Monday, December 09, 2019


Budget hawk Op/ed from Kansas City's most prolific transit activist . . .

Clay Chastain: Better transit - not free transit - for Assistance City that is driving out middle class with high taxation.

Welcome to the new Kansas City - the land of "Assistance" and its associated high taxes and middle class flight. If there is truly no "free lunch," the liberal democrats controlling Kansas City wouldn't know it.

Once upon a time KC (and America) generously provided assistance to those who were truly poor because they were disabled, aged or unable to work. Then came a rush toward even more local generosity...magnificent multi billion dollar Magnet schools, completely subsidized housing and now free rides on transit (streetcars and diesel buses). Even the rich have gotten in on the assistance act with tax-abated... luxury hotels and condos, glittering office towers, mega entertainment name it. Who are we kidding? Giving unnecessary assistance to rich developers only makes them greedier. Giving too much assistance to the poor only makes them needier. Sticking the middle class with the entire bill only makes them angrier. Not a winning formula.

The rich should never get assistance for anything. As for the less well off, assistance should be carefully administered so as to not create a perpetual class of people dependent on others for their free lunch.

Jesus said we will always have the poor, but that everyone should work and do their part ("Render under Caesar's what is Ceasar's"). That is because, working (earning it) elevates an individuals self esteem, gives them dignity and helps create a healthier functioning community. But, rampant assistance (too many free lunches) is undermining pride and work ethic in our population which in turn is dragging down our country. In Kansas City, rather than giving all kinds of assistance to those who could work, the City could say no but offer them an alternative...go to work ($15 an hour) for the City (taxpayers) cleaning the City of litter and trash as well as keeping storm drains clear. This way, not only will the poor feel they earned their pay and middle class taxpayers feel they are getting a service for their tax dollar, but the City also derives a direct benefit.

The transit controversy in Kansas City is another case where bright well-meaning people are proposing dumb harmful things. We are about to make our already monstrously inefficient 100 million dollar a year baby - the ATA's unpopular, stigmatized and inefficient diesel bus transit system (used by only 7% of residents) - 100% subsidized by making it free to ride. Middle class taxpayers can now add to that (their) $100 million a year tab another $10 million a year for free bus service plus another $15 million a year for tourists to ride the novelty streetcar system. The poorer the transit system the more assistance it requires. And once you've made it free, you can never go back unless you change it. We need to help those that are truly poor with their transportation costs. We don't need to further burden the middle class with a very costly 100% subsidized public transportation system dinosaur. So change it, we must.

Kansas City would be wise to invest in a new rapid, modern and environmentally-sound transit system (now being proposed by the "Green Transit" petition initiative) designed to generate multiple benefits to pay for itself including...attracting high levels of new paying riders, creating waves of new economic growth across our City, reducing transportation costs (while helping people get to and from jobs), creating new (market-driven) affordable housing around new transit "Greenways" and attracting back to the City new middle class residents and businesses that will beef up our tax base and lower our taxes.

If Kansas City abides a wasteful backward transit system and continues to fork over more and more "assistance" for it (and other unrewarding and undeserving projects), we will find ourselves in a long decline with fewer and fewer middle class taxpayers left to pay for it all.

Kansas City Activist, Clay Chastain

Developing . . .


Anonymous said...

The only voice of reason, oddly enough. I originally thought he was a nut but he is correct. Yes better transit, not free transit. Soon the earnings tax will either cease to exist or those earning the earnings tax will cease to exist.

Anonymous said...

You can't get better transit than what they had 100 years ago with the rail system around the metro.

Anonymous said...

So he's a racist AND a moron?