Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio were the least carpool-friendly states with about 83 percent of workers driving alone. Washington, DC and New York, whose residents rely largely on public transportation, were the most carpool-friendly states, at 37.2 percent and 53.7 percent.
Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg propsed a plan to make all crosstown buses in New York City free. Of course, nothing is free to everyone.
Dan Ariely, Duke University behavioral economist, explains why this is a bad idea:
In order to speed up the pace of Manhattan’s famously slow crosstown buses, mayor Bloomberg suggested eliminating the $2.25 fare on a few of the buses, as it would put an end to all the time passengers spend fumbling for their MetroCard and cash at the bus door. It would mean free bus rides for all, but without much additional cost to the city, he reasoned, since the majority of crosstown passengers are already riding for free, using their MetroCards to transfer from the subway. If we aren’t charging folks anyway, it’s not a big money loss, is the gist of his claim.
In short: win-win.
Except, there’s a flaw to his argument. If bus fare falls to zero, it’s likely that more people (many more people) will start riding the bus, which will lead to even worse congestion and potentially require the city to spend on introducing more buses.
In other words, mayor Bloomberg is harboring under the assumption that demand for the cross town bus will not change as the price drops. In all likelihood, however, the number of bus-riders will go up dramatically because free is exciting. In fact, according to our research on free, such a change will cause many people who now walk a few blocks, to switch their ways and hop on the free bus.
Data released this week from the shows the average American state spent $9,666 per pupil in 2007, a 5.8 percent increase over 2006. New York State’s public schools spent $15,981 per pupil in 2006, more than any other state.
After New York, the states that spent the most per pupil were New Jersey ($15,691) and the District of Columbia ($14,324). Tennessee ($7,113), Idaho ($6,625) and Utah ($5,683) spent the least per pupil.
Here are the full rankings:
Julie Bosman of the New York Times today wrote a very interesting piece. It begins as follows:
They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).
They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).
The Bloomberg administration, which has struggled with a seemingly intractable problem of homelessness for years, has paid for more than 550 families to leave the city since 2007, as a way of keeping them out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. All it takes is for a relative elsewhere to agree to take the family in.
New York City reportedly spends $500,000 annually on the program, and none of the aided families have returned to shelters. If the city in fact saves money, is this an appropriate program? Its appropriateness, of course, depends on if you believe the government should host shelters to begin with.
Federal agents swept across New Jersey and New York on Thursday, charging 44 people — including mayors, rabbis and even one alleged trafficker in human kidneys — in a decadelong investigation into public corruption and international money laundering.
The article continues,
The probe includes a bizarre sideshow: the alleged trafficking of human kidneys, a lucrative, illegal industry and not one that’s typically showcased alongside political shenanigans.
In the course of the investigation last year, Mr. Dwek [a real-estate developer who became an informant after being arrested on bank-fraud charges in 2006] came into contact with an alleged organ trafficker, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, and told him Mr. Dwek’s uncle needed a new kidney, according to court papers. The two men discussed how Mr. Dwek would pay a $160,000 fee to buy a kidney from a donor in Israel, documents show. According to the complaint, Mr. Rosenbaum described himself as a “matchmaker.”
I will not advocate breaking the law, but I will advocate making the law consistent with both freedom and societal circumstances. When a black market develops, whether in organ sales, drugs or the like, it is generally a mark of inconsistency between society and its laws. Often the black market itself becomes more dangerous than the trade the government originally outlawed. This is the case with most black markets –drugs and organ sales included.
Consider if this was a true story, as is often the case. What if Mr. Dwek really did need a kidney to save his uncle’s life? If all partners in the transaction–the kidney donor, Mr. Rosenbaum, Mr. Dwek, and Mr. Dwek’s uncle– voluntarily entered the transaction, there should be no objections. No coercion would have been used and everyone would have taken part in the transaction to gain something, in some cases health in others profit. In the end, however, everyone should be contempt otherwise they would not have entered the transaction in first place. This being the case, the government has no right to intervene.