Monday, January 14, 2008

Come On And Take A Free Ride

"It is the right thing to do to give your grandmother a free ride on a bus" says Illinois's Rod Blagojevich.

Not that he expects you to personally come up with the $90 it costs granny every year to get her reduced fair unlimited ride pass. In Illinois, charity most definitely does not begin at home.

What if your grandfather is a partner in a law firm, lives in Kenilworth, and drives a Lexus? He deserves free rides on the Metra trains, doesn't he? Why should he have to dip into his savings to come up with the cash for his daily commute to the office? And why should you have to buy the old man his rail pass? Isn't that up to the government?

When a politician swears to never raise sales taxes, and it's either eliminate expensive cronyism or raise taxes, you know the taxes are going up. Chicago's mass transit authority is known for wasting money on friends of friends. A pricey piece of real estate was sold to a friend of a friend for $1. Is it any wonder that there's not enough money to pay for the buses?

Wrap a tax increase in an emotional appeal and it can't fail. Problem is, Illinois voters aren't so stupid as that. They see the "free rides for seniors" program as the cynical political manipulation that it is.

Nothing is free. Someone is going to pay for granny's free rides, and it will be everyone who buys anything in the Chicago area. Sorry I can't help you out. I drive up to Wisconsin to shop.

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