Monday, March 30, 2009

How do you spend your money?

I've recently resigned myself to the fact that you can no longer find a decent pair of shoes for under $22 dollars. When even Target and Payless have prices outside of the $15 range, you might as well pay a little extra for something that will last longer and not exacerbate your knee problems. Ok, Target's shoes can be pretty good, but Payless is just not worth it. My recent examples: the business-like pumps whose heels wore down to a slant after only a semester of Sunday church outings, and the cute flats I bought in October whose fabric is already coming unglued. My $50 black Sketchers pseudo-sneakers, on the other hand, are well-worn but still wearable 3 years after purchase.

I've decided that my little footwear analysis justifies splurging on some supportive shoes for grad school. The Winterthur fellows told us that museum tours mean being on your feet a lot, so I'm trying to strategize accordingly without breaking my "living simply" budget.

Why can't governments be choosy about their spending? For instance, today marks the beginning of Metrolink service cutbacks in St. Louis. Fortunately for me, this only means more waiting around on train platforms. My afternoon 60 North bus line no longer exists. Luckily there is another bus route nearby that will now run more frequently. I only have to adjust my commute a bit, but some people have lost their way to work. Bus travel is already difficult and even expensive for NFNF moms, but these cuts have made it even harder for them to make ends meet.

While I understand that times are tough and we might need to make the trains run less often, I also feel like the whole affair was handled poorly. Back in November, a referendum gave voters the unfortunate choice between expanding or contracting transportation services. Of course St Louis County residents vetoed the idea. They didn't want more tax dollars to go toward something they use only for sports events. Outrage at wasteful Metro spending in the past blinded some voters to the fact that good public transportation helps city residents lead productive lives. If "city people" can't take a bus to work, they're more likely to stay on government assistance. Usable public transportation is a worthwhile investment.

Oh wait, look, the feds are willing to pay for local needs sometimes. Today I discovered a grant
"to control, reduce the spread of, and/or prevent invasion and establishment of noxious weeds on public lands within the Boise District using the most economical, appropriate, and effective weed control methods available. This funding will allow the counties to treat BLM lands at the same time as private, state, and/or Federal lands thereby increasing the potential for successfully controlling or containing the entire weed infestation."
At least we're keeping Idaho's ragweed and crabgrass under control.

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