On a lighter note--an economic question
This is from an IT magazine I was browsing:
"Every year, Americans waste 2.3 billion gallons of gas idling in traffic. At today's prices, that's a $6.2 billion wallop in the nation's pocketbook. Figure in 3.7 billion hours of lost productivity and the gridlock tab tops out at $65 billion."
We see analyses like these about lost productivity and lost dollars everywhere, but it seems to me that they misunderstand the cyclic nature of our economy. That "6.2 billion dollar wallop" went right back into the pockets of the oil companies, who employ hundreds of thousands of workers--so from an economic standpoint it was good for their pocketbooks.
Assumably it also led to more purchases at gas stations, more purchasing of CDs and DVDs to watch/listen to while stuck in traffic, and more car repairs. In fact, I bet you could make the argument that traffic is pretty darn good for the American economy. What it's not good for is the American psyche, as almost everyone hates being stuck in traffic, or the American environment, as cars pollute. But, you wouldn't have an article if you conducted the analysis this way, right?
This is what's wrong with people's arguments against being taxed (at all), as if tax dollars simply disappear when they leave our paychecks. Now, this is not to say that we shouldn't be taxed less, as we definitely should; or that our tax dollars could be used more efficiently, as they definitely could; or that our government isn't a sprawling bureaucracy that could stand a lot of trimming, as I wish the RepubliDems would stop expanding it (and their salaries) every year.
Tax dollars are just like those dollars listed above: in fact, I bet you could do a pretty sweet PhD thesis on the returns people in different occupations get on their tax dollars. Just as some states, like those in New England, get more transportation money back than they're taxed, so I bet certain people get more "value" out of the things their taxes pay for than others. Those who drive more get more money out of the roads; those who are healthy get less out of the health care system; those who work for giant farms get money from subsidies.
One man's inefficiency is another man's job.