The Republicans have their echo chamber which allows them to influence the media, so it is my turn to help the other side.


End All Subsidies

There was an article in the Seattle Times recently about a bill that would tax new cars to pay for the Monorail. As it stands now, only cars older than a year are taxed. Here is the thing that gets me, the Washington State Auto Dealers are against the tax because they believe it would result in less car sales. I can't believe these guys, do they realize how many subsidies benefit the auto industry? They get free roads and a military to protect their fuel. It frustrates me when money is taken from one area to pay for another. "You drive a car? We'll tax you to pay for mass transit." If they really want to even the playing field, they would remove all subsidies and people would pay for what they use. Let's see how the auto companies and auto dealers like that, when people realize how much their precious vehicles cost them. Let farmers manage their own crops. I wonder how well the rail industry would do when the airline subsidies are removed and people have to pay their fair price.

This is also a good way to protect against sprawl. When people have to pay the true cost of their suburban infrastructure, the city would become much cheaper and fewer people would live in the suburbs. Living in the suburbs is a luxury afforded to those who can pay for the extra power, gas, and water lines as well as fire and police service and road infrastructure. It is not your right to live in the suburbs. Remove the subsidies and the development companies wouldn't make as much profit in the suburbs, making brownfield developments much more attractive. Of course, the city would have to be appropriately zoned to support higher density. If, as in Seattle, 75% of the city is zoned for single family homes, then this would end up making suburban and urban housing more expensive. Removing density restrictions and subsidies would allow all these problems to work themselves out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wonder how well the rail industry would do when the airline subsidies are removed and people have to pay their fair price."

"Further, the extent of Amtrak subsidies is out of all proportion to rationality. For example, if the same level of subsidy per passenger mile were provided to airlines as Amtrak received in 2000, the annual cost would be $45 billion --- three times the gross value of the airline bailout, of which only $5 billion was actual cash assistance (the balance was loan guarantees). If we were to subsidize automobile travel at the same rate as we subsidize Amtrak, the annual subsidy would be approximately $400 billion --- $100 billion more than we spent on defense in 2001. More than one of of every five federal dollars would be spent on Amtrak.

Its time to consider things in context. Amtrak is very heavily subsidized, and does not need to be. " ($.htm)


Blogger Andrew Hitchcock said...

"The airline bailout is justified to the extent that it represents compensation for damages that were proximately caused by the act of War."

I wonder if they took into account the economic downturn around the same time or the fact that people didn't want to fly because the airlines were making us jump through hoops to go through security. The airlines lost only, what, three planes? It would be hard to justify any losses beyond that.

Furthermore, I think that much of Amtrak's costs are fixed. If they were to get more customers and better service (as the result of more customers and money), they wouldn't need that subsidy. That said I never said we should subsidize Amtrak. However, I think that if airlines and Amtrak were on the same playing field, the trains would be a better deal and cheaper.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the fact that we need to end subsidies, especially farm related.

I just happen to disagree regarding rail travel and airlines. IMO even removing subsidies on both sides, air travel beats rail travel dollar for dollar in terms of providing efficient, desirable, and cost effective travel.

Regarding the airline bail out, it was a silly move. All it did was prolong the dieing struggles of a few of the major airlines that can no longer compete. The Fed needed to just stand back and let capitalism work its magic, make room for the companies that can compete.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any way to find a figure for the total amount of all local, state and federal subsidies per year. I have a feeling this total when compared to total income tax or national debt would be shocking enough for Americans to demand a change.



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