Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Doubling Down on Bad Policy
Doubling Down on Bad Policy
President Obama in his State of the Union speech introduced his desire to supply the country with a $53 billion dollar high speed rail service. He hopes to use China as a pattern for the institution of this multi -billion dollar program. What has being ignored in this whole program are the major differences in our countries.
To begin with, China’s mass transportation system is in its infancy while America’s mass transit system has been in a constant state of evolution since the 1700’s. China needs a high speed mass transit system more than America does. Only 47% of their citizens even own a car, while China has now replaced the United States as the largest energy user in the world. China population is flocking to the urban areas while America’s citizens are moving in record numbers to the rural areas to avoid city sprawl and crime.
China is far more adept at welcoming a mass transit system than America is. China is in the middle of a massive industrial revolution, something we had some 220 years ago.
Obama forgets the massive expanse of Amtrak when the failing railroad giants were taken over by government in 1971 because the passenger transportation business had failed and had gone into bankruptcy. To avoid the failure of a “businesses too big to fail,” the government consolidated the different rail companies into one large grid work to be known as Amtrak.
Problems arose immediately, as the government became painfully aware that even this new entity couldn’t survive without an infusion of government money known as subsidy. This term only means one thing ……..they company can’t survive on fares alone. Our government has a rich history of rescuing companies that can’t survive the test of capitalism. Government always seems to know better than the citizens of what we need and when we need it. They never admit they made a mistake and continue long after the industry becomes a money losing situation. To this day Amtrak requires yearly infusions of tax payer money to supply a service that America as a whole refuses to support.
In the 80’s and 90’s the state of Maryland, under Governor Wm. Donald Schaefer requested funds from the federal government to create a Light Rail System. This system was expanded in the 90’s despite the fact that fares only covered 50% of operating costs. This becomes a social program rather than a mass transit system when the fares don’t support the operation.
To assume that we need a high speed mass transit system similar to China’s when our needs don’t even come close to mirroring China’s is yet another democratic party’s need to hire employees to build a project that nobody will use………there as only so many times we can dig a hole and fill it back in. We need to stop senseless spending on non-essential social programs.