If Ambrose Bierce were to write a 2013 edition of his Devils Dictionary, he might include the entry Unintended Consequences, (pl. n.) an unfortunate event easily predicted by conservatives but legislated through liberal fantasies.
Liberals are usually stymied by unintended consequences since their own legislation excels at producing so many of them. Obamacare, of course, is the biggest example going but there are countless others, even extending down to local politics.
Brookfield is a mixed enclave in heavily liberal Cook County, and is seeing the usual decay that proximity to heavily liberals communities produces: businesses are closing up, families are moving out, and money is getting tight. The residents consist of older couples too invested to move out, starter home couples, and a lot of transient residents from Chicago either biding their time until they can move to DuPage County, or folks experimenting with suburban life until their bad habits force them to move back to Chicago. Crime and vandalism are ticking up, for example. Time was when the biggest unsolved crime in Brookfield was determining who poured a whole box of laundry soap in the town fountain again; now, it involves the brutal murder of a liquor store owner on the East edge of town. Get the picture?
The reader gets the picture. So it is with some annoyance and frustration that the Czar presents you with another example of liberal unintended consequences. The challenge for you is not to determine when you predict the outcome of the story, but to count up how many places you see where it could have been stopped.
Liberals, as you know, love public transportation. Not actually using it of course, but forcing others to do so. A slow, expensive, under-utilized commuter train is always desirable to having a car where you can go places. There are many theories as to why liberals are so obsessed with commuter rail, but we will leave you to find your own theory there.
Brookfield has a train line that sweetly cuts straight through the heart of the old village. Brookfield is accessible by roads and nearby expressways, and you can get to downtown Chicago in about 25-35 minutes depending on stops and weather. So you can predict already that a lot of people would like to use this station from all over the area.
Brookfield has a limited number of parking slots for cars, with a byzantine method of paying for daily parking, or purchasing a monthly parking pass. Needless to say, there is more demand than available parking. As a result, parking fees have ticked up over the years. Parking is $1.50 a day, which adds up to about $400 a year.
The train station is smack in the middle of a residential area, so many commuters simply began parking on the streetsnot merely to avoid paying the parking fees, but to get a spot at all.
So many years ago the Village put up parking bans on the residential streets to force people to use the undersized lot. Obviously, this made parking harder to obtain, so commuters began to park further away from the station and walk an extra block or two. The bans were expanded again. And again. Commuters simply began to park so far away that it became closer to walk to the next nearest stop: as a result, people in those neighborhoods found their streets flooded with cars.
In January, 2013, the village greatly expanded the commuter parking bans. Guess what? The commuters began to use other stations, and even began to park further away. Hooray! The liberal dream was achieved: commuters are leaving their cars and walking to public transportation!
Except this means that the parking lots began to empty againand the village is sensitive to the dip in revenue that results. Yes, you got it: no matter how fast they ban parking around the stations, people continue to find other places to park for free. This is snowballing out of control, almost, confessed the chief of police to the The Landmark newspaper. The village safety commitee chairman stated the obvious: It appears to be a never-ending battle. They dont care [how far they have to walk] if they can park for free.
No kidding. Note also the reference to commuters as They. See the inherent liberalism? The commuters are already They, and we are in a battle with them over money.
So what is Brookfield to do? No matter how much they ban commuter parking, people continue to find ways to avoid paying $400 a year. If you paid the Czar $400, he would do a lot of walking for you, too. Unintended consequences.
Yet easily foreseen. Imagine if you encouraged people to attend your Save Mickeys Farm show in the barn…and sold 600 tickets to a venue that seats only 400 at most.
The problem is this: parking is far too expensive in Brookfield. Commuters will find ways to bypass those fees. And the reason the fees are so expensive is two-fold: the village likes the revenue it produces and keeps paying it, and of course basic economic demand.
In business, there are actually formulas that help you assess whether you are charging too much for an item. If you raise your fees by x, what is the probability you will lose y customers, and so on. You can predict, fairly accurately, how high you can raise prices without losing revenue from existing customers. Actually, in taxes, this results in the famous Laffer Curve but the concept is the same.
Raise fees too high, and people find alternatives. Lower them, and people use your product or service. The problem Brookfield has is that for a long time, demand exceeded supply. Additional parking has been built in Brookfield, but the walk to the overflow parking lot can be long. If one is going to walk a couple of blocks but pay $400 a year, one could walk four blocks and pay nothing. That may be an unintended consequence, but it is an easily predicted one.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.