As a fellow sinister person, I can tell you that this is exactly what I experience any time I sign a document or take notes on paper.
The graph above comes courtesy of Transportation for America’s recent comprehensive survey. Of course, I’ve been writing quite a bit this month about our road systems, urban living, and the effects commuting can have on our lives, and according to T4A, it looks like the vast majority of Americans can at least agree on one solution: better mass transit.
Of course, when you say “mass transit” a lot of people in our part of the country think about dirty buses with smelly hobos urinating on the seats and/or trying to karate-chop you.
The reality, though, is that mass transit is whatever we fund it to become. As American’s, we’ve been fed the “lure of the open road” and “the ultimate driving experience” in 30-second highlight clips for decades. We could all probably name some features that we consider “must-haves” in an automobile we were looking to purchase (power windows, sun-roof, cruise-control, seat warmer, cocktail mixer, etc), but how long would you have to think to come up with a list of must-have features for mass-transit?
The charts above and below show that a lot of people agree that mass transit is a good idea, especially if we put our tax dollars to fund it. I don’t know the math behind federal funding for mass transit, but I’m sure it could benefit from some of the programs being used for endless highway build-outs.
More than four-in-five voters (82 percent) say that “the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved transportation system, such as rail and buses” and a solid majority (56 percent) “strongly agree” with that statement. This is a widely held view with overwhelming majorities of voters in every region of the country and in every type of community. Fully 79 percent of rural voters agreed with the statement, despite much lower use of public transportation compared to Americans in urban areas.
When asked about reducing traffic congestion, three-in-five voters choose improving public transportation and making it easier to walk and bike over building more roads and expanding existing roads (59% to 38%). […]
These same respondents would prefer to almost double the allocation to public transportation, saying that 37 cents of every federal transportation dollar is what they think should be the norm. Fully 59% of the electorate cite some amount that is greater than what the federal government currently spends (18 cents or greater). (source)
Think about it, we’ve debated health-care and lack of insurance and how hard it is for working class Americans to get the things they need in life over-and-over-again for the last year. Here’s a solution that can attack a basic factor in the problem: Make it easier for someone to get to work/school, and they can use it to get to a better place in life. Instead of addressing the symptoms, let’s attack the disease.
Some nifty graphs and a quote from TreeHugger:
To start off, here’s a great graph from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine showing the Food Pyramid that we’re all familiar with, compared to the Federal Subsidies. So here we have the Government telling us we need to eat healthier, while at the same time empowering a system that does not support their own public ideology.
So, is this a case of competing governmental agencies undermining each other? Well, here’s another graph that’s pretty telling:
Now just looking at the trends, it’s clear that at some point in the 80’s Fruits & Vegetables started become more expensive than cookies, and soda is the cheapest of all.
So if you have X food budget, are you going to buy the healthy foods, or the cheaper, sweeter, tastier foods?
Clearly, self-control and responsibility play huge roles in what we do, but how hypocritical is it to subsidize the industries that clearly don’t need it?
I’m sure there’s a lot Michael Pollan could explain about why this trend is happening, but I’m sure there’s something each of us could do to make a personal change. For myself, I’ve switched out normal snack food for whole almonds, and don’t really miss a thing.
Here’s what TreeHugger had to say about it:
In a classic case of contradictory government policy the above pyramids clearly show the inverse relationship between federal government agriculture subsidies and federal nutrition recommendations. Originally published in 2007 by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in Good Medicine Magazine to outline the committee’s concern about the impending farm bill. The graphic recently resurfaced in food security circles and found its way to the Economix Blog @ The New York Times.
The original PCRM article explains the regulatory discrepancy that results in an obese nation.
The Farm Bill…governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products–the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs–including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.