A Small Rant About Socialism & Wealth Redistribution from Republicans & Liberal Democrats Ignoring Problem Programs

It still cracks me up (in a perverse way) how supportive Conservative Republicans are of the largest wealth redistribution & socialization process ever implemented in America. Really? Can they not identify the hypocrisy?! WTF.

…and if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, it’s the Interstate System. It dramatically changed the way the entire country lives by a massive influx of cash into road construction, created sprawl almost single handedly, didn’t cost anything at pocket cost, and basically is now utilized more by the poor (not to their advantage overall) than the well to do and rich. It also happens to prove out the Democrat’s view on socialist influxes of public works helping the poor (which is partially wrong, because now look what it is doing for the poor, as we’re over-leveraged and can’t even keep up with our Interstates and they’re dependent on automobiles vs. biking, walking or transit usage which is much more economically viable for upwards mobility) – passenger rail jobs were vastly better for the poor than the Interstates). It helps the poor for the period the money is dumped in, devalued that Government spending is, but then nobody ever clearly plans for maintenance. Screwing over the states, taxpayers and the poor it originally benefitted.

Compound all of this to the state level, as is usually the case the states almost always have to fill the gaps when the Feds screw up something like this and then toss the whole thing over to the states. If you’re not sure what I mean here, it’s because originally the feds subsidized the Interstate build out at 80% to 90% and the states covered the other 20% to 10%. The agreement however was that the states would then takeover maintenance, future construction, etc. But now that we’re in that cycle the feds still have to step in because we ARE NOT THAT RICH AS A NATION anymore. We can’t keep up with the roads, the feds have to fill the gaps, at 40% to 60% of road costs. In addition the only roads that are covered under the gas tax are the Interstates, and at this time they’re only covered about 90% (for a few decades they were actually covered under the gas tax).

But just in the end… sooooo much hypocrisy among both parties in regards to this, and the taxpayer, citizen and every person born in this country is now left with the debt incurred, the unsustainable infrastructure, the sprawling and anti-community oriented suburbs, and a decreasing interest and growing apathy toward fixing it – in LARGE part because both parties ignore the problems and the people generally don’t even know where the root of the problem is.

…such as, how can one NOT see that the Interstate system is a MASSIVE redistribution of wealth? It’s a forced cost abrogation by taxation and then setup in a way that people are for all practical purposes forced to use it. In the end, it wrecked the private sector transit and transportation options, it along with airline subsidies created an industry that can barely sustain passenger transport at any level (air, road, rail, etc). The costs have been forced down, albeit they actually cost modern people more than people from 1950 or 1920 or 1890 in literal currency when including the tax part of the cut…

…it’s all, freaking stupid. 99% of the population is blind to this. They need to wake up, because one of the most important fundamental needs for Americans is transport. We need to realize what is sustainable (and I don’t just mean environmentally, I’m talking about economically too) and what is NOT sustainable. Across the board, at Government, private sector, and in the market as a whole, we need to become more informed and start making serious changes…

btw – if you’re an investor, you can watch transport markets and derive immediate valuations for companies that provide services or products for people that use a particular mode of transport. Just one aspect of the multi-pronged aspects of macro-economics.

Cheers, my rant is done.

A Salem Commute, TriMet Almost Messes it Up and a Video of the Trip

Arriving in Tualatin.

Arriving in Tualatin.

Today started at 4:30am for me. I had some business meetings to attend in Salem, Oregon. This seemed like a good opportunity to take a trip to Salem with my girl Kristen. This commute would have us following this trip:

  1. Walk 6 blocks to the MAX Galleria transit stop (check out TriMet’s Map).
  2. Depart on 5:16am MAX to Beaverton Transit Center.
  3. Arrive and depart on the WES to Wilsonville, Oregon.
  4. Then take the Cherriots 1x to Salem, Oregon.

A relatively simple trip really, except for the 3 transfers and a theoretical 21 minute transfer wait to the WES. That’s kind of a bummer. However, what really caused stress is we ended up with zero transfer time. Cuz ya see, the frikkin’ 5:16am west bound MAX NEVER ARRIVED! That meant standing there on pins and needles hoping to catch the next MAX, which at that hour doesn’t come for…  drum roll please… 21 minutes!  Yeah, exactly 21 minutes, which would mean if everything departs on time then the transfer to the WES couldn’t occur, which meant the Cherriots transfer wouldn’t occur, which would mean I’d either be 30-60 minutes late.

WES Train o' The Day

WES Train o’ The Day

But as the trip started, amazingly, we caught that next MAX which was precisely on time 21 minutes later. Amazingly, the WES had not departed when we arrived in Beaverton TC. I guess, TriMet had managed to delay the train? Maybe the conductor or engineer on the train had held knowing familiar faces weren’t aboard. It is totally possibly since the WES crew generally tends to roll that way – they’re good with the passengers.

Either way, I’ve arrived, Kristen is off to work, and I made this silly video with happy goofy travel music (cuz it is canned, and it is a pain to find music that isn’t copyrighted on the Internet).  Next time I might add some of my own custom music, a little shredding for the soul always kicks a trip into overdrive.


Oh For Pete’s Sake!

…or maybe I should say “oh for Portland’s sake!

I live in Seattle these days. However, anyone that has ever read a blog entry or two on this blog probably knows the I also love Portland. Portland got me out to the northwest from the backwards and hellish heat of the southeastern US. Portland also is far more of a driving force in the northwest than many from other parts of the country may realize. They’d look at a map and probably think that Seattle would be more of a driving force.

I’ve come to find that this is not the case.

Don’t get me wrong. Seattle has lead the way in many progressive ways, but just walk down any major area in Seattle with decent livability and you’ll hear a recurring theme if you mention having lived in Portland for a while. I can tell you, 9 out of 10 people will almost swoon with a respect and love for what has been accomplished in the city of Portland. Rightly they should, a tremendous amount of progress has been made toward cleaning up that city in spite of the pitiful desecration that the “American Dream” had left it in. The city continues to make huge progress in biking, transit, livability, parks, financing (without printing money like our glorious Federal Government does), improving community outreach, community involvement, and to top it off the city has more restaurants, strip clubs, art walks, coffee shops, and library books in circulation per capita than any American City! Those are some serious bragging rights.

But that leaves me with a slight problem with all this swooning. Sure I love Portland pride (of all sorts) and am proud to have called it home (and still do to a large degree), but there is a problem when other places start doing nothing but swooning and imitating it! I have a simple request.


Seattle has plenty to be proud for, I know Portland has great transit (or better, as most state to me when the topic of Portland comes up, and that is without me even saying I’m the Transit Sleuth guy…), I know it has all these projects and other things they’re doing to make it even more livable, even more fun, more enjoyable, more caffeinated, and even more bike, pedestrian, and human friendly. That’s great, but I want to hear about what Seattle is doing. I want to see Seattle moving forward. I want to hear about what Seattle is doing to keep up and stay competitive with Vancouver BC, Portland, and San Francisco even.

Seattle is a great city. Combine it with Tacoma, and you have a massive power house of a metropolitan area in the north west. The city is pushing forward with bike trails. Which it could do even more with. I think Seattle could be a leader in this realm! But alas, the last 4 discussions I’ve heard about bike trails or greenways end with “as discovered in Portland”… AAAAAHHHHH!!!

Then the transit question. Seattle should take this beast by the horns too. Stop doing half ass measures to barely keep the trolley buses running or a little sprinkling of a streetcar or light rail here or there. Stop mitigating by just allowing people to drive anyway, start allowing people to truly LIVE instead of just pushing the gas pedal and brake in that stop and go catastrophe called I-5. Seattle could lead in so many ways in this regard and has done a lot of work around this. Yet I hear unending stories from people in coffee shops, on the street, downtown, and in Pioneer Square about how the city is going to maybe get around to this or that by the time everyone who cares in 90, and our childrens’ children might get some benefit out of it. Then somebody usually swoons about how Portland already has 4 light rail lines and is working on their 5th (or as I like to call it, the extension of the yellow line south). Seattle should push aside the waitlist of Sound Transit and get King County Metro to move into the limelight with some SERIOUS efforts to bring light rail to Seattle proper (not just tossing it out of site and out of mind into the tunnel). I think some steam will be gathered with the First Hill Streetcar, but the city should really take the lead, brag about what IS being accomplished and keep up the pressure! Stop letting every story end with how bad ass Portland is. This is Seattle, people should talk about how bad ass it is when they’re here IN SEATTLE!

Anyway, I hope that something starts to trigger a serious change. I already do see a serious downtown (and west side) vs. east side pride. Again, something that I believe in. The cultural differences between the east side of Lake Washington and downtown (plus West Seattle) are HUGE! Seattle should be proud of its leadership and should continue that over the east side, there’s no chance they make any progress on that side anytime soon. Seattle is the cultural leader of this entire metropolitan area and the city should be proud of that.

I’ve got my fingers crossed, so let’s here some props for Seattle, and let’s move this forward.

The Cold Harsh Truth of Reality

Notes of reality for those that are avoiding it. Also just a few simple observations I’ve made. I’m not trying to convince anyone this, just making the observation that these are truisms of reality. If you disagree, please feel free to form some argument. I may have to re-word a few to be more accurate or even write additional content on the matter.  Cheers!

  1. Transit is not that much more efficient that automobiles for energy utilization or the environment. Almost no transit is as efficient as a mid-size or smaller car with two people in it.
  2. Automobiles consume about 200 sq feet, remember you aren’t entitled to the space your car consumes. You’re borrowing someone else’s property when you’re parked, traveling or otherwise putting your car somewhere. The only place were you’re entitled that that 200 square feet is your driveway/parkway.
  3. If you see a cyclist riding to work or otherwise maybe slowing you down, realize they’re probably going to make better time to where they are going and you OWE it to them that they’re using vastly less tax money and resources than you are. Matter of fact, considering the income range of most cyclists they’re paying vastly more in taxes than you AND using vastly less. So keep mooching and shut the f@#$ up. Learn the stats and know what you’re yelping about.
  4. If you point a car at someone and try to hit them, that’s the equivalent of pointing a gun at someone. Don’t be surprised if someone takes offense to that and decides to mess you up.
  5. The reality of the matter is, if everyone on Earth lived like Americans we’d either be dead or have gas that would be priced 10x what it is. So be happy we have it as easy as we do, because it WILL get harder – especially for automotive users and automotive dependent people. The sooner we decrease that noose around our necks the better for everybody – including the auto-dependent/users.
  6. If you drive a car you’re probably fat (which I have nothing against). Statistically speaking this is true in the United States, so don’t get high and mighty (this raised entitlement is what I have a problem with) and think you’re better off than those on transit, biking, or walking to work. Because the FACT is, you’re screwing yourself over.
  7. At least HALF of all auto users are NOT paying their fair share of taxes to road usage. Just remember, you’re using something that is just as subsidized – if not more so – than transit or bikeways. So you Libertarians (which want all the subsidies to go away), Republicans (which want to keep subsidizing/socialized auto usage), and Democrats (subsidize everything, including auto usage for some reason…) keep that straight in your heads. Just remember ALL modes in the US are subsidized heavily these days and socialized through public funds.

A No Ride List Like The No Fly List

Seriously? I read this thread over on Progressive Railroading and it caught my attention. The write of the poll starts off with,

As I voted on the recent poll, should Amtrak start using a “no ride” list like the airlines “no fly” list, I was suprised to find that better than 10% of those who voted as of today voted no. No meaning they don’t think we need the same security and peace of mind on a train as we have on a plane. I find that very interesting.

Are you kidding me? I’m usually not aggressive about my retorts, but this guy has misplaced several KEY realities within the first three sentences of his query.

Let me explain something bout idiots first. Yes, I may sound like a completely mean, impolite person for saying it this way, but it needs written. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, no matter how smart is a complete tool and idiot if for one minute they think the “no fly” list or the TSA keep us safe and secure. You are a complete FOOL if you have some peace of mind about flying because of THESE reasons. See further explanation below of why you should feel safe flying.

To people that think we need a no fly list or a no ride list you’re blurring the line between a criminal and a citizen or any developed country having simple civil rights to be able to move between lands, cities, and places of interest. Should a private railroad be allowed to do this? Yes. Should Amtrak? No. It isn’t private. To pretend it is completely ignores the reality of its operation.

The reason above why I said you should feel safe flying is simple. The whole idea of terrorism has killed a negligible amount of people worldwide. Terrorists (whatever this ideal actually means is something held by the perpetrators of such ideas), have been amazingly inefficient at getting their points across or being effective in their murderous attempts at garnering attention. The statistics are in your favor, you ARE safe when you fly.

The other simple fact is that flying is the safest for of transportion on earth. I’d be hard pressed to say that walking is even safer, because it probably isn’t. Several thousand people per year die walking.

So when you fly, or think about curtailing the ability for certain people to fly based on an arbitrary and fuzy notion of “no ride” or “no fly” lists, think about the REAL reasons we’re safe. Not the stupid, inane nonsense that follows the hyperbole of the media and idiocy of our leaders. Fear sells, fear limits our lives, and fear is almost always completely unfounded.

Live life. See the world. Stop worrying about oppressing others.