Friday, December 27

Bike Taxes, Media Bias, and a Slow News Day

This morning, checking "Google News," I saw, amongst the other headlines, one that stated "Bike Tax Proposed in Chicago." Digging down into the DOZENS of articles, such as herehere, here, or here, one read that a mysteriously unnamed Chicago Councilwoman made such a proposal that was dropped after further discussion. Each of these articles stated "A city councilwoman’s recent proposal to institute a $25 annual cycling tax set off a lively debate that eventually sputtered out after a lukewarm reception from the mayor."

NONE of these articles either named the government official, nor did they state when "recent" actually was. ONE of the articles, HERE in the Examiner, filed this under "News>Politics>Republican." Hmm, was some troglodyte Republican engaging in anti-cycling silliness? In Chicago? A Republican who was given anonymity by the vast majority of the media? Hmm again.

After CONSIDERABLE refinement of the search, I found out particulars of this major "news" item. Eventually, other ones turned up as well once I found out who and when the article involved. One of the better hits was a blog (of course!), HERE. It turns out is was a proposal last October, made by a councilperson, Pat Dowell, that represented the south side of Chicago. Republican indeed, though one rightist blog immediately and mindlessly cheered the proposal! If Wikipedia is to be believed, she is a very recent convert to the Republican Party, and they simply haven't updated their site in the last day or two. Unmentioned in all the mainstream media articles was that the tax was coupled with an education for kids.

As many times in the past, I'm reminded that:
  • Cycling is nonpartisan, though cycling advocacy is, well, not
  • Anti-cycling proposals come from any direction of the ideological spectrum since "Democrats" and "Republicans" sit behind the very same windshield in bipartisan unity
  • In a place like Seattle, apparently you can substitute "Socialist" for "Republican, as noted HERE.
  • The media mostly just regurgitates some "cool" story they pick up or see in other media without any attempt to find out the REAL story
  • Politicians seem to constantly forget the principle that says "tax and regulate" things you want to see LESS of and reduce same on things you want to see MORE of. Helmet laws also come to mind here
  • Slow news days really expose this sort of pap. TODAY was obviously a slow news day
  • I'd pay to support REAL education of ALL road users (cyclists AND motorists). I'm probably in a tiny minority in that regard. We really NEED motorists that don't need "lane keeping" and "adaptive cruise control" to keep them from running off the roads and killing the general populace. OTOH, as noted HERE, the whole purpose of licensing originated to help keep people from killing other road users. THAT seems to have gotten obscured in the years since...


Khal said...

Good thoughts, Steve. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

cafiend said...

Nothing ruins a good ride like running over tax.

Steve A said...

Certainly, overtaxing yourself isn't pleasant!

Justine Valinotti said...

Steve, this is one of the more relevant posts I've read on a cycling blog. It reminds me why I'm paying less and less attention to the mainstream media.

More to the point, it made me think about the "hidden" taxes cyclists pay. About the only taxes that motorists pay and we don't are the ones directly placed on the price of gasoline, automobiles and the paraphenilia of driving. Otherwise, we are paying the same taxes, some of which are used to fund highways--and keep gasoline prices lower than in most of the rest of the world--even though we may not use the highways or gasoline.

Justine Valinotti said...

Oh, by the way: Happy New Year, and thank you for a great blog!

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