ocschwar: (Default)
I live in Boston. I need to be able to get from A to B.

To do that, many years ago I sat down and took a government run class on how to drive, and then a government run written test, and then a government run practical test to make sure that I can handle controlling a fast moving 2 ton machine without killing anyone. (Which I can, [livejournal.com profile] zenala's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.) Having done those, and having paid the government some fees along the way, I was issued this card with my picture on it, and nowadays other biometrics, that I can show to people to prove that i am allowed to drive. Which I have too renew every 10 years.

Then comes getting a car. I can only get one of a make and model deemed street legal by the government. I then have to submit paperwork involving the vehicle's certificate of title to get the damn thing put in my name, and get the car inspected regularly to show that it can be driven safely. The car is marked with a number ont he front and back just in case I misbehave with it, and makes it easier for the government to track my whereabouts should they feel the need to.

I have to carry insurance, which has to be from one of the companies the government allows to offer me insurance. Or, I can put up money in escrow, in a bank authorized by the government to fill that role.

And that card I carry? Since I carry it, all these people are accustomed to make me show it for various things. So I need it to board a plain or an Amtrak train, or to get a hotel room, which makes this thing an effective internal passport for travel within the United States.

All in all, a big, hefty, expensive package of bureaucratic entanglement. What's worse, is that it's full of subsidies. The fees I paid to get my license are not even enough to pay the salaries of the examiners who looked at all this paperwork. The gas tax I pay to fuel the car is not enough to answer for the wear and tear on the roads I drive on. All the rest comes from other taxes that I have to pay whether I drive or not. And, even though I have to carry $25K in insurance, I know that if I injure anyone with my car, he will run up way more than that in hospital bills, which he cannot pay, and I cannot pay, and sooner or later the government will pay when the hospital comes cap in hand asking for a bailout.

So all this costs me time, and money, and aggravation, and yet is heavily subsidized.

My other options are to ride the MBTA, where I charge up cash on a card that is not linked to my name and then get going. Or I can bike.

So which of these options is most supported by the libertarian Cato Institute? Why, driving, of course, Because it's emblematic of American freedom.

What gives?
ocschwar: (Default)
Ontario's power utility is offering money for people to put a switch on their air conditioners so that the utility can turn them off at times of peak load.



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