Feb 09 2011

High speed rail? Obama tries to turn economic lead into gold

Category: Congress,economy,government,humor,legislation,Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:36 am

Obama to call for $53B for high-speed rail


President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jumpstart job creation.

An initial $8 billion in spending will be part of the budget plan Obama is set to release Monday. If Congress approves the plan, the money would go toward developing or improving trains that travel up to 250 miles per hour, and connecting existing rail lines to new projects. The White House wouldn’t say where the money for the rest of the program would come from, though it’s likely Obama would seek funding in future budgets or transportation bills.

Obama’s push for high-speed rail spending is part of his broad goal of creating jobs in the short-term and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new spending on infrastructure, education and innovation. During last month’s State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

At the same time he’s calling for new spending on sectors like high-speed rail in the upcoming budget, Obama also has pledged to cut overall spending as he seeks to bring down the nation’s mounting deficit.

Well, to be clear, Obama only called for a “freeze in spending”…  a freeze at the ridiculously high levels he set in his first two years.  Only his sycophants in the press would call not raising spending even further “a cut.”

In any case, America is not Europe, nor is it Japan.  There is not now a demand for high speed rail, nor will there be anytime soon.  If there was a demand for it, private interests would be busy investing in it, expecting to make money from it.  Obama seems to have learned nothing from the subsidy infested mess that is Amtrak.

I propose a better way to spend the money.  He should invest in research in alchemy.  Turning lead into gold is probably impossible….  but maybe not.  And along the way, spending 50 billion dollars is likely to accidentally result in some real science getting done, something with at least “spin off” benefits, technologically and economically.

So lets hear it for alchemy in the federal budget.  That makes a LOT more sense, and is probably a better way to spend large amounts of money, than high-speed rail, which will continue to be a sinkhole for money even after it’s built, which will probably cost a lot more than anyone now projects.

Of course, we all know Obama has no actual hope of doing this.  He just brought it up to play to his lefty audience, who love anything that makes people get in lines and wait somewhere.  But Obama knows he has no chance of getting this through a Republican House of Representatives.  He’s just talking for effect, and public relations with his base.


Still…  maybe in trying to turn lead into gold, the scientists would finally discover cold fusion.




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