Mar 28 2010
One of the primary tell-tale signs that liberals are just not mentally capable of dealing in the real world is their fascination and distraction with silly feel-good ideas. In order to convince themselves they are as relevant as the real movers and shakers in the world (a group of which I am not a member) they boil life down to simpleton concepts, solve some inane and useless aspect of this fantasy world, then pretend anyone who doesn’t get their brilliance is evil incarnate.
Today we have some breaking news out of the Department of Transportation which illustrates this behavior quite nicely. The question has arisen as to what is should be a FEDERAL transportation priority, especially in these tough economic times with growing underemployment (of which ‘unemployment” is just one sub group of economic suffering). The answer from DOT was disturbingly “bicycles”:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a â€œmajor policy revisionâ€ that aims to give bicycling and walking the same policy and economic consideration as driving.
â€œToday I want to announce a sea change,â€ he wrote on his blog last week. â€œThis is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized.â€
â€œTreating bicycles and other nonmotorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe,â€ warned Carter Wood, a senior adviser at the National Association of Manufacturers. â€œIf put it into effect, the policy would more than undermine any effort the Obama Administration has made toward jobs. You canâ€™t have jobs without the efficient movement of freight.â€
Now I have to confess to having been bit by the bicycle bug when I taught our twins how to ride their bikes a few years ago. Prior to that I hadn’t touched my cheap Target-Special bicycle except to move it off the wall to get something in the garage. Now I have a medium priced hybrid by Specialized, lock-in shoes and a desire to get out and do 20-25 miles (minimum) a a couple times a week. We have outfitted the entire family with decent bikes so we can ride 20-24 mile round trip to have a meal in nearby towns. I am fortunate to live a short 2 miles along a scenic path to the WO&D trail, which provides me a 50 mile ride (round trip) to either Purceville in the hills of VA or to downtown DC along the Potomac river.
I have done both – once. Sadly I picked biking up late life and it is a struggle to undo decades of inconsistent exercise. I love biking (except when I am on my Yamaha 1300).
So while I am enthusiastic about more and better trails – this is not a federal priority. It is a waste of time and money. It is another case of the Obama administration doing nothing while pretending to be saving the world.
Bicycles will not move freight or large numbers of people over distances. They are fair-weather, leisure entertainment. America is too vast to commute like The Netherlands. Bikes are also quite accident prone. Unlike cars – where you can safely transport your kids to school and your baby to the doctor’s office – bicycles cause a lot of injuries. Injuries which require medical attention. Those of us who bike know of many stories regarding serious injuries going 10 miles an hour on a path where rocks and trees lay about waiting for their next flesh and blood victim.
Every dime and second wasted on this nonsense is effort not being applied to the real challenges of our economy. Bicycle paths are local issues to be dealt with using local money. LaHood has no business messing with topic and ignoring America’s issue #1 – JOBS!
And I mean good jobs, not ‘get by’ jobs or ‘multiple part time’ jobs. I mean career jobs.
February was an interesting month on the job front. A grand total of 16 states still have unemployment (U3) above 10% (NJ was able to drop off this list recently). 26 states are still running over the 9% unemployment mark President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid promised they would stay below if we passed their Economic Stimulus Package back in February 2009.
The stimulus bill was another liberal fantasy that failed to produce results as predicted by anyone living in the real world. Government is too bloated and lethargic to ‘stimulate’ anything, proven by the fact over 85% of the “shovel ready jobs” money is still stuck in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy.
Worse yet, February had 8 states hitting record high unemployment rates, 9 have had records since the stimulus bill passed. LaHood’s bicycle madness is not going to help that little statistic. A look at the worse 17 states in the nation shows very little if any change in the trajectory of the economy using unemployment as the metric.
Click to enlarge image. The dashed light blue vertical line is when the stimulus bill was passed, the solid horizontal line is the 9% level the liberals promised we would never breach. But unemployment (3) is not the only metric we have. Underemployment (u6) is another valuable metric, and it is inching upwards again and now sits at 16.8%.
U6 includes the unemployed and those in substandard situations (e.g., Â part time jobs to get by, etc). No hint of recovery here either. Not sure how bike paths will turn this around.
If there was a recovery under way, we would expect to see other indications as well, such as the rolls of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits starting to shrink. No such luck.
The EUC rolls have sky rocketed since the stimulus bill was passed, adding around 4 million people and reaching nearly 6 million in total – a tripling of the rolls. That is the real, measureable result of the stimulus bill: Â a big fat nothing.
What is shrinking is the work force, as a percentage of total population.
The only reason we have not seen greater unemployment is because the U3 metric doesn’t take into account the fact people are just dropping out of the work force all together. Â Unlike the above ratio, the number of people in the country is not dropping but rising. The only way to see the above results is for fewer and fewer of us to find work and we just give up. If we corrected U3 for this phenomena our unemployment would be closer to 11% instead of the 9.7% it rests at now.
When we look at the economic damage done over the last year by the liberals taking this nation down the dead end and useless path of government spending, and we recall their fixation with controlling our private health care and doing to it what they did with Medicare and Medicaid (both bankrupt now) it is pretty bad.
But LaHood’s pronouncement that the end of personal powered transportation is over and now DoT is going to focus like a laser on bike trails and lanes just underscores how insane the people in DC really are. My only suggestion to this madness is we provide the current Mad Hatters in DC a rental bike to move their sorry asses out of DC come November.
That would be very green of us, IMHO.