This is a somewhat contrarian blog entry, and yes, it is about transit.
Libertarians are about a serious lack of control. Something I strongly wish the Federal Government would take to heart, for the sake of transit and cities. Socialists have the opposite attitude, and want a very hands on Government, which locally and in cities I find to be a very positive and good thing. As long, of course, that this socialist Government at a city level is for and by the people. Here’s my reasoning.
First the Feds & Libertarianism
The Federal Government, in the United States and other places for that matter, suck at knowing much about local issues. The Federal Government is famous for wanting to make everything cookie cutter for every place, every locale, and not allowing each place to exist as it is. In the United States, the Federal Government has been largely responsible for encouraging a perpetuation of suburban expansion through very socialist policies (wealth redistribution, public roadways, large scale zoning encouraged everywhere, etc).
In Portland and Seattle, two cities that pay far more federal taxes than they ever get back, suffer because of Federal Wealth Redistribution through roadway construction, welfare, and other notions. In reality, the cities would be much better off without the Federal intrusion into individual’s coffers and incomes. I’ll add more about this in a minute.
Now for Socialism at a Local Level
At a local level, in a city, socialism works. Why does it work? Easy, it is the way people behave in the first place. We are a social animal, and we work together to achieve larger cities, greater inventions, new thoughts, and expansion of the human experience!
In Seattle and Portland especially, the cities basically pay for their own infrastructure plus the surrounding areas infrastructure. That includes thousands of miles of roads and such that expand far past the edges of the city. That’s fine, and those roadways have existed and would exist without Federal intrusion. It’s because cities will work together for connections, just as they do within the city itself.
What would this give us? If we achieved this split among Federal, State, and Local Politics? What would happen if cities actually could keep 100%, or even just 60% or 90% of that revenue that flows out? Here are some thoughts about that…
- Cities like Portland and Seattle would have even more extensive infrastructure (as they did 100 years ago, per capita, we’re pretty weak in the infrastructure department these days).
- Portland and Seattle would have happier people, less cars, and more livability than they do (and they’re not doing bad as it is).