Wednesday, February 17, 2010

...and illustrating another classic dud argument

Terence Corcoran's piece on George Smitherman and Rocco Rossi also provides the fodder for another in my series on classic dud arguments. Mr Corcoran the proposal by Mr. Rossi to "review" the transit improvements proposed for Toronto and the GTA:
Mr. Rossi wants to reform city financial planning and has called for a full review of the monumental Transit City plans for billion-dollar streetcar runs.
Here Mr. Corcoran provides an excellent example of the fallacy of hidden costs. Just because doing something has a price tag you can see, it does not follow that doing nothing has no cost either. The OECD has estimated that traffic congestion costs the economy of the Toronto area a billion dollars every four months. To focus on the "monumental" cost of building better transit while ignoring the steady hemorrhaging of time, money, resources and quality of life in an unending traffic jam fits the classic phrase "penny wise and pound foolish" perfectly.

Accepting a large cost in opportunity and time to avoid a much smaller cost in actual money: example number two in the series on of a dud arguments.

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