Friday, March 4, 2011

Capitaism, Transportation and the Tea Party

I have been thinking about doing this one for a while, but I want to tread very carefully because despite my massive amount of misgivings about this movement and its beliefs, I also want to avoid the all too common trait of minimizing others in political discourse.

Yet, I would like to point out the inherent contradictions in their political belief. I've kept this post from Streetsblog bookmarked because this isn't some academic or philosophical person saying roads don't pay for themselves, it is a chairman of the Texas House Transportation Committee, Mike Krusee. Texas is the king of highway transportation and Krusee is a suburban rep.

But for this post, here's the relevant information.

The expense to build roads and utilities further and further from the urban cores not only drove costs to unsustainable levels, it created an imbalance in who paid for growth. Over the past 50 years, Krusee argued, the federal government used tax money that came by and large from cities to subsidize roads to areas without access otherwise.
"City dwellers have subsidized the land purchases and the development costs out in the suburbs," said Krusee. What's more, the gas tax, which city dwellers pay when driving on city roads, but which goes to freeways largely outside of urban cores, is "a huge transfer of wealth from the cities to the suburbs to build these rings."

That doesn't sound like what the Tea Party stands for does it? But why is this relevant to Tea Party types. Since they are predominantly suburban residents, it has plenty. The most subsidized existence is the American suburb. From transportation, to parking codes, to mortgage deductions, to gas subsidies and so on, there really isn't much about suburban life that is left to the true workings of the free market, despite their proclivity for it.

I am sure they are all for government spending money on highways, or tax deductions for their houses, so then the statement that government needs to get out of our lives turns into what level of government intervention is needed to keep the free market moving efficiently. However, I doubt they would ever admit such a thing, or even acknowledge it.

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