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Csonicgo

The Tea Party's War on Transportation

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Amazing read:
http://www.salon.com/2012/02/13/the_tea_partys_war_on_mass_transit

“The Tea Party leaders and the Republicans who pander to them do not care about cost-effectiveness in the slightest,” wrote blogger Alon Levy in a comment about the bill on the Transport Politic. “They dislike transit for purely cultural and ideological reasons.” To the Tea Party, transit smacks of the public sector, social engineering and alternative lifestyles.



The Tea Party is clever. What an elegant plan to force proud but educated Americans to consider apologizing for their country. Nothing but Mindless and absurd babbling in the name of the American ideal.

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A quote from the article:

House Republicans seek to eliminate the Mass Transit Account from the federal Highway Trust Fund. The Mass Transit Account is where public transportation programs get their steady source of funding. Without it, transit would be devastated, and urban life as we know it could become untenable.


Sounds like exaggerated fearmongering to me. OMG da tee partees gonna kill subwayzzz! I highly doubt that funding for mass transit will somehow evaporate if this goes through; I'm sure mass transit is funded in other ways as well. More likely is that this is a step in the right direction to cut wasteful government spending.

At least the Tea Party movement doesn't block traffic and prevent citizens from getting to their jobs like zealots of a certain other movement.

Here's a snippet from another article that shows a more realistic take on things:

Under the GOP plan, that trust fund money would be redirected to pay for roads and bridges. Mass transit would turn, instead, to a one-time $40 billion allocation from the general fund that would be shared with other popular programs, including bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

After that general fund money runs out, mass transit funding would come through an annual appropriation rather than through the five-year spending umbrella of the House proposal. Where that $40 billion will come from was promised to be revealed this week.

In Friday’s committee debate, it was apparent that Republicans were confident that the general fund would provide reliable funding for mass transit.

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You're an immature kid, and you're eventually going to have to learn, the hard way or otherwise, how much you don't know.

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Oh look, Vordakk is being dishonest. The bill as it is now would require mass transit to compete with other public transportation projects. That just sounds totally fair, if you hate mass transit. Stop selectively quoting shit and not sourcing it. We always find out.

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Csonicgo said:

Oh look, Vordakk is being dishonest. The bill as it is now would require mass transit to compete with other public transportation projects. That just sounds totally fair, if you hate mass transit. Stop selectively quoting shit and not sourcing it. We always find out.


Csonicgo: I believe the Tea Party wants to take away mass transit, which would hurt everyone, including them, by stifling progress in cities.

Vordakk: That sounds a bit overblown and extreme and isn't at all what they said.

Csonicgo: How dare you argue against my liberal assertions! You're a liar!

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Vordakk said:

Vordakk: That sounds a bit overblown and extreme and isn't at all what they said.

from Vordakk's actual post:
Sounds like exaggerated fearmongering to me. OMG da tee partees gonna kill subwayzzz!

Just saying that it's not really helping your case when you open a rebuttal as such.

Any links to this actual proposition? Both links in thread are to third-party sites I haven't even heard of (of course, I could just be ignorant)

EDIT: And now reading through Snakes' article.

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As if public transportation wasn't already terribly underfunded. I have to drive 10 miles to catch the bus where I live.

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The TEA Party is serious about big government... unless it comes in the form of defense spending, which we pay more into than any other country in the world.



Yeah, it's Bill Maher. Shut up.

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Csonicgo said:

Oh look, Vordakk is being dishonest. The bill as it is now would require mass transit to compete with other public transportation projects. That just sounds totally fair, if you hate mass transit. Stop selectively quoting shit and not sourcing it. We always find out.

As someone who does economics, I'm at a loss here to understand what is so wrong with giving competition to the transit. After all, healthy competition as opposed to a monopoly is usually to the benefit of the customer and to the economy. The private sector would probably be able to handle transport (and medical aid, and education, and pretty much everything bar running the actual government itself) better and more cost effectively than the government would, because it's the private sector that has to deliver a service that combines the best quality possible with the most cost effectiveness possible in order to survive and so naturally they strive higher than government funded services where survival is not an issue, and most likely the result would be that Danarchy would be able find a bus closer to where he stays. At best calling this a war against transportation just seems like a liberal attempt at fear mongering & clutching at straws to distort the truth.

In reality this is more a war to limit the fed's spending power and to limit the wasteful government spending that is aimed at making people more & more dependent on the government, and is what is sending America to the point of no return; the 16 trillion dollar debt, anybody? How can you work your way out of all that debt with all these expensive spending policies? It's all good and well to have overblown liberal spending policies but as long as there is huge money and power in government, it'll also unfortunately attract corruption and lobbyists like Goldman Sachs, shitty propaganda outlets like Fox News, and political tyrants like Newt, Bush and Obomber who take away your civil liberties, play the pot-kettle game issuing sanctions over "human rights" (that make living conditions even poorer in these countries), and using your tax money to wage wars overseas with countries that America could have had good diplomatic relations with instead.

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DeathevokatioN said:

...because it's the private sector that has to deliver a service that combines the best quality possible with the most cost effectiveness possible in order to survive and so naturally they strive higher than government funded services where survival is not an issue...


Can I just point to the fast food industry as a counter-argument? I mean, what you just described is, in all honesty, what capitalism should be like, but it isn't. From what I can observe, it's about making as much money as possible, and one way to do that is to reduce the costs of the product you're providing, and the best way to do that is to provide the lowest common denominator. Meanwhile, the price of taking the bus/metro (which I do every workday) would increase, and for people dependent on it, there's not much to be done to make them stop.

I suppose we should privatize our firehouses, while we're at it? The lowest bidder can put out that forest fire?

Okay, I'll admit, that last part is just silly.

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DeathevokatioN said:

As someone who does economics, I'm at a loss here to understand what is so wrong with giving competition to the transit.

my country has a "socialist" public funded, very complex system of mass transportation. it is sweet beyond belief, it's the one thing besides beer the whole world should envy us. you don't realize how magnificent it is until you get used to it travelling around the country... then go to another country and find yourself in this exact situation: "?!?!?! i give up, i'm renting a car." that, by the way, was our reaction to travelling around denmark/sweden, which have pretty good systems of mass transport too... just not intercity-wise.

now, "why not competitive privatized system," you ask. there are private companies around here... guess what! they cherry-pick only the main routes which yield the best money. they offer better prizes than the state-funded companies, but they'll NEVER bring me to a town just a few kilometers off the sweet routes. (i encourage you to try and show me a better, private-based system than what we have here in czech republic.)

also i can make similar points regarding health, security and education. the libertarian theories how private police, fire department, schooling system and hospitals would be so much better just seem so naive to me... they've never been tested in reality properly unless weird-as-fuck examples like 12th century iceland or whatever, but libertarians won't stop preaching how they believe it's the system to use. never mind the models come from survivalist small scale societies, it's gonna work guise!

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DeathevokatioN said:

As someone who does economics, I'm at a loss here to understand what is so wrong with giving competition to the transit. After all, healthy competition as opposed to a monopoly is usually to the benefit of the customer and to the economy. The private sector would probably be able to handle transport (and medical aid, and education, and pretty much everything bar running the actual government itself) better and more cost effectively than the government would, because it's the private sector that has to deliver a service that combines the best quality possible with the most cost effectiveness possible in order to survive and so naturally they strive higher than government funded services where survival is not an issue, and most likely the result would be that Danarchy would be able find a bus closer to where he stays.

Following that bullshit neoliberal mantra for the last 20 years is slowly but surely killing off our long distance bus services and the railway services are going to follow the same path.

Danarchy would have to drive 20 miles since the connection he's using now would be dropped for bringing losses.

Edit: Basically what dew said in the second paragraph has happened.

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DeathevokatioN said:

After all, healthy competition as opposed to a monopoly is usually to the benefit of the customer and to the economy.

Ha! There are sooo many counter examples...

Here's one. In my country, as in many other countries, the post office used to be a public service, funded by the government (in other words, taxes). Stamps were cheap. Mail was delivered six days a week, and twice a day in large cities.

Fast forward a decade or two. The post office is now privatized, and does not receive a cent in public subsidies. Mail is no longer delivered twice daily in large cities (morning and evening), and the six days a week is going to be reduced to five days a week. Stamps have been getting more and more expensive. And despite all that, it is still running at a deficit -- the post office relies on other activities, such as insurance and banking, to fund the mail delivery part. People living far from urban centers are starting not to receive courier at all anymore, except maybe a weekly notice that they have stuff waiting for them at the post office, if they aren't warned by phone or e-mail. And of course, the local offices for small towns are getting closed because they're not profitable. Even when they stay open, The opening hours are reduced because shit, we can't afford as many cashiers as before to deal with the customers bringing packages and stuff. So the waiting queues are getting a lot longer.

Certainly, the competitors are already operating on "city only, screw the countryside" and "five days a week only, screw Saturdays". And you know why? Because it's fucking expensive to have cars driving 30 kilometers just to deliver one letter to one highland farm or whatever. People living too far away from the distribution center just cannot be profitable. So, they're not covered at all. Likewise, if you make only five deliveries a week instead of six, then it saves you about 17% of the weekly gas budget for your fleet of cars and bikes.

How is this of benefit to the customer? They get their mail less often, or not at all. They wait longer in line. They have to drive farther to get to their post office. Mailing stuff costs more than before. It's all massively annoying.


Of course, you'll say, "who cares, let's use just e-mail and SMS and stuff, snail mail is dead anyway" and it's true that it's actually part of the problem: people are mailing less than before, so there's less volume to deliver which makes timely deliveries less cost-effective than they were before.

But still, when it was a subsidized public service, there was the guarantee that every user of the mail service was treated equally, without unfair discrimination based on their location.

But that also meant that healthy competition wasn't possible, since one company got state subsidies which the competitors-to-be wouldn't have. So, it was sacrificed on the altar of "everything is better with competition!" and now it sucks, and is going to suck even more.



Another example: directory assistance. We used to have our phone operator, back when it was a public service (again), manage an information line. You could call a two-digit number and get a human person who could answer various questions. Like if you didn't have a phonebook and wanted to know the number of a hotel in some city where you were going to travel soon? They could give you that. It was kinda handy.

Of course, the dogma of "competition!!!!" arrived and instead of one operator with a two-digit number, there were 32 different six-digit numbers. A lot harder to remember. And calling these numbers was a lot more expensive than calling the old 2-digit number ever was, because now it was operated for a profit instead of just being a service offered to those needing it. And they needed profits all the more because the only way in which they could 1) actually compete and 2) get remembered by the public was to sink a ton of money in advertising.

Fast forward, what happened? People just found all this too confusing and started using Internet instead of calling directory assistance. The various companies that had tried to make money there bankrupted. There isn't a directory assistance anymore.

So, how is it better for the customer? I guess inciting them to discover Internet can be seen as a benefit; but still, it's odd to think that "no service" means "better service".



Bottom line: there are things that work a lot better as public service monopolies than as for-profit competition. And honestly, mass transit is one of them. Why? Well... Imagine you have five bus companies in a city, starting their competition on an equal footing. You get five buses instead of one, which means that a lot of these buses are empty or near-empty and only result in more pollution and traffic congestion. Connections between different bus companies isn't covered in the fare, so you have to pay more if you don't travel on a direct line. And unless you have a third-party dedicated to maintain such a thing, there is no centralized way to see which lines are where and when the buses do pass, because instead each competitor only shows its own lines. They can't be held responsible for providing accurate and up-to-date information about their competitors after all. Pretty soon, all the line which carry only a few peoples get cut because there's no profit to be made there. End result, it sucks and is confusing and people take their car instead.

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Gez said:

post office example

Our post office is still a public service with competition allowed only in the package segment, but they're already moving out of smaller towns in preparation for a free market model that will be established in 2013.

Also, almost all internet stores have a disclaimer now, stating that they do not take responsibility for time of delivery if you choose public mail as the delivery method. Didn't have them a couple of years ago.

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Gez said:

Fast forward a decade or two. The post office is now privatized, and does not receive a cent in public subsidies. Mail is no longer delivered twice daily in large cities (morning and evening), and the six days a week is going to be reduced to five days a week. Stamps have been getting more and more expensive. And despite all that, it is still running at a deficit -- the post office relies on other activities, such as insurance and banking, to fund the mail delivery part. People living far from urban centers are starting not to receive courier at all anymore, except maybe a weekly notice that they have stuff waiting for them at the post office, if they aren't warned by phone or e-mail. And of course, the local offices for small towns are getting closed because they're not profitable. Even when they stay open, The opening hours are reduced because shit, we can't afford as many cashiers as before to deal with the customers bringing packages and stuff. So the waiting queues are getting a lot longer

I cannot wait for the day the USPS goes under and I can stop paying my mortgage and other bills because hey, I didn't get it and since the government isn't paying my cellphone and cable bills, then maybe I don't own a computer or cellphone to use.

As an aside, out of all the bills I do have, my cable tv/internet bill is literally the only one that isn't either automatically taken out of my bank account or cannot be dealt with over the phone or internet. The service they provide is great, but it is the only bill I actually have to send a goddamn check in the mail to pay...my fucking ISP.

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Bucket said:

The TEA Party is serious about big government... unless it comes in the form of defense spending, which we pay more into than any other country in the world.


Defense of the country is one of the chief powers of Congress outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Much the rest of what government spends money on is simply not an enumerated power. Paring down our military while China's military grows massive and North Korea continues to improve their nuclear capability seems a bit reckless to me.

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Don't forget TERRISM. Cause you know, if you declare war on an idea, you're always at war and can keep one hand in the coffers at all times.

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Vordakk, you might want to check some figures before concluding how much room you have for cutbacks.

DeathevokatioN said:
After all, healthy competition as opposed to a monopoly is usually to the benefit of the customer and to the economy.

A public service and a private monopoly are not the same thing, even if they share some qualities. The latter is still a private enterprise and has its sustainment and growth as main objectives. The former, on the other hand, will even work at a loss to ensure that the services it provides reach key users at accessible fees (if any).

The private sector would probably be able to handle transport (and medical aid, and education, and pretty much everything bar running the actual government itself) better and more cost effectively than the government would, because it's the private sector that has to deliver a service that combines the best quality possible with the most cost effectiveness possible in order to survive and so naturally they strive higher than government funded services where survival is not an issue, and most likely the result would be that Danarchy would be able find a bus closer to where he stays.

Large portions of the transport services lack competition except during company sales and acquisitions because you don't have various bus or train lines to choose from to do the same trajectories. Except in the more densely populated areas, companies have monopolies or hegemonies in the areas they operate to be economically viable. Transportation isn't like going to the supermarket.

At best calling this a war against transportation just seems like a liberal attempt at fear mongering & clutching at straws to distort the truth.

The interest groups supporting the Tea Party do want a bigger piece of the pie of the transportation industry. To get it, they attack public transportation, which is taking "profitable services." They want to make money, and publicly funded services attempting to broaden access and cheapen it for the end user hamper that.

How can you work your way out of all that debt with all these expensive spending policies?

By empowering the population by and large to the services it requires to have incentives in contributing to the economy and thus exceeding the costs of debt through a greater domestic product. The lack of hope, health care, homes, transportation, education, safety, stability and respect stifle national economic activity. Many of the costs aren't going away, you just need to drown them in gains. The more people can participate in the economy without being marginalized by "competition" and the profits of decreasing percentages of the population, the more it will thrive.

Bucket said:
The TEA Party is serious about big government... unless it comes in the form of defense spending, which we pay more into than any other country in the world.

Especially when big spending on force tends to escalate. Since other forms of social spending become deficient due to budget constraints, it demands extra policing costs to counter social unrest (politically organized or endemic in other ways) and diplomatic tensions. While US military and security spending isn't such a huge percentage of the GDP, it takes a large deal of tax allocation, straining the funds the government can handle for all its services.

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Vordakk said:

Paring down our military while China's military grows massive and North Korea continues to improve their nuclear capability seems a bit reckless to me.

So, your economic policy for the united states is to spend trillions of dollars on preparing for a military conflict that will never happen?

Or do you honestly believe that even china, in the face of the political and economic pressure and MASSIVE military intervention by every single nation on earth would back north korea if something were to happen to seoul?

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DeathevokatioN said:

As someone who does economics, I'm at a loss here to understand what is so wrong with giving competition to the transit. After all, healthy competition as opposed to a monopoly is usually to the benefit of the customer and to the economy. The private sector would probably be able to handle transport (and medical aid, and education, and pretty much everything bar running the actual government itself) better and more cost effectively than the government would, because it's the private sector that has to deliver a service that combines the best quality possible with the most cost effectiveness possible in order to survive and so naturally they strive higher than government funded services where survival is not an issue, and most likely the result would be that Danarchy would be able find a bus closer to where he stays.

Ugh, what? Have you ever seen the New York City Subway? It's dirty, disorganized, some of the stations look like they went through a war, and surprise, surprise, It started out as two competing private companies.

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Vordakk, while there's always some room for debate in every issue, when you post without making any attempt to make a sound argument or to cite reliable sources, you're really just hurting your cause. I like political threads on Doomworld because I'm interested in seeing the best arguments everyone has to offer. I would genuinely appreciate it if you put some thought and research into your posting.

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Vordakk said:

Paring down our military while China's military grows massive and North Korea continues to improve their nuclear capability seems a bit reckless to me.

i see you consider the arab threat successfully resolved (gj obama!), now it's time to turn america's attention to the yellow peril! so many enemys, so few moneys. :(

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Creaphis said:

Vordakk, while there's always some room for debate in every issue, when you post without making any attempt to make a sound argument or to cite reliable sources, you're really just hurting your cause. I like political threads on Doomworld because I'm interested in seeing the best arguments everyone has to offer. I would genuinely appreciate it if you put some thought and research into your posting.


You expect me to improve my posts for you??? Who the fuck are you, dude? Are you gonna pay me? Because I don't post here for your entertainment, and I could give a shit whether my posts are "hurting my cause". I certainly won't be converting anyone here to my beliefs nor do I seek to, so there is no "cause", I'm just sharing my viewpoint like the others. These threads are just people expressing their opinions on certain subjects casually; no one in here is a politician who is deciding the fate of a nation, and I'd argue that the majority of people posting in threads like this have already sat down and outlined their political beliefs and general worldview well before they post.

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Defense of the country is one of the chief powers of Congress outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Much the rest of what government spends money on is simply not an enumerated power. Paring down our military while China's military grows massive and North Korea continues to improve their nuclear capability seems a bit reckless to me.

What's the point of spending all this money when we already have enough nukes to wipe out all life on the planet? We already have a threat-of-mutually-assured-destruction so I will be very surprised if the tensions between US and China elevate beyond proxy-wars.

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Vordakk said:

Defense of the country is one of the chief powers of Congress outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Much the rest of what government spends money on is simply not an enumerated power. Paring down our military while China's military grows massive and North Korea continues to improve their nuclear capability seems a bit reckless to me.


The only reasons the US has so many enemies is because our government created them through what US governments idea of defending the country. Defending the country isn't having troops and bases in almost 120 countries or sticking its nose into just about every countries affairs. The world would be better off if the US Military Industrial Complex was cut off at the knees and our if government would stop trying to policing the world.


Back on topic: I use to support the Tea Party at the beginning. Since big money and the mainstream media got a hold of the Tea Party its a far cry from the original idea.

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Creaphis said:

I would genuinely appreciate it if you put some thought and research into your trolling.

FTFY

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