Archive for Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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

February 9, 2011


— 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 jump-start 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 mph, 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 funding for 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. The White House has said environmental programs for the Great Lakes, and block grants for community service and community development are among the programs that will face cuts.

But it’s unlikely the cuts Obama proposes in the budget will be enough to appease the GOP. Republicans now controlling the House have promised to slash domestic agencies’ budgets by nearly 20 percent for the coming year.

The White House has said cuts must be cautious, arguing that drastic reductions in spending could cause the still-fragile economic recovery to stall. Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday the administration wouldn’t compromise when it comes to spending on the infrastructure, education and innovation programs Obama is touting.

“We cannot compromise. The rest of the world is not compromising,” Biden said in Philadelphia at an event announcing the high-speed rail initiative.

Obama’s call for increased spending on high-speed rail projects is nothing new. He’s long seen the sector as an area of opportunity for creating jobs and improving the nation’s transportation system. His administration awarded $10 billion in federal grants for high-speed rail projects last year, including $2.3 billion for California to begin work on an 800-mile-long, high-speed rail line tying Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles and San Diego; and $1.25 billion to Florida to build a rail line connecting Tampa on the West Coast with Orlando in the middle of the state, eventually going south to Miami.

Obama also laid out a plan last summer to invest $50 billion in high-speed rail, as well as highways, bridges, transit and airports, adding it to the first year of a six-year transportation bill. Congress didn’t act on the proposal before adjourning last year, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he’s confident lawmakers will take up the measure again and deliver a bill to Obama by August.


Liberty_One 4 years, 8 months ago

Public works spending causes unemployment, not more jobs. See Great Depression for an example. Barack Obama = Herbert Hoover, and I'm afraid 2011 is going to be just like 1931, which was the year things started to get really bad.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

"See Great Depression for an example."

Where should we look? Is it hiding behind a bush?

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

No. I called you wrong on your facts, but I'll change that to willfully ignorant, since I also provide a link that explained where you were wrong.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Hardcore libertarians want to pretend that the government exists in some parallel universe, and any money that goes into it disappears into the ether, when, in fact, government is very much part of the economy, and any money it collects is immediately spent. And in that respect the money that it circulates/recirculates is completely identical to money spent by the private sector.

But the whole problem with moneyed economy is that once the money stops flowing, essential goods and services stop being produced, which starts a vicious downward spiral, and businesses have a tendency to sit on their cash in such a cycle, which just compounds that downward spiral.

US businesses are doing that just now-- they are sitting on over $1 trillion in cash, because they see it much more in their interest to sit on it, or use it to move their operations overseas where the operational costs are lower.

Deficit spending by the government can pick up the slack created by the failure or inability of the private sector to keep the flow of the economy going.

pace 4 years, 8 months ago

the ccc camps helped a generation gain needed skills which has served this country better than a billion cuts to corporate taxes. You have no sense of the value of education and training.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

He got his education on the taxpayer's dime. And now he doesn't want to pay for anyone else to do the same.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

You are aware that there are private and for-profit schools, yes? I'd think someone with real passion about Libertarianism would have gone to one of those, totally unsubsidized, even if it took years and years of labor in order to earn tuition. Otherwise, it looks a lot like you're just another mealy mouthed hypocrite.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

You went to college when you were 10? Really? I'd have thought you'd get a scholarship for that.

Oh, wait, you're just a convert who has decided government money is bad after you've used bunches of it to go to school. And doesn't want to expand the public library even though you heavily used it. I see how it is. I'm also guessing you'll come around on your position about Social Security once you qualify.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

Correlation does not imply causation.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

"Public works spending causes unemployment." So from this, it looks like we should further investigate the relationship between the two before coming to blanket conclusions.

What do you think the further investigation should be? I think the problem with using history is that there really is no comparison. The US has changed so much since the Great Depression that it's really a different society. But if you are going to go with historical comparison for evaluating public works spending as a tool for lowering unemployment, that you also have to consider the post World War II boom from the GI Bill, the interstate system, and federal mortgage subsidy legislation. Admittedly, these situations are different from our current one, but probably still provide important lessons in how much the government can achieve.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

One of the more ironic claims made about how the Great Depression was finally ended is that it was WWII that did it, not the New Deal.

But the level of government spending, centralized planning and social controls during WWII was more socialist than anything before it, or anything since.

SirReal 4 years, 8 months ago

his mother was from kansas and he spent a good portion of his childhood here with his maternal grandmother raising him, imagine that.

viagra_sailor 4 years, 8 months ago

I can't imagine what kind of ungodly, evil things he learned there.

viagra_sailor 4 years, 8 months ago

Obama has nothing to do with printing money.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

You might as well just call him "boy." There might still be a few posters that haven't quite picked up on your racism.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

A $53 billion expenditure on high speed rail would generate more jobs outside of the high speed rail project.

Not only that high speed rail would take more cars off the road thus cutting back on gasoline use.

$5.00 per gallon gas is in the near future.

Yes we need more high speed rail,bridge repairs and sidewalk repairs throughout the nation.

Go for it Obama! This is good spending cuz we taxpayers will see what we spent OUR tax dollars for!!!

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Woo hoo! Bullet trains to nowhere! Gazillions of $ whizzed away! Dear Leader's in the bottom of a well and digging straight down as fast as he can.

Fossick 4 years, 8 months ago

His SecState is right there with him:

"I looked around our world and I thought, you know, we are in just so many deep holes that everybody had better grab a shovel and start digging out." -- Hillary Clinton

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

If the mope currently in residence at 1600 Penn Ave suddenly packed his bags and moved to the former Soviet Union, America would be much better off.

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 months ago

So would you have been against building all those highways back in the 50's?

viagra_sailor 4 years, 8 months ago

What is the "Leader" possessing in this sentence?


Fossick 4 years, 7 months ago

Apparently he's not possessing enough grammar to recognize a perfectly executed contraction of the word 'is.'

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Every time a passenger rides the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to LA, you, dear taxpayer, kick in $462 to make up Amtrak's loss.

timeforachange 4 years, 8 months ago

More spending of money he doesn't have ! Can anyone say "Inflation"? How about "debt"?

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

Lots of people say it. With no understanding of the meaning or cause. In fact, I'm responding to such a person right now, timeforachange.

jmadison 4 years, 8 months ago

Quiet, he has to throw a bone to Biden to keep him quiet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Cut war spending by 80%, and we could afford to do all kinds of infrastructure improvements like this that would have dramatic, positive effects on the economy.

Fossick 4 years, 8 months ago

How about cutting the war spending and then not spending it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Even if the government doesn't do the spending, consumers will want to get the best bang for their buck, and high-speed rail can deliver that over other means of transportation.

And if government can help create that, just like it did car and air travel, I won't put up any knee-jerk opposition to it.

SirReal 4 years, 8 months ago

yah thats funny, "I can say what I want', but everyone else is full of crap', my you're a smart one Liberty lol.

Fossick 4 years, 8 months ago

Lincoln spent his last night in Monroe, Maryland...

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

One of my favorite lines:

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln - how was the play?"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

High speed rail works great in Europe and Japan, and the new lines in China are also doing great. These countries are even more densely populated than the US, meaning even more frequent stops.

But there would need to be a mix of routes-- some with more stops, some with fewer, and the ones with more stops wouldn't need to be as high-speed.

"The main advantage of land transportation over air, is that you have the ability to allow stopping points along the way."

That's one advantage, but hardly the only one. Air travel consumes rather extraordinary amounts of energy, and it uses a type of fuel that at present can only come from petroleum-- there'll probably never be an electric airplane. So given that rail travel uses somewhere between 10% to 33% as much fuel as air travel, there will be considerable economic pressure away from air travel, especially where high speed rail is available.

SinoHawk 4 years, 8 months ago

High speed rail looses money even in Europe and is only efficient for transportation in extremely population-dense areas. Tokyo and surrounding areas have over 60M people. Shanghai has 20 million and has the following cities within a two-hour train ride: Nantong - 8M, Hangzhou - 8M, Nanjing - 7.6M, Suzhou - 6.4M, Ningbo - 5.6M, Wuxi 4.8M ...

US cities are not as densely populated (just look at LA, Chicago, and Dallas) AND are located further distances from one another. With the sole exception of the NYC-BOS corridor, there is no region of the country with multiple population centers within couple hundred miles of each other.

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

You do know that DB, the big German rail conglomerate, is private, right? They seem to be making money just fine.

SinoHawk 4 years, 8 months ago

1) Freight makes money, passenger rail does not 2) DB is fully state owned. It is incorporated as an AG, but the sole shareholder is the state

SinoHawk 4 years, 8 months ago

1) Freight makes money, passenger rail does not 2) DB is fully state owned. It is incorporated as an AG, but the sole shareholder is the state

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Every mass transportation system in the world requires considerable subsidies in order to operate.

Car and air travel in the US are among the most heavily subsidized, mostly because they are so energy inefficient and their infrastructure requirements are very expensive to build and maintain.

Rail travel will continue to require taxpayer subsidies, but much less per passenger mile than either car or air travel.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

And there are new systems under development that would make it unnecessary for trains to stop.

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

You have a mix of trains, not just high speed. There are commuter trains, interurban trains, regional trains, medium distance trains, and high speed trains. Lawrence wouldn't be a stop on a high speed line, but KC would. Hop an interurban to KC, transfer to a high speed train, and off you go. Stops don't last long (about 10 minutes for high speed trains), so bring your lunch and a beverage or head to the dining car.

Chicago/DFW would probably need two train changes, one in STL and the other in Kansas City. There's no need for the Chicago train to head east or west from St. Louis and the E/W line that runs through STL and KC would probably come from Columbus and be headed for Denver. If the schedules were timed properly, it'd be possible to get to Dallas in 6 hours or so. Sure, it's longer than a plane ride, but not by much by the time you consider check in, security, and other delays. It's also a lot more fuel efficient.

I don't know about high speed passenger trains, but the current efficiency claim for freight is over 400 ton-miles per gallon of diesel. Try flying a ton of freight 400 miles on a gallon of Jet-A.

fu7il3 4 years, 8 months ago

It worked out well for the Simpsons.

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 8 months ago

quit looking at the issue in black and white.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Do liberals pay for any of what they want or have they skillfully wored the tax system so that only conservatives pay?? Serves them conservatives appropriately

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Gee, I missed it. Soembody did not like what I said!

Carol Bowen 4 years, 7 months ago

I thought it was the other way around. Republicans look for anyone else to pay. I guess it's a common behavior.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Just yesterday Sven said: we ARE NOT posting again - sorry.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes. Because Grand Central Station doesn't exist.

pace 4 years, 8 months ago

Well someone admits high speed rail is an improvement. We can't just sit on our backsides and refuse to use or improve mass transit because we are scared the terrorist might get us. We have to be better than that. What do we do? Not fly in planes, no public meetings, go to horses because we don't want them to sugar our gas tanks? We need to be aggressive in industry, education and innovation. America is competing globally and we should not count ourselves out.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, but 33,000 people died in 2009 alone due to auto accidents while Japan's high speed rail system has had one non-suicide death since it started. Even if terrorists managed a few train bombs a year, I don't think they'd manage to reach those numbers. Getting people to switch is definitely worth it in terms of lives saved.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Just what we need. Our money for better transportation in California.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

Our state is run by fools that should be trying for these projects and will not be. If Brownback really does want to create jobs and support business in this state, we need better transportation.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

If you think you are going to get an argument form me you are crazy. On the other hand just what chance do we have with a Republican dominated state competing with a Democrat dominated state that has spent itself into oblivion??? I would just as soon not send the money to Washiongton and use it here as we see fit!!!

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago


Just exactly what is preposterous?

That government initiatives might be politically motivated?


That Kansas could not use the money we send to Washington for something of more value to us. Maybe not a bullet train but something else. Exactly what is wrong with a bullet train from Wichita through Topeka, here and on to KC?? Probably be as profitable as the one in California.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

Other than the recent trend for governors to kick their state in the groin in order to prove how fiscally conservative they are, Republican states have actually had a decent time getting stimulus funding. Part of the whole bipartisan yada yada.

AFAIK, there's no plans to get high speed any closer than KC, but it would actually be pretty awesome if we could at least strengthen passenger routes across the state.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

When I go to Chicago I use Amtrak, and if there were regular routes to Wichita, I'd use it to go there. If there were decent prices and hours to go back and forth to KC, I'd use it all the time. That'd make it super easy for folks with Plaza jobs, and it would save everyone else some traffic congestion.

BTW, when I do go to Chicago, I'm usually not the only one riding or returning. But oh wait, it's empty because YOU don't use it.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

In other choo-choo related news: "After the wrong kind of snow and leaves on the line, train users have been given a new reason for delays – dew on the tracks.

London-bound commuters on services run by Southern train company were surprised to hear that their journeys were being delayed by "poor railhead conditions" – despite the mildness of the weather and autumn being months away.

A Southern spokeswoman said: "This is a railhead phenomenon that happens at this time of the year. Dew gets on the tracks and makes conditions difficult."

The problem caused delays for some early-morning commuters from the Uckfield area of Sussex, while services from Godstone and Tonbridge in Kent were also affected."

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Who can name a transportation sector in this country that doesn't receive government subsidies?

For example, how do you plan on getting to the grocery store this week?

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Interesting. Much of the money in my local road system comes form local sources. WEer tax ourselves for what we want.

Bullet trains in California do not help me a bit. If California wants a bullet train let them pay for it.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

Fewer drivers in California means more gas for the rest of us. As far away from them as we are, we Kansas still have a stake in what happens there and definitely have an interest in how their transportation system develops.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

And much of the money comes from the feds. You're free to look it up.

The first Interstate Highway was built in Kansas. In your world, the protestations of people in California would have stopped that project.

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Everyone that pays for the roads benefits from the roads (whether they drive or not). The same can not - and never will be able to - be said about passenger rail.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 7 months ago

Nor can it be said for passenger terminals at airports, yet those too are publicly financed.

coderob 4 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, it's true that highways are important. The American Trucking Association's motto is "If you bought it, it came on a truck." But passenger rail gives people an alternative mode to travel, which means fewer people on the highway, fewer people in the air, and as a result more space for cargo shipping.

usnsnp 4 years, 8 months ago

People that say public works projects are not worth the money sure do not know the history of this country. Here are a few that I can think of right away: Panama Canal, Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam, Inter-State Highway system. Every city, county and state has had public work projects done, and many of them were done during the Great Depression and these projects kept many people employed that otherwise would have been unemployed. I know that I will get static about what I am saying, but that is the way thing go.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Wow. We generalize! I am sure some do and some don't. I bet if we kept the money here in Kansas we would chose much better.

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, because our Legislature sure has done a bang-up job of setting spending priorities for the last hundred years. That might be why we're an industrial backwater of under-educated idiots.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Only problem with that argument is that the private sector wasn't hiring-- unemployment at the time was over 25%.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

There was no forced anything. He lobbied large corporations to maintain wages, and to reduce hours rather than do layoffs, while simultaneously encouraging unions not to strike or demand wage increases.

The notion that if these corporations and union workers had just immediately jumped into a deflationary spiral it would have prevented the deflationary cycle that was the Great Depression is inherently a logical contradiction and beyond absurd.

But it is kinda funny how the Free Market Cult has now decided that Free Market Worshipper Hoover is the culprit du jour for the Great Depression.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

The crowding out argument is a little more complicated than that. It's not that the government is taking away money from the private sector, but rather that government borrowing causes increased interest rates due to higher demand., While it's less attractive to borrow, there's still a chance for the private sector to do it. It's just that their projects have to generate a return that beats the higher interest rate, which in the larger picture is quite a bit different from "In Soviet Russia government own you" style market involvement.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

gccs14r - is the fourteen your age. Another facinating generalization. They must have done something right as far as the majority are concerned or they would have been fired. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion that they have spent it on all the wrong things. I giess KU and our local school district were some of the bad calls

BorderRuffian 4 years, 8 months ago

Seriously, folks. This high-speed rail has been fast-tracked and it has been widely rumored that someone called Clay Chastain has already been vetted for the post of Rail Czar.

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

You think the airlines cover the cost of airport infrastructure? You think road use taxes cover highway construction and maintenance? All transportation infrastructure, no matter of what kind, from a single-track hiking trail to the space station, relies at least in part on tax dollars for its construction and maintenance.

hammerhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

We as a nation need to start this important plan NOW. This is a plan that is in the best interests of our nation, just as was bailing out General Motors and Chrysler. Ther eis no doubt about it.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

Don't forget that the new border wall they were trying to build ended up costing 1.4 billion dollars just for 28 miles, or 50 million per mile, which at 1969 miles ends up being 98 billion dollars for the whole project (assuming that the cost per mile is accurate).

I don't know about you, but I'd lean towards saying improving our transportation infrastructure generates more in benefits than keeping a few able bodied workers out of our economy.

grimpeur 4 years, 8 months ago

Maaaan, for just 40 of these $53B outlays we could have ourselves a nice little war in Iraq.

What they need to do is get these things going 250 mph and screw the BS that is the US air industry.

booyalab 4 years, 8 months ago

There is one huge, glaring problem with government "investments". Unlike free market investments, if it proves unpopular and costly, it's not going to die and it will continue to drain taxpayer funds under the flawed claim that it is necessary. Government does not put scarce resources to their most desired uses. Ever.

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I mean when are they ever going to close those ccc camps?

hedshrinker 4 years, 8 months ago

I long for public commuter rail between east KC (stadiums, for example) , a mid-town connection to local transport (Plaza/Westport /River Mkt) . south JOCO connection (Town Center,JUCO) , then to Lawrence (east, KU, far west), then to Topeka (Statehouse, hospital area, maybe Washburn,VA and Wanamaker miracle mile)'s just nuts when I visit St Louis, Chicago and Denver, not to mention obvious coast mega cities like NYC, Washington DC, San Fran and Seattle that have highly used, functional mass transit systems that mean you can survive well without a vehicle, at least to work, go to school, etc. The pike between Topeka and KC is the most highly used by far in the state....I think this would be a huge boon for people to go to work, school,entertainment venues, etc. Have never understood how Denver and St Louis could pull this off and we fail over and over....and I forgot, what a fabulous thing it would be to have a KCI connection

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

It would be really nice to be able to get from KC to Denver in 2 hours or so without having to put up with the airlines. When there is no more liquid fuel, it will be essential to have a functioning passenger rail system to get anywhere in this vast land of ours. It would be better to build it now while we can use diesel machinery instead of waiting until all we have left are mules, hand carts, and sledgehammers.

notanota 4 years, 8 months ago

raises hand I object to the kabuki theater measures put into place that claim they're for our safety but are, in fact, not protecting us from anything. Most of the more silly measures, such as shoe removal, body scans, and liquid limits are based on FAILED plots that had very little chance of success.

I dunno what bad experiences you had, but I've never had one on Amtrak. In fact, I've found them to be generally much nicer than airline employees. Plus I enjoy being able to stretch my legs, listen to my iPod, use my phone, bring my own food, sit in a chair built for people, etc.

ralphralph 4 years, 8 months ago

Obama needs to have his mommy take him back to the map kiosk .... This isn't "Tomorrowland", it's "Fantasyland".

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes, another "boy" slur, only this time we even invoke his dead mother. Klassy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

"When money is spent in the private sector there are mechanisms that ensure it is spent wisely on things that will benefit society."

Sometimes those mechanisms work well, and other times they don't. And when they don't, there is often great damage done until the "correction" can take place.

Global warming is a prime example of that. The "free market" has still yet to accept it, much less do anything about it. And there's no indication that the disasters won't be irreversible by the time it gets around to it.

"When the government misspends money, there is no mechanism to correct the mistake."

Yes, there is. They're called elections. The correction is often imperfect, and not always immediate. But then again, the same could be said for the market.

" Look at the SLT, where lots of good money has gone after a dumb project, and they still aren't done wasting money on it."

We certainly have a problem with vested business interests having too much control over various aspects of government. But eliminating government so that there is absolutely no check on their excesses wouldn't satisfy anything but your ideology. And the fact is, there are aspects of human existence for which the magic of the market just ain't there.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

So we can agree that what we really need to do is improve the transparency of government, as well it's responsiveness to citizens' wants and needs-- and that's all citizens, not just the well-connected.

classclown 4 years, 8 months ago

Saying idiot is cause for deletion? Since when? There is at least one person here that apparently posts for the sole purpose of calling someone else an idiot. Don't ever seeing his/her posts deleted.

Also, has JackRipper (or whatever his name is) been disappearededed? I figured he would be all over the comment section of this story.

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Be careful what you ask for. If he starts posting, I'm holding you responsible.

usnsnp 4 years, 8 months ago

Many people would probably enjoy taking the train if we had a good system. When you travel by plane how many hours does it take you to get from your home to the airport and from the airport to the center and buisness districts of most major cities. For you that have not traveled by train, in most cities the train stations are in the center of the cities near the buisness districts. As mentioned before airports do not pay for themselves, taxpayers pay for them, taxpayers support them, even our little airport in Lawrence, it cannot support itself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Given that his free-market policies were obviously not working out so well, and helped create the conditions that led to the Great Depression, and facing an election that he knew he was about to lose, it really doesn't surprise me that he pulled a hail mary and proposed the above measures (which did not cause the Great Depression, BTW.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

There were a wide-range of contributors to the Great Depression. There was no single cause.

And repackaging Hoover as a socialist, which is all the rage among hardcore libertarians, isn't going to provide a particularly useful understanding of what did create it.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Bozo et al

I love these conservations about government and how well it does things. You know what you are right. Having spent almost 40 years in government service, I believe my net contribution was quite positive. Because of the nature of what I did I believe the common good (as defined as most of the people in the country) was well served.

My problem with what I perceive to be your argument is that you assign almost everything to the government. A bullet train in California does not serve the common good of the vast majority of us. It does require that at least half of us pay taxes to fund that project. Jobs may be created in California but at my expense.

Now I believe that transportation programs like the interstate system do serve the common good as I have defined it. But as you work down the list of wants, we move from those that are clear contributors to those that are not. You do not seem to want to acknowledge that.

As far as business vs. government - I can chose (most of the time) where I shop and how much I spend. When government wants to do something it uses coercion to take my money and give to others. Given that more than half the voters have little or no incentive to demand accountability because they do not pay for these great ideas, I and those like me are trapped – we have no real voice in our democratic process when it comes to funding federal largess.

So, I humbly disagree with what appears to be your unqualified support for federal expenditures. Such expenditures are just not always the right answer. $53 Billion for a short bullet train in California certainly fits in that category!

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, $53 Billion for a short train in California would be wrong.

Now, what is your source for all $53 Billion being spent in California? It certainly isn't this story.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

$53B for a series of bullet trains would be wrong unless it can be shown that the majority of us benefit in some concrete manner.

And, yes, I linked this initiative to the recent announcement of the bullet train in California. see:

About $10B pays for 120 miles of the 800-mile route. Just linked the rest of Obama's initiative to paying for the rest of the link. I agree - a stretch.

What is not a stretch is spending my money for high-speed rails elsewhere. I want my money so I can fund transportation projects that help Kansans or whatever the majority of Kansans want to spend that money on - or not spend it and keep it, as it is theirs!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Like you said, it's a stretch to think that the whole $53bn is going to be spent in California, or that none of it will be spent here.

At any rate, would you complain if it were decided to improve seaport infrastructure because none of them would be built in Kansas?

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

So you have no evidence the federal government is spending $53 billion in California?

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago


Nice meaningful response. I guess that is the best I can expect from an ideologically blinded individual.

BigPrune 4 years, 8 months ago growith on trees.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

These comments about a "bullet train in California" echo the comments 60 years ago about developing an interstate highway system to be primarily funded by the federal government.

Except for instead of a "bullet train in California" the critics were blasting a "highway in Kansas".

Thank goodness the critics got their way and our road system remained a function of local government...

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Someone referred to the California project as a "short" train.

The distance from San Francisco to San Diego, the proposed length of the train, is about the same as the distance from Lawrence to Chicago.

I wouldn't consider the trip from Lawrence to Chicago to be "short".

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

That I will agree with. My short applied to the first segment of a bit over 120 miles. The initial 120 miles (federally funded to a large degree) goes from nowhere to nowhere. My $50 Billion referred to the total cost of the system (as projected now). Should have been more precise.

At 10B per 100 miles (more in metropolitan areas like the northeast), we certainly are not going to see many useful bullet trains for the 50B. Since only 8B is in this budget, I have no idea where the rest of the rip off will be spent.

If we have a national goal of having bullet trains connecting all our major metropolitan centers than I think Mr. Obama should state it and be frank about the costs. Some of you have linked this to the interstate highway system. I accept that as a good state/federal cooperative effort. I could probably agree to a vast network of bullet trains being a good cooperative effort.

However, transparency as to intent and costs are demanded. We really are running out of money.

Over 50% of our combined income is going to somebody. I think that is enough. It is time that those who want more and want other people to pay for it should get a comeuppance. How about we create an “I don’t pay enough tax” fund. Those who want more can pay into it for all that they want. The rest of us would be able to opt out of any increases in our taxes.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Kansas is a net tax importer of federal funding. Kansas receives more in federal spending than it pays in federal taxes.

California is a net exporter. California is one of 16 states to pay more in federal taxes than it receives in federal spending.

Do you have any factual basis for your ranting, or do you just enjoy sharing the myths that you cling to with others?

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago


So frigging what. I shold pay more federal taxes because we have a number of muilitary bases you want to close?? I am sorry but I reject your notion that national needs are mearly an equal division of the spoils. When the need is national some people may benefit more than others. When it is pork (that is what Mr. Obama's initiative is) it should be paid by those who benefit.

National means we all benefit in a manner we all preceive we benefit. I do not accept that pump priming in California benefits me in any way. It will benefit unions loyal to Mr. Obama (paid at Davis Bacon rates in the middle of the valley) and some businesses will benefit since the owners will see the profits and probably not be equitably taxed on them.

Just what right do you have to continue to steal from me??

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Why are you stealing from California? Every dollar you pay in federal taxes comes back to Kansas, plus money that is paid by taxpayers in California.

coderob 4 years, 8 months ago

When you think about it, it really does make sense that this is a federal project, and not a state one. The impetus for using federal funding for highways came from the US having a whole bunch of poorly organized local roads. One area might have had cemented roads while another had dirt, and there was no consistency on width or quality, making a cross country trip into a logistical nightmare. Imagine if states started this rail project, only to create a system where you had states building miles in the wrong direction, only to realize it would have been cheaper if they coordinated plans. Or, states could end up buying trains that used different gauges of track. Coordination is one of the keys to getting this project to work.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Amen. The feds paid for the first intercontinental railroad with land. Private business built it. Somehow, they muddled through without legions of government bureaucrats messing with them.

Is we want a national network of bullet trains - lets lay it on the table. Just how do you intend to pay for it? What will you give up? I know we will cut defense. Just about everybody on here has cut it for different things. Our budget is unbalanced by about a trillion dollars a year. Just how do we afford a national network of bullet trains???

You want it you pay for it.

camper 4 years, 8 months ago

"Private business built it". In this sense a government project benefited the private interests who built it, and later the businesses who transported goods. This was good for commerce and in the end added tax revenue that surely captured the original costs. Erie canal.....same thing.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

We Need a (Green) Jobs Program Clean-energy investment would promote job growth for a wide swath of the U.S. workforce.

By Jeannette Wicks-Lim

Fourteen months of an unemployment rate at or near 10% clearly calls for the federal government to take a lead role in job creation. The White House should push its clean-energy agenda as a jobs program but steer clear of all the hype about “green-collar” jobs. Green-collar jobs are widely perceived as job opportunities accessible only to an elite segment of the U.S. workforce—those with advanced degrees, such as environmental engineers, lab technicians, and research scientists. Such jobs are inaccessible to the 52% of unemployed workers with no college experience. The truth is, however, that clean-energy investments could serve as a powerful engine for job growth for a wide swath of the U.S. workforce.

My colleagues at the Political Economy Research Institute and I examined a clean-energy program that includes making buildings more energy efficient, expanding and improving mass transit, updating the national electric grid, and developing each of three types of renewable energy sources: wind, solar, and biomass fuels. Here’s what we found.

First, clean-energy activities produce more jobs, dollar for dollar, than fossil fuel-related activities. This is because clean-energy activities tend to be more labor intensive (i.e., more investment dollars go to hiring workers than buying machines), have a higher domestic content (i.e., more dollars are spent on goods and services produced within the United States) and have lower average wages than fossil fuel-related activities.

The figures in the table below show how a $1 million investment in clean-energy activities would create more than three times the number of jobs that would be created by investing the same amount in fossil fuels. (See Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Saving Energy Creates Jobs, Dollars & Sense, May/June 2009.) Chart: Job Creation: Clean Energy vs. Fossil Fuels

Second, many clean energy sector jobs would be accessible to workers with no college experience.


Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

In news from Spain: "...But today’s leaked document reveals that even the socialist Spanish government now acknowledges the ruinous effects of green economic policy. Unsurprisingly for a governmental take on a flagship program, the report takes pains to minimize the extent of the economic harm. Yet despite the soft-pedaling, the document reveals exactly why electricity rates “necessarily skyrocketed” in Spain, as did the public debt needed to underwrite the disaster. This internal assessment preceded the Zapatero administration’s recent acknowledgement that the “green economy” stunt must be abandoned, lest the experiment risk Spain becoming Greece. The government report does not expressly confirm the highest-profile finding of the non-governmental report: that Spain’s “green economy” program cost the country 2.2 jobs for every job “created” by the state. However, the figures published in the government document indicate they arrived at a job-loss number even worse than the 2.2 figure from the independent study..."

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

How do we pay for your green jobs program? KU would get a bit. Would you benefit personally merrill? Would any production jobs be in this country or would we once again do the research and send the results offshore and then buy them back with a declining currency?

I know - Cap and Trade. We punish those evil Kansans because they chose coal 150 years ago when it made infinite sense. Now that some of us have decided that coal is evil - Kansans are evil. Tax them for their evilness

If reductions in carbon are desirable by reducing the use of coal, then the rest of the nations should help us make the transition. The Democratic Party demonization of perfectly legal and appropriate past decisions to justify ever further income transfers has got to stop. The notion we can deficit spend forever has got to stop.

The Democratic Party screaming about “pay go” in our legislature reflects the true bankruptcy of their ideas. We want it; it is good, somebody somewhere pay for it - not me or my supporters. I have no responsibility to take the political heat and identify just whom I am going to tax. God (a concept many democrats decry) will provide. How short sited and greedy can you be???

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Who built every road and airport in America? The government did.

And much like high speed rail, state and local funding was supported with federal funding. In some cases, such as many roads, it was 100% federal funding.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (anonymous) replies… Why are you stealing from California? Every dollar you pay in federal taxes comes back

That is about one of the most ignorant statement I have seen written here. Just where does California get the right to my taxes for something that benefits primarily them??? How in heaven can I be stealing from California by refusing to pay for politically motivated federal pork there???

They have many many military bases there. They also have a lot more people than we do. Is it your contention that the average Kansan in Overland Park draws significant benefits because Fort Riley is out west?? If not than we owe California nothing for the fact that by some reckoning we receive more in federal largess than they do (not that I consider military pay and benefits federal largess or that I consider that much of it goes to other than then recipients on base (commissary, BX, MWR facilities).

One of the biggest problems with federal pork is that it is taken from about 15% of us (not including the investor class) and redistributed on a political basis to people with no specific claim to that money.

Yes, California has higher unemployment then we do. My version of that is we have been more balanced in our taxation policy so that business has not left the place in a rush. California has taxed the living be J... out of business there and it is leaving and causing that unemployment. Why should I be paying for their stupidity and unsupportable largess when we have been prudent in our social policies???

I totally reject your fundamental premise that I own anybody federal money they did not earn through service to the majority of all of us. If I chose to provide support to those that I deem deserving then fine but I also totally reject the notion put forward by those who do not pay very much and are extremely vocal taht demands I pay for every social malady identified even when the problem is a direct result of the recipient’s stupidity. Just who decided that any 17 year old girl can get pregnant and we, the taxpayers, will provide her something in excess of a quarter of a million dollars over the years she spends rearing her child. – a child she has no right to if she (and the sperm donor) cannot support it

Your entire concept is just an extension of the old ham sandwich version of vote buying – only you are more blatant since you are not using you own money to do the buying. You are greedy and arrogant. because you demand to use mine!

I owe California because more federal money per capita comes to Kansas than California?? If it were not so pathetic, it would be laughable!

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Just for the record according to the census bureau, the total outlays by the federal government in 2009 (most things) were $3 and a quarter trillion. California received $345 Billion. Kansas received $34 Billion. Kansas receives more per person (military and farm expenses)

Interesting that Health and Human Services (mostly entitlements but not all) spent over $900 Billion. Defense spent about $550 Billion (and a bunch is in human services). How about entitlements becoming more of a target on here - real entitlements not entitlements paid for by the recipients (government pensions, SS and Part A Medicare to name a few).

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

The contention was that California was stealing from Kansas, specifically that California is stealing from one particular Kansan who posts as "Moderate".

The evidence shows that when it comes to federal spending, Kansas steals from California.

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago


What evidence??? Stealing suggests that something is being taken illegally. Exactly what illegal action is my protest that you do not have the right to take my money and given it to California. as pork????

If you really believe your assertion we really are in trouble as a nation!!!

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

The evidence shows Kansas receives more in federal funding than it contributes.

California contributes more in federal funding than it receives.

Californians are subsidizing one particular Kansan who posts as "Moderate".

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Well your assumption is that I am getting anything I have not earned. California has not earned a bullet train paid for by all Kansans (and everybody else who pays taxes in the US). Your logic is really flawed

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

You're getting more than you've earned. You are living off the tax dollars of Californians.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely. My pension is paid in part by them - as it should be as I served them for 20 plus years. My wife's pension is paid by the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia - whom she served for better than 20 years.

The rest of my money is mine and not paid by the government. If you want to play the SS card (which I considered I paid to obtain) California makes more per person than Kansas in that category - probably because there are more Californians making higher incomes than Kansans

What you are doing is taxing Kansans for the presence of Fort Riley where most of the people are not Kansans. Neat trick. An abomination but a neat trick

When I started on here I indicted I wanted to get some notion of those who have a different political philosophy than I. With Mr. Keeshan I sure have.

I would never in any stretch of my imagination have assumed that anybody would argue that Kansans SHOULD PAY MORE taxes because the distribution of federal expenditures is not uniform across the states. With that logic the federal tab can only go up and up.

Sir, we clearly have diametrically opposed opinions of the role of the state and the responsibilities of our fellow citizens. I am not going to change your mind nor you mine. So I will move on and rest the electrons in this space

George Lippencott 4 years, 8 months ago

Let us walk down this one

  1. Mr. Obama has proposed to spend $53B for bullet trains (at least some of which are in California)
  2. The federal budget is oversubscribed by almost 1 trillion dollars.
  3. Therefore, Mr. Obama is proposing to spend money he does not have for the bullet trains. That is fraud - a form of stealing
  4. Mr. Obama will pass on the costs of the bullet train to future generations. That is stealing from them

Now Mr. Obama would not be guilty of stealing if he found a way to cover the $1 trillion deficit. He could of course renege on past commitments (pensions, SS, Medicare part A, health care promised to government employees, etc). That of course would be the perpetration of a fraud on them – another theft. He could of course raise taxes on the middle class to cover the $ trillion (there are not enough rich to do so) which would be stealing from them to give to someone else.

How can I possibly be guilty of stealing for trying to protect Mr. Obama from himself? No bullet trains and no fraud.

Your logic is so flawed it is unbelievable. I am guilty of fraud for not wanting to pay money to California that I am under no obligation to pay. Shades of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and 1984 doublespeak.

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

I love all the folks who say 'but, but, but, the government built roads!!!'

I said it above, I'll repeat it here: Everyone who pays for the roads benefits from those roads. The same can not - and never will be able to - be said about passenger rail.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 7 months ago

Guvmint built them airports, too. And they built them with more than just the money of everyone who benefits from passenger air travel. Why in the relatively nearby city of Denver the feds footed a healthy portion of the bill for their new airport. For their light rail, too.

And in Kansas, roads are partially paid for by the sales tax. Roads are not 100% funded by user fees. Not everyone who funds roads directly benefits. Same with airports. There are, of course, indirect benefits.

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Airports also handle other traffic than passenger travel. But being the luddite you are, you might be the only person that's never received a piece of mail or a package that traveled by air.

And I did not say anything about user fees, did I? Nice attempt at distraction, pretty typical when your argument is (as usual) laughable. I said there is nobody that pays for the roads that does not benefit from them. That includes everyone that pays sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes, etc. But tell you what - since you're so dead-set against paying for roads, bobbie, inform the ambulance and fire companies that when they have to come to your house, they're not allowed to use the roads. (BTW, bobbie, even if you don't drive, what do you ride the bus or your tricycle on?)

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 7 months ago

Passenger terminals handle only passengers.

C'mon, insult me some more. It demonstrates how smart you are.

notajayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Ah. So, as usual, when someone points out that you don't know what you're talking about, you change the terms. You said "airports", bobbie, not "passenger terminals". Someone who can't remember what they wrote an hour earlier (and apparently can't even read what they wrote to refresh their failing memory) is probably not the best judge of who's "smart", bobbie.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 7 months ago

Next time a friend says, "Pick me up at the airport," I encourage you to travel to the freight terminal. That way, you will prove to this person how smart you are, and your friend can take a cab home for doubting your intelligence.

coderob 4 years, 7 months ago

That argument makes more sense in Kansas, where there isn't as big of a crunch for space, but in places like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, there just isn't room to accommodate more cars. Congestion needlessly causes thousands of accidents and deaths a year. Cars do offer great advantages over public transit like flexibility in route and departure time, but for someone who leaves for work at the same time and same place every day, trains are a lot more efficient in terms of energy, natural resource, and space savings than cars.

This efficiency does benefit the rest of us. Maybe if I had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance during rush hour, I could get their faster if there were fewer cars on the road and more people taking the train. If enough people made the switch to transit, we could take those old parking lots and turn them into parks for our kids. Granted, this high speed rail project would aim at reducing inter-city trips, and it would be more ideal if this money was being spent on commuters instead of travelers, but the fewer unnecessary cars there are on the road, the better.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 7 months ago

Exactly. If $53 billion isn't spent on this form of transportation, it will be spent on increased lane miles to accomplish the same travel criteria. That is a 1950's solution to a 2010's problem.

Also well noted - high speed rail is analogous to multi-lane interstate highways. It is not really comparable to money spent to maintain local roads, the types of roads where 99% of your ambulance and fire truck travel occurs.

It is interesting, though, that generally the same folks so opposed to using modern technology for rail are also opposed to upgrading local roads to include bike lanes or wider sidewalks for bikes and pedestrians.

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