be declared and more money can be demanded.