Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No cuts possible?

In discussing the "sequester", one consistent theme from the White House is the idea (mirrored by some in Congress) that apart from national defense, there really isn't much to cut from federal spending.

Well, let's take a look at one appropriation: $5.5 billion for a 175 mile rail line to Las Vegas from Los Angeles Victorville (suburban Barstow, out in the desert).   The promoters are expecting two million families (let's say about four million people annually) to take the train when they're already ignoring $98 tickets from LAX to "Lost Wages".  Assuming a required ROI of about 20%, the overall subsidy would be $300 per passenger.  It would be cheaper by far to pay for an airline ticket and parking expenses for every Angelino who wants to go gambling and watch a show.

And the technological benefits?  There are none, as they're using the Japanese bullet train model developed in 1964, which even in Japan requires subsidies to operate.  It's a complete technological and economic dead end here. 

So here you go, Mr. President.  A quick $5.5 billion to cut from the budget--and hey, what about the other subsidies being given to rail and air transportation, too?   Why, after all, should "stay at home Sam" be subsidizing the fun for "Jet Set Jimmy"?

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