Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Infrastructure Spending and Conservatism

According to McClatchy:
The federal interstate highway system is showing its age, and, faced with the cost of repairing all those bumps and cracks, some states want to ask motorists to pay tolls on roads that used to be free.

That’s the last thing a public that’s paying $4 for a gallon of gasoline wants to hear, and elected officials, from members of Congress to President Barack Obama, aren’t likely in an election year to propose that motorists pay higher gasoline taxes or tolls. But many transportation experts and officials agree that if Americans want to drive on good roads, they’re going to have to pay more for them, or do without.
Hogwash. That's a false dichotomy. There's another option: how about we spend gas tax money on roads and bridges and not social programs, and do without some of the social programs that breed intergenerational dependence on failed government programs? Just a conservative thought.


pseudotsuga said...

That's crazy talk, Darren. Why would we spend GAS TAX money on ROADS, like the governments SAID they would? And think of the children you are hurting by taking away all the money they deserve, just so they can have a good life like yours!!!

Anonymous said...

The whole point of social programs:
"See, I'm giving you all this money! My evil opponent wants to take it away from you, so vote for me!"

mmazenko said...

Well, it's a Republican thought, for sure. "Conservative" is doubtful, for the same "false dichotomy" accusation that you reference in the article.

A Burkean or Kirkean would argue that conservatism is about preserving and sustaining the foundations of traditional society. To argue that gas tax money only be used for roads is a rather narrow accounting issue, as opposed to the state using its revenue to ensure stability. Burke could easily argue the social programs that have helped the weakest avoid extremes of poverty are every bit as foundational as "infrastructure" as a highway - and one need not be excluded for the other.

For, society might be at greater risk for dissolution and decay from extreme poverty than it would from potholes. Which one is greater risk for revolution? Which one is greater risk for instability? Or is "which one" even a conservative question. Most likely not.

maxutils said...

Gas tax money, at least in CA is earmarked for road improvements . . .not to say that our legislature hasn't come up with ways around that. On the other hand -- as always, earmarked taxes are inherently inefficient; toll roads, even more so. Combine that with the fact that any sales tax or flat fee (like a toll), especially on a good with relatively inelastic demand (most driving is either commute or transportation of goods, and cannot be avoided easily) and you have quite possibly the worst tax ever implemented. As always -- you're better off taking it ALL out of income, priortizing, and stopping when you run out of money. That way, people know how much they are spending and it's easier to hold elected officials accountable.

Darren said...

Mazenko, such a belief structure (and associated arguments built around it) certainly allows you to have whatever social programs you want, Constitution be damned.

mmazenko said...

Oh, the appeal to higher authority ... with no reasoning whatsoever. Why doesn't that surprise?

Like I said, Republican. But few in the GOP would recognize Burke, Kirk, Disraeli, or any other conservatives.

Darren said...

The only appeal to authority I see is yours. You string together a few names and try to pass that off as an argument. Sorry, I just don't buy it--so little, in fact, that I don't see any need to refute you point by point. Sorry if that offends you, but there it is.

mmazenko said...

Ha! That's funny.

The "I'm not going to dignify that with a response ..." response.


Darren said...

It seems we think equally as highly of each other's responses.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Oh Darren, try to appreciate Mazenko's dilemma.

The old scams aren't working any more so he, and all lefties, are trying to clothe the old scams in new togs in the hopes that they'll pass muster one more time. So redistributionist policies, i.e. inciting greed for political gain, get a new, spring wardrobe as conservative policies. Burke, being long dead, isn't inclined to argue with the appropriation of his name or the misrepresentation of his ideas and Kirk isn't likely to care.

Like a good advertising professional, when the product's no longer selling and you can't or don't want to bother improving it materially, you try to manipulate public perception.

This is the All New and Improved SOCIALISM 2.0! with the new ingredient, CONSERVATIVISM XG-7!