Friday, December 19, 2008

A Lesson in Economics

Recently, the proposals by the Ravitch Commission on how to save the MTA were attacked by numerous politicans in the area for being an "unfair tax" and as ridiculous ideas. Yet there is a reason why politicians always come up with even more ridiculous and nonsensical plans. As Second Avenue Sagas puts it, Assemblyman Micah Kellner and City Comptroller William Thompson suggested a new fee of $50 per year for a driver's license.

Therein lies two problems with their plan. The first would be that people who do not drive would be forced to pay eight times the amount for a form of ID. This may discourage people from getting or keeping their licenses, a threat not only to national security but also to themselves, should anything ever happen to them. And sure, in New York State, you could get a Non-Driver ID, but what if you needed to drive in an emergency or for a trip? Secondly, as Angus and Julia puts it, people would be more encouraged to drive to get back their $50.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for city and state legislators to make up their minds behind the Ravitch proposals before the public is outraged at having to pay more fares while getting much, much less service. The MTA board will vote on it in March 2009, with its enactment in June. Hopefully, by then, our elected officials will saddle up behind the plans that will truly save the MTA...and the riders and drivers.

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