1999-03-08 Vice President Calls for Measures toEaseTrafficCongestion

Paul Henry Rosenberg rad at gte.net
Mon Mar 8 19:11:59 PST 1999

Max Sawicky wrote:

> > >
> > >The thing missing from Gore's message is money.
> >
> > Well, exactly. It's a symbolic (or maybe imaginary) solution to a real
> > problem. You don't seriously think Gore's going to de-localize U.S.
> > governance, do you? Bring our 83,000 government count down to even 70,000?
> > It'd be easier to hit our Kyoto targets than that.
> The Feds could provide money for regional government operations,
> particularly regional public transportation planning and investment. Local
> govs could join without obliterating their identity. If they opt out, they
> lose a role in allocating the funds.

Here in LA our regional government operations are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The regional transit authority has done more to make people hate and distrust government than Rush Limbaugh ever wet-dreamed of.

(And the Bus Rider's Union civil rights suit is being implemented about as fast as Alabama schools complied with Brown v. Board of Education.)

The regional air quality managment district has betrayed its trust more times & more different ways than Bill Clinton has betrayed his wedding vows.

The regional power utilities played a major role in the statewide utility deregulation, which socked the ratepayers with the cost of bailing out stockholders for the cost of "stranded assets" -- nuclear power plants worth their weight in IOUs.

I wish it wasn't so, Max. But the fact remains -- the local level governments are about as open to democratic accountability as the Spanish Inquisition.

> The Feds could reduce the relative subsidies to automobile
> travel relative to mass transit by raising gas taxes
> and increasing subsidies to buses/subways/light rail.

True. Revenue-nuetral tax-shifting is a promising way to go.

But raising gas tax in favor of mass transit is going to needlessly anger all the folks in states like Montana, where the residents have 66 times more voting power in the US Senate than I do here in LA. There needs to be a more nuanced approach to this.

> The income tax deductions for prop tax and mortgage interest
> could be capped, then squeezed down. The Feds could make
> highway grants contingent on tougher emission
> standards. The Feds could incorporate mandates in employment service
> funding regarding support for reverse commuting. Etc. etc. There's a lot
> of dials to twirl and buttons to push here.

Absoutely. If Gore's so Mr. Bore-You-To-Death-With-Details, then why aren't we being bored yet?

> Money is surely in question. That's why a few of us crackpot realists are
> here screaming about the budget while folks divert themselves with . . .
> well, you know.

Sorry I asked.

-- Paul Rosenberg Reason and Democracy rad at gte.net

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list