As the price of gasoline continues its upward movement I was listening to a CNBC segment this early morning describing the increase in the number of commuters taking public transportation in California. Jane Wells, one of the station’s reporters whom I love for her dead-pan delivery and versatility in covering a wide variety of subjects very professionally described her own commute to work.
To get to Universal City from her home she could spend an hour in her car and burn about $13.00 in gasoline or take public transportation which would take two hours and spend $20.50 for the first part of the trip and then have to transfer to another public conveyance at an additional charge (how much this would cost was not brought out in the clip).
Given these two choices, a four hour round-trip commute at a 60% higher cost or a two hour commute, how do you think most rational people would choose to get to their jobs? If you said, “fasten your seat belts” I think you’re on to something.
If you remember back to the time when the car companies were coming before Congress hat in hand and asking for funding from the American treasury (and ultimately the American people) so they could stay in business. There were hearings held both in the House and the Senate.
I remember something that Representative after Representative and Senator after Senator asked the CEO’s of the car companies. This was the question: “Did you fly or drive here for this hearing?” As they pronounced the words of this inquiry they turned to make sure that there was a full face-shot of their newly whitened teeth so that they could go home and tell their constituents how they had “socked it to the car companies.”
This was a stupid question asked by petty people. It was intended to embarrass and demean and at the same time to be self-aggrandizing. It was a question that is unworthy of people in whom we show our trust by electing them to govern the land. It was a question that was asked by people who either can’t do or the math or simply don’t understand it.
Based on their salaries, it would have cost the shareholders of each of the car companies more money if their chief executive had driven and spent an extra two days on the road than by paying for a first class round trip ticket. That’s the math. As things turned out, the bailout happened to “work out”. The Treasury should make a profit when all the dust settles.
Yesterday I saw this interesting article on how Presidents get to work. I thought I would share it with you and allow you to reach your own conclusions.