The Best-Laid Plans: Why Congress Should Repeal Federal Planning Laws

Book Forum
October 24, 2007
12:00PM to 1:30PM
Auditorium/Wintergarden
Featuring the author Randal O’Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute with comments by Robert Nelson, Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland and Ron Utt, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation.

Government planning inevitably leads to tyranny, said Friedrich Hayek in his 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom. After the fall of the Soviet Union, most Americans agreed that Hayek was right—yet our governments are still planning.

Federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. employ more than 20,000 planners, bureaucrats who write comprehensive, long-range plans that try to control other people’s land, money, and resources. These plans almost always end in disaster.

In The Best-Laid Plans, Randal O’Toole urges Congress and state and local governments to repeal existing planning laws and shut down planning departments. O’Toole shows that government planning is doomed to fail and that the problems that planning claims to address can be better dealt with through user fees, markets, and other incentives rather than through regulatory planning.