Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Media logic.

Here we have an article by Mr. Don Cayo of the Vancouver Sun today.  I couldn't pass this one by.  Its just too illustrative of the kind of drek the MSM serves up as commentary.  Way to go Mr. Cayo.

He's reporting the findings by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that taxes make up 1/3 of gas price at the pump.  Which they do.  The title of the piece is "Our gas prices are shocking -- they're far too low"

"A third?" I said when I saw the figure. "Is that all?"

I feel this way because the amount falls far short of what Canadians' love affair with the car actually costs our citizens and the economy.

Ok, here we go.  After the usual litany of PC offenses the humble car makes against humanity, he comes up with this beauty:

Driving-related taxes -- not just gas taxes, but also taxes on vehicles and repairs, licensing fees and the like -- add up to more or less enough to cover direct driving-related costs, such as road-building and maintenance. But if you subtract the general taxes like GST and PST -- which apply to everything else, so why should driving be an exception -- the revenue for government falls well short of the expenses.

And if you toss in the massive externalities -- the cost of car-related injuries and deaths, of productive hours lost to congestion, of health and economic losses caused by noxious and greenhouse gases -- then the extent of the free ride for car drivers starts to become clear.

Indeed, if the car hadn't been invented a century ago, there's not the slightest chance it would be allowed to be built today.

Can you imagine how a regulator might respond to a proposal to introduce the automobile now? I fancy the conversation would go something like this:

"You say that these new-fangled 'automobiles' will kill 300-400 British Columbians -- as many as 3,000 Canadians -- a year, and they'll injure tens and tens of thousands more? That they'll trap people for hours on end on roads, and tie them up so badly that Greater Vancouver alone will lose half a billion dollars a year, give or take, in forgone productivity? That they'll spew gases which may collect in the air and make vulnerable people sick in places like the Fraser Valley, and they'll become the biggest single contributor to global warming?

Clearly they do not teach logic in journalism school.  Or perhaps they do and Mr. Cayo is just being more biased than usual. 

Picture this headline:  Appendectomies kill hundreds annually! That's not even a lie, I'm sure a hundred or so people die world wide on the table or due to complications from appendix surgery.  Can you imagine how a regulator might respond to that?  If he had half a brain he'd say "well, but how many people die from burst appendix every year?"

This is a favorite rhetorical trick of some "journalists", they just cut off half of the cost/benefit ratio and then rage on about the cost part.  In this particular case we are treated to the spectacle of Mr. Cayo preaching in support of taxes to Canadians, who have nearly the highest level of taxation in the developed world.

Next up, the di-hydrogen monoxide threat.  It kills hundreds every year!  Deadly chemicals in our food!!!!  Run away!

The Phantom

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The humble car? You must be joking..or maybe a bit stupid. Haha. Either way, it's funny.