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Taken for a Ride

by on December 1, 2009

The skanky unpleasantness involved in using public buses has been well-documented.  But waiting for a mapped-out ride on the proletariat chariot is now an even more tedious activity: patrons have to deal with the government’s sales pitch.  That’s at least true if a few shelter ads I’ve stumbled upon offer any indication of a typical wait.


First, this promotional bill is helpful for riders not aware that it is considered rude and filthy to aim sneezes at others.  Although I was never exposed to such anti-germ propaganda as a child, I was lucky enough to have been taught said hygienic skill in Catholic school kindergarten.  But that was approximately one thousand years ago.  Society has learned since then that we shouldn’t attempt to convey any information without federally-sanctioned assistance.


So, we end up with sponsored notices teaching children how to sneeze properly, cover coughs, and wash hands.  Oh, and you’re paying to spread these life lessons: as noted in the lower right corner, this placard is the work of the CDC.  It seems like Center employees should be more concerned with rounding up a couple million more flu shots than sharing life skills.  On the other hand, can we risk having parents show their brats how to avoid spreading germs?


New York State is naturally in on the act, too.  Specifically, there’s also this poster that recruits parents to enroll their children in “New York State sponsored health insurance options.”  It’s listed as a project of Child Health Plus, a program which serves as a way for the state to involve itself in the health system.  But nobody’s opposed to it, of course: we all want kids to be healthy.  You don’t hate children, do you?


On the other hand, wickedly heartless conservatives could point out that vacuuming a portion of paychecks to fund such programs actually creates more poverty to combat.  It’s a solution that exacerbates the problem.  Even more sinister is how such ads get families accustomed to entitlement.  There’s an immense difference between making such a program available to the truly needy and actively endorsing it via advertisements.


The result of pursuing the latter course is an undying welfare state.  In turn, those currently in office attempt to portray themselves as the only ones capable of managing the ensuing ominous administrative programs.  The other option, namely that big-Albany backers actually think they’re helping the populace by pimping out state-funded health care, is dangerous no matter how righteous the intent.


It may be quaint to advocate eschewing government assistance in favor of encouraging the needy to turn to the sort of churches that taught me proper sneeze-covering technique.  But pushing for private support and/or personal reliance is apparently out of the question.  Instead, the government shills for itself.


If we’re collectively paying to send a message to commuters, students, those without vehicles, and sundry dregs, the government could at least put forth a usefully stirring propaganda message inside waiting areas.  Alternately, they could forego such marketing efforts altogether and instead let us keep the money.  Federal and state agencies could leave selling to businesses.  The NFTA could in turn focus on attracting revenue from companies eager to publicize their “Decorum” and “Respect.”

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