Letter published in the Economist, 9-15 October 1999

SIR - An ideal government, you say, would not hand out subsidies to the middle class. You are right of course, but predictably missing from you list of middle class tax beneficiaries are car drivers. Like many others, you have a blind spot when it comes to the car. "Free choice and the popular vote will keep the car rolling on" you swoon. There is nothing freely chosen about the way our taxes are used to construct and maintain miles of roads and the rest of the car's hideous infrastructure. It is our taxes that pay for the hospitals that patch up millions of the car's living victims, and for the military required to ensure continued supply of its fuel.

I never voted for this insane technology, which even in America, the most car-ridden society of all, is accessible only to 59% of the population. Contrary to what you say, we are not all motorists, and for many who are, it is because subsidised car drivig has made any other way of getting around expensive or dangerous. Free choice never came into it.

Ronnie Horesh

Wellington, New Zealand

To Social Policy Bonds homepage