Monday, January 19, 2009

Public Policy in the Market Place and Cycling

Part of my misspent youth was consumed being nurtured in the same bosom as Laffer's Supply Side Economics. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that when congress was first debating the CAFE requirements in the 70's I was convinced they could never work. Detroit of course was taking the attitude that the market "demands" gas guzzlers and that was all they could make.

Along comes the 1979 gas crunch and fuel costs are going through the roof. By 1986 the price of gas is less in real dollars than it was in 1979. Many factors caused that to happen and one of the major ones was the CAFE requirements imposed on Detroit in the late 70's. Americans were driving more on less fuel than before. Of course, by 2008, gas guzzlers were prevalent again, but that is another story...

What does this have to do with Cycling? Reading the blogs of Jolly Crank and Freewheel I get a real sense of the frustrations and obstacles that commuting cyclists have to overcome to do the socially responsible thing and pedal instead of drive.

Maybe it is time we apply some Public Policy in the Market Place to the issue of commuter cyclists. Since we would prefer folks ride instead of drive when ever possible, maybe it would make sense to require auto companies to create and dedicate a certain distance of sole use unpowered commuter ways for every 1 million gallons of gas consumption they sell? The more efficient the vehicles produced, the less commuter ways they have to create.

It sounds like a start.............

Monday, January 12, 2009

Your Vote Does Matter

Minnesota is in the process of finishing a lesson in civic responsibility.

Before the November election, "Da Kid" questioned whether it was worth the effort to vote since her vote "really doesn't make a difference". Of course we reminded her of Florida in 2000 but she responded with "yeah, but how often does something like that happen".

Well, it happened again here this year. Al Franken has been declared the winner of Minnesota's Senate race by less than 100 vote out of over 2,000,000 cast. He was NOT the leader going into the recount. Even if Norm Coleman eventually wins his court challenges, margin will be less than 200 votes.

WOW! We do make a difference.

(and no, I am NOT saying who I voted for!)