Today’s Headlines

  • Larry Littlefield

    Marty Markowitz is against bridge tolls.

    Be he voted for the 2000-04 MTA capital plan which caused the debt to soar, and the 2000 pension deal that (along with inadequate employer contributions in the 1990s) caused pension costs to soar.

    He voted for all the handouts and deals of the 1990s, as state and city funding for the MTA was cut off.

    He made no objection to all the fare breaks that caused the fare to plunge relative to inflation.

    He certainly made no objection to the non-decision not to restore city funding to the MTA when the city’s economy recovered mid-decade. How much of his discretionary capital spending has gone to non-auto transportation?

    Not to single him out but remeber: Marty Markowitz was a member of the New York State Legislature, and gladly participated in the destruction of our future as such, in exchange for being permitted to hand out small amounts of our money, as if he was a benefactor, for his concerts.

    They all did. They should be thought of and remembered for nothing else.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The solar industry is collapsing. No one cares.

    The government is now allocating capital, deciding which companies and industries grow and which shrink. And what is the principle by which it is doing so? The more you have, the more powerful you are, the more you get.

    Any “liberal” or “progressive” Democrats out there? This is the principle of your party. And the other party. Because it is the principle of a generation.

    http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/reuters/2008/11/12/ja-solar-cuts-forecast-sees-solar-panic

  • $3 fare: it would be painful but certainly preferable to service cuts, IMO. Perhaps a $3 fare will turn mass transit into a ‘pocketbook issue’ leading voters to force politicians to deal with it in a responsible way. Plus a fare hike seems more likely to generate an incremental mode shift to bicycling than service cuts, which would seem to me to be just as likely to shift mode toward private autos.

  • Streetcar manufacturing not a domestic industry? IHT: “The Buy American Act, which applies to most government purchases, required that 60 percent of a tram car, by value, come from the United States. Siemens, to meet the requirements, opened an assembly line in Sacramento to put together its trams for U.S. cities. ‘We are now at 70 percent local content, with a potential for 90 percent,’ said Robin Stimson, a Siemens vice president.”

    Car maker bailouts saving an indispensable domestic industry? Nope, says the News, they barely even qualify as car makers, and are far from indispensable: “When SUVs and trucks are excluded, Big Three offerings barely make the list of the country’s top 10 selling cars of the decade. None has been a top five seller.”

  • andrew

    Car Maker Bailout.
    From my understanding the bailout is to protect the pensions and jobs of the UAW. It has nothing to do with making cars.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “From my understanding the bailout is to protect the pensions and jobs of the UAW. It has nothing to do with making cars.”

    In lieu of assuring the future of Social Security and providing universal health care for those far worse off. We have a caste system, with two ruling castes, as I wrote on Room 8. The executive caste got their Wall Street bailout, and now some of the unions will get theirs.

    And then there will be no money “due to circumstances beyond our control.”

    BTW, I hear the casinos are hurting, and the porn industry is in recession due to the rise of free internet content. Are they next in line?

  • andrew

    But, I heard the cigarette industry is doing better

  • Larry Littlefield

    “But, I heard the cigarette industry is doing better”

    It’s a good thing too, because the city and state took all future revenues from cigarettes and spent them in the last recession, issuing bonds that we’ll have to raise taxes or cut services to pay back if people stop smoking.

  • t

    A toll on a bridge is not a tax. It is a direct fee for using a service. We call a subway fare a fare and not a tax because of the direct nature of the transaction: pay $2 and you get one ride. The same should apply to bridges.

    A tax is when money is taken from one source and directed towards another, usually unrelated party: sales tax goes to the government, not the Gap, when you buy a sweater. Income tax goes to the government, not me, when I get paid for work.

    “Tax,” is quickly becoming one of those words, like “freedom” or “maverick” that is losing all original meaning in the hands of politicians. A toll to use a bridge is a tax? Fine then. My subway fare is a tax, too. When subway “taxes” are increased to $3, ask Marty Markowitz if he supports tax increases for the majority of his constituents, far more than would be affected by tolling bridges.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Ask Marty Markowitz if he supports tax increases for the majority of his constituents.”

    None of our current and former state legislators are willing to allow any of their constituents to pay a cent more or accept a cent less than they are already getting, regardless of what happens as a result.

    Only a small share of those living in New York State are their constituents. There are probably more of their constituents retired to Florida than in the City of New York.

  • Larry, did you see Thomas Friedman’s column in today’s NY Times. A quote:

    if we are going to use taxpayer money to rescue Detroit, then it should be done along the lines proposed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday by Paul Ingrassia, a former Detroit bureau chief for that paper. “In return for any direct government aid,” he wrote, “the board and the management [of G.M.] should go. Shareholders should lose their paltry remaining equity. And a government-appointed receiver — someone hard-nosed and nonpolitical — should have broad power to revamp G.M. with a viable business plan and return it to a private operation as soon as possible. That will mean tearing up existing contracts with unions, dealers and suppliers, closing some operations and selling others and downsizing the company … Giving G.M. a blank check — which the company and the United Auto Workers union badly want, and which Washington will be tempted to grant — would be an enormous mistake.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/opinion/12friedman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin

    But I don’t know what this plan would do with existing pensions.

  • J. Mork

    Markowitz has also spoken out in opposition of subway fare hikes.

    (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/30/44/30_44hikefight.html)

    But that doesn’t mean that his opposition to bridge tolls is rational.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It’s easy to be against everything. But when Markowitz and the others voted “yes” over and over they were voting for the disaster we face now.