A Rule of Thumb

One objection you often hear to pro-transit, pro-walking, anti-driving measures is a social justice argument that these measures will hit the poor hardest. In fact, as this Kevin Drum post makes clear poor people do relatively little driving. They differ from middle class and wealthy people in that utility bills take up a very large proportion of their income.

Not only should this specific point be remembered, but one should also recall as a general rule of thumb that if you see a large, powerful, well-organized lobby citing the needs of the poor as the rationale for something or other they're almost certainly full of it. In the real world, poor people have extremely little political clout and anything that's attracting a lot of political attention is almost certainly doing so because it's of concern to the non-poor.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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