I’m just a cab driver.
But unlike the current GOP front runner, even I know that the debt ceiling is about paying back the money congress has already borrowed on Americans’ behalf. And I know that there is no “option C” to either bailing out Bank of America or letting them fail in the next (post Glass-Steagall) financial brink. (Sorry Ben Carson, but the laws of physics don’t allow you to move millions of account holders’ trillions of dollars to “another tier” of banks in the midst of a collapse.)
But the laws of physics don’t seem to apply to this week’s GOP free-for-all…
In San Francisco, where I have driven a taxi for five years running now, I have traversed these streets and borne witness first hand to a transformation into what could easily be confused for the Industrial Revolution.
From the neo-robber baron likes of Uber and Lyft shifting all liability for public safety onto unregulated numbers of a new and desperate subcontracted workforce – while playing middle man to their sub-prime car loans, to the Ayn Rand-ian Airbnb bosses shelling out $8 million to defeat a proposition that would have limited the ability of housing supply-strapped San Francisco to turn rent-controlled units into for-profit hotel room… er, “shares”. (Thereby significantly exacerbating the city’s limited supply of housing stock.) And this, after good money was spent on a snarky ad campaign demanding a pat on the back for remitting their meager $12 million share of taxes – after a pesky, previous dumbed-down regulation forced Airbnb to pay.
And the list of underpaid, under-regulated “gig” workers goes on…
From the view from my cab, I have seen the numbers of homeless pitching tents on the streets of San Francisco increase greatly over these five years. And I watch in awe as their demographics shift. These disenfranchised are no longer limited to the ranks of junkies and the mentally ill. Legions of freshly evicted families and minimum wage workers housed in clean tents with kempt encampments now proliferate. Where did their housing go? Surely Airbnb could not have secured all of that housing stock. Surely Uber and Lyft piddling out $9/hour post-expenses to their driver “partners” aren’t fully culpable. No, it is a war on the working class on all fronts. Just Google it.
As tens of thousands (now >5% of SF) wait for waves of private, wireless-equipped tech buses to pull into public bus stops (at the cost of a dollar a day) to comfortably ferry them forty miles south of a city to which they only recently moved, the gap between rich and poor has blown “don’t be evil” wide. From this front, where rent-controlled units are turned condo to sell off to the new tech-moneyed masses, bicycle shops beg for workers and an historic shortage of teachers abounds, all now cite an overly familiar refrain: I simply cannot afford the Bay Area on a non-tech salary.
The answer, per the GOP “debate”?
Wipe out all regulations and cut all taxes.
It would seem that some did not open their eyes when they passed through San Francisco to pick up that check from those moneyed interests that have gamed the system so well to this effect. It would seem that some GOP candidates did not get the memo that the jury has been back for years: In reality, Trickle Down is a misnomer. In the real word, it’s Trickle Up.
No Ben Carson, the unemployment rate actually falls after the minimum wage is increased.
No Ted Cruz, undocumented workers are actually huge benefactors to the big government teat.
No Marco Rubio, welders actually make nowhere near philosophy majors with college degrees.
No Bush Number Whatever, no president (outside of China) will achieve 4% growth under the current conditions of automation, lax regulation and global trade. (And that email, my friend, has left the server.)
And no, no, no Donald Trump and the rest, cutting taxes would actually INCREASE the deficit!
We have seen this movie over and over again, over decades. There are metrics. But there are political hopefuls who seem to have other passions, facts be damned.
Apologies for the cliche’, but those who would ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
Oh, excuse me…
From the looks of the family I just passed camped out under the 101, it’s too late.
Stuff THIS in yer stocking! San Francisco TAXI: Life in the Merge Lane… (Book 2) out now!