Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Path To Socialism

So since the beginning of the year in my neighborhood, they have been building a bus lane and walking path. I think it was probably financed by stimulus money. The walking path has been open for about a month and I was just driving by on my way home from getting groceries, and it was packed with people. People on roller skates people on bicycles and people walking. And it was after sundown but the path is pretty well lit and with that kind of a crowd it was just about as safe as you could imagine. It was a little surreal, frankly, because this is the San Fernando Valley; we're famous for people not walking anywhere, under any circumstances.

It was, I think, sublime. All these people taking the opportunity to get a little exercise and get out of their apartments. Tomorrow perhaps they'll be a little thinner, a little less stressed, a little prouder of themselves.

This whole situation is, by a surprising number of American's definition, socialism. They paid their tax money so that OTHER PEOPLE could get exercise? Why don't they join a gym, and create some jobs? Why wasn't the land sold to an entrepreneur, so he could build a commercial walking path and charge people to walk on it? Maybe sell them ice cream sandwiches along the way?

No entrepreneur would take on that gig, of course, because it's far too expensive a proposition and there's probably no profit to be made from it. And you can ask yourself if the government should be spending tax money on something that it will never see a dime of direct profit from. Maybe if you're inventive, you can calculate the lower health care bills, the increased tax collections from people moving into the area because of the cool walking paths, and such but ultimately you'll never convince a skeptic with intangibles like that.

All I know is I'm happier living here now than I was last year at this time, because I have a safe route to bike to work on and I'm surrounded by people who are getting out once in a while. If tax dollars make my life easier and happier and healthier, I'm okay with paying them.

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