Bike Path Mania
By Alex Saitta
June 21, 2014
I have been reading the articles about the new bike paths and walking trails in Easley and Pickens. The cost of one ó the Doodle Trail -- is $4.5 million. These have been funded through state grants, local property and restaurant sale tax dollars.
A few points.
One, our roads are in terrible condition, and our leaders are spending millions more on bike paths and walking trails? It shows you how upside down the priorities of government are. Two, about seven years ago, the state added a bike lane to Highway 11. I travel the road all the time, and maybe 1 of out 40 times I see someone riding a bicycle. It is nice to have, but when you think of all the basic services that are in need, another bike path isnít how Iíd spend our next tax dollar. I drive through crowded downtown Greenville where you can barely squeeze your car through, and there they are, empty bike paths using up valuable road width that would better be used to give the traffic more breathing room. Three, why hasnít anyone in the press questioned Bike Trail Mania that is occurring in our state? The legislature gave cities the permission to raise taxes on restaurant sales by 2 percentage points if the revenue was used to improve tourism. Most all city councils then hiked the tax. The cities now have all this money coming in, and they are searching for ways to spend it on ďtourismĒ. Then stepped in the quality of life/ global warming types who want us to walk every where and ride a bicycle to work. It was a match made in heaven thanks to the state legislature.
Finally, total government spending is now 40% of the US economy or the highest it has been (excluding the World War II spike). Economic theory states as government spending rises, economic growth rates decline, hence income falls and the standard of living declines. Theory is proving to be reality as we are beginning to see a decline in the standard of living in some sectors of the economy has growth has downshifted a gear or two. The past decade annual GDP growth was the lowest it was since the 1930ís. It has started this decade off slowly as well. Q1 2014 growth was negative.
When I first talked and wrote about this trend in 2004, it was a prediction. Today, Iím just describing what is unfolding. You donít need to be a Ph.D economist to see where we are now and were we headed the next decade or so. All you have to do is look at Europe with its higher government spending rates and chronic, anemic and low-job-creating GDP growth rates to see our future if we donít reverse the expansion of government.