04
May
11

Cars contra unemployment

I’m working on yet another post about public transit — this time in a somewhat less antagonistic vein — and struck upon an idea.  Consider the fictional metropolis of Rust Belt, somewhere in the Midwest.  Rust Belt’s public transit system isn’t terribly effective at connecting poor people with their workplaces, either because its Stereotypically Lefty municipal leadership converted most of the transit budget into environmentally-friendly light rail between the nice suburbs and the hip downtown core (runs on coal power from Ontario!) or because its Stereotypically Righty municipal leadership converted most of the transit budget into dubious property tax breaks for the nice suburbs and the hip downtown core (starve the beast!).  Therefore, poor people who want to work need a car to get to work, and poor people who can’t afford a car find their housing and employment options severely restricted.

What effect do you suppose the “destroy all trade-ins” clause of Cash for Clunkers might have had on Rust Belt’s unemployment rate, or for that matter the Gini coefficient of its local income distribution?  How about car safety regulations that require more expensive — and only dubiously effective — features such as automatic brake override?  Or maybe import tariffs that’re designed to protect the jobs that politicians love to attribute (rather sentimentally) to places like Rust Belt?

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anarchocapitalist agitprop

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