Anthony Weiner: Shoulda Stayed Off Twitter, Kept On Twaffic

June 2, 2011

By now, the travails of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)--and the photo of a bulging male crotch in gray underwear that may or may not be his, which he may or may not have Tweeted to a young woman--are far too well known.

This article is not about that.

It's an editorial to express our disappointment at Weiner's position on the proposed congestion charge whose goal is to reduce traffic through Manhattan, fund mass transit, and generally make traffic and people move more efficiently through New York City.

His website says he's against a "big government, regressive tax," which sounds reasonable enough.

That refers to proposals that have been raised by traffic planners--and then immediately shot down by elected officials in the thrust and parry of ugly NYC politics--to charge a fee for access to Manhattan below, say, 60th Street during weekday business hours.

Raising the price on a scarce commodity for which you cannot increase supply (in this case, road capacity) is simple economics. It has worked wonders for London. There, like New York, traffic volumes had swelled almost continuously for a century.

But while a minority of Weiner's constituents own cars, they are vocal in their horror at any measure that might cost them money even while cutting the amount of time they spent on notoriously hard, lengthy, grinding commutes. 

We won't go into all the policy issues here, but while our New York City-based staff had largely respected Weiner before, they are now officially disappointed in him.

Not for the underwear shot, though.

With the advent of cheap digital cameras and smart phones, a remarkable number of Americans of all genders, colors, ages, shapes, and elected offices seem to have them floating around.

We are disappointed in Weiner simply because we would have expected better Twitter skills from such a seemingly smart man.

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