One Up, One Down

by

A couple of Yglesias posts that caught my eye.

One shows a chart of car ownership in 5 “wealthy, sparsely populated countries.”  Not surprisingly, Americans own more cars than the other 4 countries.  I’m not sure, though, how apt the comparison is.  My sense is that most of Canada and Iceland’s land area is uninhabitable; they don’t actually have “plenty of room for development to sprawl across.”  Not nearly as much as the U.S., anyway.  That’s definitely less true of Australia, but they do have a rather enormous desert.  And Ireland’s economic history over the past hundred years is so utterly different from America’s, it’s hardly surprising their transportation system developed along different, less individualistic lines.

So while I agree with his point that Americans own too many cars and drive way, way too much, I don’t think this particular chart is terribly persuasive on that point.

He did better in the other post that caught my eye.  He points out — or actually, quotes WaPo pointing out — that universal health care would amount to a large wealth transfer from blue states to red states.  In adding further nuance to that argument, he says, “In effect, there’s nobody in the Senate representing the specific interests of the large number of poor people in the deep south.”

Dang right.  And I’d add almost nobody in the House represents their interests, either.

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