CEI Daily - Google Investigation, Street Signs, and Urban Density


Google Investigation


Yesterday, the European Commission opened an antitrust investigation into Google.


Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia argues that the probe will ultimately hurt consumers by distorting the market's evolution and discouraging future innovation.


"The federal government is paying environmental advocacy organizations billions of dollars — to fund lawsuits against itself. When the government has to pay or settle, the green groups dip into the public trough yet again. [...] Government agencies’ 'judgment funds' act as a slush fund for lawyers and special interests. These funds set money aside to fund lawyers’ costs for lawsuits and the payouts from these suits, which benefit lawyers and agencies. Taxpayers are paying both sides — and we don’t even get to see the numbers."




Street Signs


A new federal regulation on the lettering of street signs will force cities to spend millions making new signs without all caps.


Research Associate Lee Doren says the federal government is overstepping its bounds by interfering in local matters.


"It is amazing that bureaucrats who create these laws couldn’t foresee why anyone who lives on a country road would object to paying an enormous amount of money on a new street sign that nobody needs. In fact, this is a perfect example where federalism works quite well to solve local concerns."




Urban Density


In Urban Land magazine, John McIlwain advocates long-run development projects to make cities more livable for "Generation Yers."


Policy Analyst Marc Scribner says that McIlwain's goal is well-intentioned but his central-planning methodology is all wrong.


"McIlwain, smart-growth proponents, and urbanists all wish to shift development planning toward a more interventionist position in order to achieve their denser, transit-oriented, more 'livable' cities. Now, in principle, I have no problem with greater density and choose to live in central Washington, D.C. But typical planning solutions involving more land-use regulations to achieve these ends are incredibly misguided. Low-density land-use patterns are in part a result of zoning laws that either restrict building form (e.g., height restrictions) or require a separation of land uses (e.g., residential, commercial, light-industry, heavy-industry). Abolish zoning regulations and you will likely see an increase in mixed-use development and, in many places, density."