Wednesday, November 19, 2008

MTA cuts service, yanks up rates... But Bail out GM!!

Ready for an off-the-cuff rant?

MTA in NYC is shutting down crucial train lines and considering increases in fares. Ridership has been on the rise and people have been paying more as the result of recent raises in fares, yet now they are going to receive less service. The problem is that the MTA is badly strapped for cash.

Meanwhile, GM is about to fold. The company owns factories that build motor vehicles. It employs a huge workforce who stand to lose their jobs and massively increase the ranks of unemployed which will in turn drastically take another hit on consumption, not to mention devastating a large part of Michigan.

Congress is considering a bailout of the auto-industry, by simply throwing money (on the order of billions of dollars) at the ownership in an effort to keep companies afloat.

What the fuck is going on?

Throw money at public transportation, nationalize GM and use the factories to build buses, shuttles, trucks and other vehicles appropriate to building public infrastructure. Build cutting-edge hybrid cars that can be sold internationally, and use all returns for reinvestment and expanding employment, rather than enriching ownership and investors.

Why should the most widely and heavily traversed public transit system in the entire country rot while we use taxpayer money to save a private firm who manufactures gas-guzzling personal vehicles? Keeping jobs for workers is the only crucial consideration here.

Of course, the popular argument coming from the anti-Union Rightists is that its the UAW's fault that GM is in bad shape: what we need is to put all of the workers out on their ass and then force de-unionization on them in order to refound the industry on more exploitative premises without the problem of having to pay workers pensions or benefits.

We need to build a lot of things right now... cars shouldn't be top on the list. Particularly when public transit is in such bad shape. With the money they are proposing to give to GM, they could very well invest in public initiatives that could employ people as well as build much-needed infrastructure and satisfy public needs.

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