Monday, July 21, 2008

Some People

Ok, so I got into a couple of interesting discussions with some guys today. Before my history class, I was talking to some classmates. I don't know how we got on the subject, but we started talking about parking. This is a normal subject that normally comes up with students. So, my classmate doesn't think that anyone should have to pay for parking. (!) So when he kept getting parking tickets, he refused to pay them. Finally, just last week, he got so fed up that he went into the parking ticket place and cursed them out, telling them what nonsense the bureaucracy is and how he didn't think he should have to pay, etc. Well, $300 later, he still doesn't think he should have to pay. (On a side note, he was shocked to find that I have not paid for a parking pass since my first semester, and that I just park off campus and walk a little ways. It is totally worth it; I get exercise, it is free, and I don't fight with people over spaces.) So then we got to talking about riding bikes to school, which isn't possible for him, but he could bring his bike in his car and park off campus and ride from there. He said he had a problem with crossing the street, he just doesn't like to do it. I told him that bikes are marginally more visible than pedestrians, depending on what you're wearing, and you could always get the big bright vest. Well, he didn't like that idea, he said that he refuses to do things like that, wear bright clothing, or helmets or wear a seatbelt. He said that he is a believer in civil liberties and he thinks that if you buy a car with your own money you should be able to do what you want in it. That means if you don't want to wear your seatbelt that is your right. I had to disagree with him. I am a believer in civil liberties. I just don't think that making seat belts mandatory is infringing on those liberties. Sure, when YOUR car is parked in YOUR driveway that YOU bought with YOUR money, you can do what you want. But once you take it out onto public roads, that taxpayers (including yourself, but not just you) have paid for, then that is a different story. Then you have to follow the rules put in place by the system that you participate in. The people who make the rules have been elected by the people, and their rules should be followed by the people. I guess when it comes right down to it, yes, you are at liberty to do what you want. Don't wear a seatbelt, but don't complain when the cop gives you a ticket for it.

And we didn't even get into who pays for the doctor's bills when someone gets into an accident, but that is a different story....

Later, in class, we were discussing transportation. This is not a new subject, in fact, Virginians have been debating it since Virginia was brand new. It is the same old story: who should pay for the roads? One of my classmates is pretty vocal about the subject. He seems to think that Virginians pay too many taxes: the gas tax is too high, the personal property tax is too high, it is all too high for him. What he doesn't realize is that VA has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country. This is what the problem is. We don't have money to pay for the roads that everyone is driving on. So what's the solution? Tolls? No, he thinks that tolls are also a bad idea. But when asked what the solution is, he threw up his hands and said, "I don't know. I'm not a politician." These kinds of people frustrate me. Where do they think money comes from? How can we pay for the things we take for granted every day. We all use the roads, someone has to pay for them. Tolls seem like the ultimate answer; make the people that use the roads pay for the use. But then, I don't think that is the entire answer. Go down to your local Food Lion, or Old Navy, and those goods in the stores had to come from somewhere. How do you account for that? Does the company have to pay a toll to use the roads? Or should some sort of tax be placed on the goods themselves? Oh, wait. I forgot. Taxes are bad, too. I guess there is no easy answer.


  1. Tolls, like the lottery and sales tax on food, are regressive in nature and I think they should be avoided. I think the real issue is not taxes, but spending. Roads are not glamorous. Elected officials tend to seek glamorous projects to help keep them in office (in power). The solution in my mind is not more taxes to pay for more "stuff", but less spending on things that government has no business being involved in. For example, municipal golf courses. Why do we take money out of the pay check of the guy working at McDonolds to pay for nice greens at the local course. Yea it is nice to have a golf course, but is it something government should be involved in? I think not.

    Bill Clinton was elected President with the slogan, "Its the economy, stupid." Well I say, "Its the spending, stupid."

    Chad (not Beth)

  2. To Chad:
    Ok, so you have a point. And I guess I wasn't saying that we need NEW taxes. We have enough already. My point was that this guy thinks we don't need ANY taxes. He thinks they all are bad. You have a point about municipal golf courses, and I'm sure that there are many other projects that taxpayers pay for that are simply ridiculous. You are right, cut spending, and then maybe we'll get somewhere. The problem with Virginia is that we have a huge transportation problem, and even if we cut spending to put money into transportation, we wouldn't have enough. So some think maybe let the private sector get involved (we need a new tunnel, it will cost a lot) and then use tolls as a way to generate revenue to maintain the new roads. I don't know. It may not be the best idea. But I do think it is the best idea that anyone has proposed.

    Thanks for commenting. I wasn't sure anyone even reads my diatribes, and I like getting a different perspective.