Friday, April 16, 2010

Ray LaHood Wants To Outlaw Cars...Or Something

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced a new departmental policy which would recognize methods of transportation such as walking and biking as deserving the same opportunity for funding as driving.

Predictably, the defenders of the helpless oil and auto industries immediately attacked LaHood, going as far as to suggest that he was on drugs.

LaHood, of course, was not suggesting that we give biking and walking special treatment. He was just suggesting that we recognize that walking and biking are legitimate forms of transportation.

Of course, driving is already subsidized. The gas tax does not cover the cost of road construction, so money is taken from the general budget for that. But that's just the start of the massive subsidies that driving gets.

The United States has spent trillions of dollars and endured thousands of casualties as a result of the endless wars it now fights to ensure the supply of oil. This is a direct subsidy to oil companies, the auto industry, and drivers. 

Who pays for this subsidy? Well, people who walk and bike do. All Americans do, through the payment of taxes to fund these wars. And most importantly, millions of innocent people in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and more pay for it with their lives.

Our current rate of oil consumption is, of course, unsustainable. It is devastating to our economy and to our national security. Our transportation policy currently favors the use of vehicles over any other mode of transportation. Ray LaHood just wants to give people who want to walk or bike a chance to do so. He wants to fund things like bike paths and walkways, or plowing those things in winter so they can be used year round. He is not trying to force anyone to walk or bike. It's a minor change of policy, and one that is long overdue.

He's trying to do his part to make America safer for its citizens and the rest of the world.

And for that, the defenders of corporate America, in their callousness, greed, and complete disregard for human life, laugh at him and accuse him of being a criminal. Will they ever have enough money?

That's how our political system works these days.

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