Friday, September 5, 2014

Of roads and redistribution

The major political issue in my town right now is streets.  Specifically, the city council wants to get the town off the treadmill of continual street resurfacing by investing in higher quality streets that will last a generation or more.  Naturally, this will require spending money, and consequently the local conservatives are losing their minds.

One of them wrote a letter to the editor of the local community weekly.  "What if I sell my house after 10 years, when we've just paid to put down 30-year streets?  What if I sell my house after 5 years, before they even put the new streets in front of it?  I'll have paid for something that I didn't benefit from!"

I just wanted to grab this guy by the lapels and get all Samuel L. Jackson on him:  "WAS THERE A STREET IN FRONT OF YOUR HOUSE WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT, MOTHERF**KER?"  Yes, there was.  The previous owner paid for that street, and they didn't take it with them when they left.  That's what it means to be an adult in a civilized society.  You benefit from things that other people paid for and, at the same time, you pay for things that other people benefit from.  Over time, it pretty much balances out, even if the way it does so isn't obvious at first glance.  For example, even if you don't have kids, you still benefit from paying for schools because it decreases the average ignorance of the people around you.  (Which I think we all agree is a Good Thing.)

With apologies to the people of New Hampshire, I sometimes wish the Free State Project would succeed, so that the rest of us wouldn't have to deal with these "rugged individualists," we could just send them to Coventry if they haven't gone already.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, good grief. :/ Yeah, some people are just begging for a good smack upside the head, which would hopefully jar a few brain cells loose.

    Jim and I had the same problem when we were living in a condo back in Long Beach. Our roof was like a shingly sieve, and badly needed to be replaced. Jim, who was the association president for a few years, was pushing to get it done right, with a high quality job that would last us at least 25 years, with a good warrantee so if something went wrong we could go back to the roofer. The people who thought condos were like apartments, where if something broke "the association" fixed it -- doubtless using the magic pot of money it kept under its associational desk -- were pitching fits at the idea of needing a special assessment at all, much less a larger one to get a good roof, as opposed to just repatching over the existing multi-layered crapfest we had over our heads. And yeah, there were people griping that they didn't have any leaks in their units, so why should they have to pay because other people had leaks? [more smackings] People should have to, like, write an essay or something to prove they understand how condos work, explaining how everything done to and for the building comes out of everyone's wallet. And how having a really low association fee isn't necessarily a good thing (we inherited a ridiculously low fee when we moved in, and Jim got hell for raising it by a small amount one time) because that just means you get more special assessments when things break. [sigh]

    Anyway, much empathy. :/