IBJOpinion

MARCUS: Is suburbia the root of all evil?

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Morton Marcus

Roberta Righteous, the conscience of the Indiana House of Rep-resentatives, was on the phone.

“Phony,” said Myrtle my muse. “You’re not on the phone and Roberta Righteous doesn’t exist.”

“That’s none of your business,” I shouted, annoyed by her interference with my creative process.

“Whatever you write or think is my business,” Myrtle purred, trying to get on my good side. “You have no creative process, you have only me.”

“I need to get this column written,” I pleaded. “I’ve been sick and don’t have the energy to fight with you this week.”

“Well, honey,” she said, “just use one of your old columns. No one would know the difference. You have only two or three themes, anyway.”

“What kind of muse insults the object of her attentions?” I asked.

“The kind who really cares,” she teased.

“I was going to write about how much sense it makes for governments to charge user fees instead of raising taxes,” I said.

“Perfect,” Myrtle sighed. “It will be your third column on that subject in the last year.”

“It’s a recurring issue,” I said. “However, our Indiana attorney general has declared that school districts cannot charge for bus transportation. He thinks it’s unconstitutional because somehow, in his imagination, student transportation is necessary for education.”

“To which you say?” she asked.

“Once upon a time,” I replied, “school transportation eased the journey of farm kids going to school. Today, it’s a massive subsidy for suburban kids whose parents have chosen to live far from a school in a place without sidewalks. It makes all taxpayers ante up for the location preferences of parents who don’t mind bellying up to the public trough.”

“Are you serious?” Myrtle said.

“Absolutely,” I insisted. “Parents move to remote locations, constructed on the cheap without sidewalks, because they know that in this state we’ll subsidize anything that increases the value of farmland. If the schools will pick up the kids for free, then the parents are more interested in living outside the town limits and the farmer gets more money for selling his land to a developer.

“It’s all part of a vast suburban conspiracy,” I said.

“Conspiracy?” Myrtle asked. “Is there a grassy knoll in this?”

“Look,” I said, “who causes the congestion on urban roads?”

“The Department of Transportation,” Myrtle suggested.

“No, that’s not fair,” I said. “INDOT is just trying to correct problems created by suburbanites. Why do I-69 and I-65 coming into Indianapolis become so congested? What clogs I-65 going into Louisville or U.S. 41 headed to downtown Evansville? Why was the Borman in Lake County such a mess before it was widened? Suburban commuters cause congestion. Not trucks, not tourists, not soccer moms.

“What’s the solution? Congestion fees,” I said, answering my own question. “Let those who use the roads at peak hours pay for the privilege. It’s technologically simple and ultimately fair.”

“Then you agree with the Central Indiana Transit Task Force that there should be toll lanes on such roads,” Myrtle asked.

“No,” I said. “There should be tolls on all lanes during peak hours. The toll lane is an easy, but temporary, solution. In fact, I would encourage Indiana to convert all limited access highways to toll roads. If you want premium service, you should pay for it.”

“Isn’t that harsh?” Myrtle asked.

“Listen,” I said. “Why should our hospitals offer private rooms? If a person needs a private room for health reasons, OK. But private hospitals decided to make premium service standard. They make more money that way. We all pay for premium service through higher insurance premiums or taxes when it is needed in only a few instances.

“Our politicians should imitate the private health sector if they want to raise more revenue. They won’t do it because they’re too timid to follow the implications of their own rhetoric.”

“OK,” Myrtle said, then gathered herself together. “Looks like you got your column, and without Roberta Righteous. Now go get some rest.”•

__________

Marcus taught economics for more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of IU’s Business Research Center. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mmarcus@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Angela IS the best RD

  2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

  3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{grouponfunding@hotmail.com}

  4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

  5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {frankloancompany@yahoo.com} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{ Frankloancompany@yahoo.com} for help

ADVERTISEMENT