Ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed, there have been people fighting to repeal it, arguing that it will raise the cost of pizza, and the “individual mandate” made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (and survived). The Individual Mandate was a controversial piece of the legislation, in short requiring that everyone carry health insurance or pay a fine for not doing so.
I was thinking about a trip I’m making to Wichita later this month and how my options are limited on how to get there. How it seemed like government policy over the years, starting with the “greatest public works project in history,” the Interstate System, is considered one of government’s greatest accomplishments, but how it has ended up reducing funding available for other forms of transportation, thus requiring Americans to own cars to make it from place to place even within their own city boundaries.
And it makes me wonder.
Is the automobile the original “individual mandate”?
Prior to the rise of the automobile, streetcar systems existed, municipal buses ran frequently, and pedestrians and bicycles were accepted and expected on streets. Once the car began taking over, the streets became less hospitable to non-motorized transportation and the cries of public transit not funding itself often drown out those that understand that the highways also don’t pay for themselves.