Tim Carney: How to get rich through politics, UK edition

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

I’ve got a business idea for any ambitious young women or men out there:

  1. Run for local office;
  2. Pass laws amending local zoning rules, allowing more development only under certain, narrow conditions.
  3. Hire yourself out to property owners to help them navigate those certain, narrow conditions.

Oh, wait, I’m too late. Some local politicians across England are already doing something this, the Telegraph reports.

Under the changes, local authorities without a plan for development in their area will be expected to approve any application which can be said to be a “sustainable development”, a term that has alarmed conservationists because it is open to wide interpretation.

Councillors who can help property developers take advantage of the new laws are expecting greater demand for services as almost half of all councils have failed to agree their local plans….

One lobbying company is boasting to potential clients that it employs councillors who sit on local authority committees. An undercover investigation by this newspaper also found that councillors who have set up their own consultancy services are offering to help push through planning applications.

One Tory councillor in East Devon, Graham Brown, boasted: “If I can’t get planning, nobody will.”

While the British have a long history of government officials benefitting from UK land policy, this isn’t so different from what happens here.

Dodd-Frank’s authors cashed out to help clients handle Dodd-Frank. Same with Obamacare. The magic formula seems to be a policy framework that allows some private economic freedom, but together with a slew of complex rules.

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