Sunday, September 27, 2015

Who Pays The Toll?

Paid toll solutions are popping up on the freeways and bridges all around the greater Seattle area these days.  This weekend I-405, the thoroughfare that moves traffic along the east side of Lake Washington, was closed from Friday evening to midday today to re-stripe the roadway.  The new arrangement will have paid toll lanes in both directions.

Paid toll lanes on a public freeway seems a curious solution for a Progressive place like Seattle.  If you want access to the fastest path on the road, you must pay, a-la-carte.  The fees that you pay will vary based on an algorithm... potentially varying every 5 minutes.  Hard to budget that kind of a cost.

Isn't this discrimination, by the state, of those who happen to live at the lower end of the economic spectrum?  People with the spare cash to (a) pay the bill and (b) absorb whatever that fee might happen to be are able to get where they are going faster and with less stress than those without the same economic resources... but everyone paid for that road to be built in the first place.

Seems this would also set up a perverse incentive for the government, too.  Building less efficiency into the non-toll lanes would drive more usage of the toll lanes.  Increased congestion in the toll lanes would allow the algorithm to bump up the usage fees.

Would be curious to hear thoughts on how these tolls actually promote equality...

** Update **

One wonders how long before a city/state/federal program starts to subsidize the cost of GoodToGo passes for those with qualifying incomes...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shut It Down

All of a sudden the "government shut down" issue is showing up in commentaries across the blogosphere again.  One would think the lesson of the past efforts had been learned: nothing is accomplished but gaining publicity for some cause... for a few brief moments before everything is restored, back pay is settled, and the media takes control of the message again.

Wish the politicians would try something that, if it happened to work, would be more impactful.  Like shutting down the federal Department of Education, or maybe the EPA.

A guy can dream...

Monday, September 21, 2015

So... Why Not Try Freedom?

China, having failed to successfully achieve the communist dream-state, some time ago decided to start pursuing gross materialism, adopting many of the tenets of capitalism while avoiding any of the complicated morals that might complicate authoritarian rule.

Apparently that isn't working out.  So now China is trying to re-introduce the traditional culture and values the communist party worked so very hard to wipe out: WSJ: Why China is Turning Back to Confucius. ... while again working to maintain authoritarian rule by a small minority.

Anything but freedom and liberal democratic principles...