He threw down the gauntlet in the post just below (Civilized Society). It was written for the PW blog but I repeated it here so you could read it conveniently, and then these comments, and then his response which he claims he already has written (I’m so predictable.)
Sorry Pete, but fair is fair – I don’t believe that the government should provide services to some, but tax all the same for them. We should be able to decide if we want to pay for health care, and then get what we pay for. Why should the young pay the same amount us old foggies pay, when I see a doctor every three months and they see one every three years. (They should buy very cheap catastrophic insurance and then change as they need to.) Ok, we’ll continue that argument another time, but it’s germane to this one
You would have every service that provides something from the government have “free” parking. Does this mean that the Hollywood Bowl, which has a grant, a very large grant, from LA County, should provide “free” parking. How about when I visit city hall, watch the Dodgers play or in fact, go to UCLA, or the County Fair? What the hell, how about the Beach? The county pays to keep it clean, life guards, and the rest. Why not free parking there?
Feeling sorry for the sick doesn’t make them better. Providing free parking doesn’t help either. Check out what happened when we gave free parking to disabled parkers. Suddenly there was no parking for disabled; the spaces were stolen by cheats who used bogus permits to park for free. Exactly the same thing happened at hospitals in the UK, particularly in urban centers. Free parking was taken by locals who were visiting the high street stores, and there was no room for doctors, staff, or patients. In some cases ambulances couldn’t get to the ER because of cars parked “free” everywhere.
Solve the problem by charging for parking. It’s difficult for me to believe that parking costs are so onerous that someone owning a $25000 car paying all the road taxes and $6 a gallon gas and insurance can’t afford to park it when they go to the doctor. Who knows, maybe if they charged to park, they could afford to lower the taxes in the UK. If they took the money from the parking and provided better parking service, perhaps a coffee bar in the lobby of the hospital, maybe a lady with a cart bringing tea around, and told everyone this service was paid by parking, I’ll bet the folks in the UK would say it was a great idea. However they take the money and suck it into that gaping maw known as the general fund and it’s never seen again.
When you charge for something, people think about whether to use it or not. If you charge to park, some may decide to car pool, or take the bus, or whatever. If there is a horrible problem, the hospital can elect, on a case by case basis, to help. It’s called charity, and we do it all the time. I just don’t understand why this is such a big deal, but I’m sure you will tell me.
Oh, as for me being a Visigoth and you being ‘civilized,’ I guess one has to begin to understand just what ‘civilized’ means. By my definition, it means that each person is required by society to work and provide for him or herself. If they cannot, for whatever reason, it is society’s responsibility to help out, just as private Americans and companies do to the tune of billions every day.
It means that if I work hard, and study hard, and focus my energies, I can do most anything. The only responsibility of the state is to stay out of my way. The moment they step between me and my customers, employees, vendors, neighbors, and the like, they begin to make it, bit by bit, more difficult for me to do what I need to do.
Come off it, of course we needs laws and courts, but we also need common sense. The goal has to be to do the LEAST required to allow me to succeed, not the most. It’s the “urban elite” that believes that they know more than I as to how to live and where I should drive, and how much I should pay to park. If you think they do such a good job, take a look at the urban cores of most of our cities.
As for free parking, it isn’t free, and yes, as you said, everyone pays. I just say that only those that use the parking should pay, just like those that go to a ball game, or a concert, or visit city hall.