I hate to break this to Matt, but has he seen the pricing at New York’s garages recently? Drivers would kill for the opportunity to pay $5 an hour. Matt lives in Westchester and therefore doesn’t pay New York City taxes, but he still seems to think that New York City should subsidize the cost of his jaunts in to the West Village for dinner. But even if Matt were somehow deserving of such a subsidy, which he isn’t, it’s a false economy: it might feel good to be able park for cheap, but it feels much worse to be stuck in traffic all the time. And the overwhelming majority of West Village diners manage to find a way of eating there which doesn’t involve a parking spot. Why should they subsidize Matt’s parasitical suburban lifestyle?
One I have long speculated about is something like “sticky expectations.” It seems that some modern consumer goods (particularly electronics) are improving at a rate that drastically outstrips people’s ability to psychologically adjust. Today’s iPod would have been worth $10,000 or more as a consumer good 10 years ago. I am still partially psychologically identical with the person who lived in that time. So when I go out and drop $150 on an Ipod I cannot really afford, I feel a lot better about the decision than I normally would because in my mind some of that residual $10,000 valuation remains. So it activates some of the “this is a tremendous deal, act now” circuitry in my brain even though it is not, at present, actually a deal. On the other hand perhaps people have always been this prone to over-consumption, and thus “this increasing rate of improvement in goods effect” is a theory explaining a phenomenon that doesn’t exist.
That is interesting….I mean I remember when plasma TVs cost 20,000 dollars, and in my lifetime I have bought 3 or 4 of them.