Skip to main content

Traffic Is A Disaster

If you needed proof that our political leaders are out of touch and ineffective you need not look beyond the single issue of traffic.  I now live in Los Angeles, which is world-famous for its traffic problems.  But I’ve lived in other urban places and I travel often and actually find that the traffic in LA is not much different or worse, and in some instances even better, than in most other cities.  Yet, having said that, traffic in LA is not great, and way too much time is wasted by its inhabitants sitting in their cars in a physically suboptimal state, away from their loved ones, and not producing anything much.


It might seem a bit odd to you for me to single out the issue of traffic as being the litmus test for political competence when there are so many other issues that dominate our headlines, and thus our consciousness.  Yet to me, traffic is about as important an issue as we have today in that it amounts to stealing time, which in the end is our lives.  Too large a percentage of people spend more than two hours per day in traffic, which accounts for about 15% of our waking hours.  Imagine how upset you would be if someone told you that your life would be shortened by 15% and instead of passing at 80 years of age you would expire at 68?  This is the effect of traffic, and this is why ignoring it and learning to live with it is completely unacceptable.

It may sound so obvious, but there is a direct connection between population and traffic.  What this means is that there is a direct connection between housing units and traffic, and what that means is that there is a direct connection between the issuance of building permits and traffic.  And, what that means is that our politicians have been asleep at the wheel or worse, allowing for the issuance of far too many housing building permits without first considering or even measuring the impact that the resulting increasing population would have upon those already living in the area, whose quality of lives those political representatives were supposed to be charged with protecting and enhancing.  It is actually amazing to me that I’ve not heard a single politician even speak about traffic as an issue.  Optimizing our quality of life ought to be the top priority for our political leaders.  It is up to us to be demanding.

Popular posts from this blog

Greed & Laziness

In this most contentious and fascinating of election cycles, when nearly each conversation leads to politics, and when polarization runs so high, I ask myself - what is the essence of the debate between left and right?  What does it really mean to be a Conservative or a Liberal?

Why Rates Must Remain Low

There is an old bond trader joke that I first heard in the 1980’s when I traded mortgage-backed securities at Drexel Burnham Lambert.  It went like this:  “Upon dying, Albert Einstein finds himself in what he is told is heaven.  He encounters another individual there and asks him what his IQ is.  When he is told that it is 175 he is overjoyed, knowing that he’s found an intellectual peer with whom he can share much.  Upon meeting another, he discovers that person’s IQ is 140 and is pleased to have met another highly intelligent person with whom he can enjoy chess and other pursuits.  He is feeling pretty good about heaven, when he comes across a person who tells him that his IQ is a mere 90, and he is flummoxed.  What, he wonders, is this guy doing in my heaven and what can I even say to this person?  Then it comes to him.  ‘Where,’ he asks, ‘do you think interest rates are heading?’”

CMBS In Flux

The CMBS market has been in a period of upheaval, with dramatic spread widening on bonds and a resulting much more expensive cost of capital for real estate borrowers who depend upon this channel for their debt financing.Market participants today wonder whether we’ve entered a period like the summer of 2011, when spreads on bonds last widened this dramatically and then snapped back within a year to provide tremendous returns for those who were courageous enough to purchase bonds at the time when there was panic selling.Or, people wonder, is this recent downturn a prelude to a structural or systemic problem, like what was experienced in 2007, when spreads widened and sucked investors in, only to punish those early responders with a much more dramatic price collapse in the next 24 months.