Do bicycles in the US concern Japan? Maybe they should.

03-28-2010 Saidani

CyclistBewareMost everyone who is aware of the Obama administration’s campaign to demonize Toyota recognize the name of his Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.  Remember, he was the one who told everyone who owned a Toyota to pull over to the side of the road and stop driving it until it could be repaired.  Of course, after even the looniest leftist in the administration realized that LaHood was more than a little over the top with that statement, he backpeddled and wormed his way out of it by the favorite trick of politicians every where by stating he was misquoted or misunderstood or something similar.

Remember him now?  Well, you will be happy to know that embarrassing Toyota just did not go far enough to satisfy the crowd in the White House.  In a new initiative, announced last week through his blog (we missed that announcement but it must be because we were focused on healthcare…probably) by writing,

“Today I want to announce a sea change.  This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized.”

Wow!  A “sea change”.  We are not quite sure what that means but, then, we are not the Secretary of Transportation.

Actually, he promised the folks at the National Bike Summit that the administration would forge a policy to use transportation resources to build bike paths and walking paths during new road construction and maintenance projects.  That sounds nice and friendly.

But not so fast, says Carter Wood, a senior adviser at the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Treating bicycles and other nonmotorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe.   If put it into effect, the policy would more than undermine any effort the Obama Administration has made toward jobs. You can’t have jobs without the efficient movement of freight.”

Great, you say, but why talk about this on a site devoted to the Japanese economy and family?  Aside from the potential effect these kinds of things can have on the Japanese automakers, especially given the demonstrated bias against Toyota by the part-owner of GM, the US government, this story highlights a fundamental battle currently being waged around the world, including in Japan, between socialist liberals and, really, the rest of society.

Look for it everywhere, from trade unions pushing for more concessions from businesses and lobbying politicians for a “green” economy (whatever that is) to politicians spending more and more money on social welfare programs and “safety nets”.   No matter how earth-friendly and socially appealing these types of programs sound, there is always the bottom line about where the money will come from to afford these programs.

And the ultimate source of these funds will be from the average wage earner collected through taxation.  So before anyone jumps on the social program/green economy bandwagon, no matter how wonderful it sounds, consider the costs and remember who will eventually pay the bill.

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