Where’s That In The Constitution?
“Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a group of reporters at the National Press Club on Thursday that he wants to “coerce people out of their cars.” (emphasis added)
“In Newsweek magazine last week, nationally syndicated columnist George Will published a piece critical of Lahood, entitled, “Ray LaHood, Transformed--Secretary of Behavior Modification.”
“He says he has joined a ‘transformational’ administration: ‘I think we can change people's behavior,’” Will reports that LaHood said over lunch.
“LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Peoria, Ill., has become a champion of using the Department of Transportation and federal transportation spending to get people to take trains, busses, and ride bikes instead of driving cars.
“At the National Press Club on Thursday he attempted to respond to George Will’s column and to explain his vision for using the power of government to change people’s transportation behavior and to change the nature of American residential communities.”
To fully understand what LaHood is talking about, turn to this Heritage Foundation Backgrounder by Ron Utt who wrote:
“President Barack Obama's early comments on his opposition to suburban sprawl and his intention to alter the way Americans live and travel took a step closer to reality when he created an interdepartmental initiative on housing and transportation costs. A March press release issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new interagency partnership to create "affordable, sustainable communities."
Utt then identifies the partnership’s goals, describes liberals’ anti-suburban bias, and how those goals would be furthered. He also provides some rather stunning numbers:
“In 2006, the most recent period for which data are available, the federal subsidy for public transit amounted to $165.61 per 1,000 passenger miles, while automobiles earned the federal government a $0.93 "profit" per 1,000 passenger miles, in large part because federal fuel taxes paid by motorists are used to subsidize other projects, including transit.” (emphasis added)
In conclusion, Utt writes, in part:
“Despite the broad scope of this new DOT-HUD partnership, the press release announcing it was long on euphemisms and slogans and offered little or no substance as to what it intended to accomplish beyond the enhancement of existing bureaucracies and greater data manipulation. Nonetheless, the euphemisms it did embrace belong to those who want to force dramatic changes on how Americans live their lives.
“While some may hope this effort is nothing more than the President's attempt to use the White House as a bully pulpit to encourage Americans to mimic the urbane lifestyle he experienced in an upscale Chicago neighborhood, the record of past such efforts by the federal government is more troubling.”
For more on what LaHood is up to, read George Will’s column from the May 25 issue of Newsweek, which was referenced in the above CNSNews.com article. Will’s concludes:
“Once upon a time, government was supposed to defend the shores, deliver the mail and let people get on with their lives. Today's far-seeing and fastidious government, not content with designing the cars Americans drive to their homes and the lightbulbs they use in their homes . . . And to think that Republican Ray LaHood, Secretary of Behavior Modification, is an enthusiast for this, well, cozy relationship between Washington and Peoria, and everywhere else, too.”
The American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson opines:
“I applaud the Secretary's honesty, as I deplore the elitist mentality that seeks to coerce Americans.”
Oh. By the way, there is even an Arlington County connection to all of this. At the county's website, the Grand Poohbahs want you to fork over $5 to for a DVD of the 52-minute video of their “smart growth journal” featuring a:
“tale of political wheeling and dealing, visionary planning, missteps and challenges (that) is a glimpse into the recent history of Arlington, as told by many who were there.”
Save the $5, and if you must, watch the video online.