Attack the outsider — the first resort of the unarmed arguer.
My Townhall column praising Washington State anti-tax activist Tim Eyman raised the ire of Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat. He insinuates that it’s easy for me to like Eyman, for I never need to “catch the late boat after a Mariners game,” since I live in Virginia and Eyman’s initiatives affect the Evergreen State’s ferries.
Westneat complains that a voter-approved Eyman measure reducing car taxes took away the main source of subsidy (he doesn’t use that word) for Puget Sound’s ferry system. Turning common-sense responsibility on its head, he writes, “instead of levying a tax across a broad group (all car owners), as we did pre-Eyman to help pay for ferries, the costs now are increasingly heaped on a narrow group — the ferry riders themselves.”
Horrors! People paying for what they use!
Westneat seems to be into financial irresponsibility. “Yes, [the system] wastes money sometimes. What big organization doesn’t?” Nice dismissal of the incompetence and corruption in a state-run biz that cannot even account for its cash.
When the ferries were taken over from private business by the state, it was, he says, because of the previous owners’ “usurious 30-percent fare hikes.” Not mentioned? This followed the cessation of Seattle’s wartime shipworks, and a huge decrease in demand.
Some folks sure apply basic economic insights selectively. Dispersing costs, concentrating benefits? That they idolize. Economies of scale? Their arguments run aground.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.