Working for (Several Percent of) You

Good news for anyone thinking about watching President Obama’s first State of the Union address at 9:00pm – you can skip it. How have I reached this conclusion? Obama’s speech will be followed by a Thursday announcement of $8billion in ‘stimulus’ funds being devoted to another idiotic liberal pet project:

President Obama is going to Florida on Thursday to reveal how his administration will divvy up $8 billion in high-speed rail funding, but the good news will whistle all the way up to the Buckeye State, say Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Columbus.

Passenger rail is wonderful, because it gets citizens into government subsidized trains and out of those terrible, Gaia-killing automobiles. Amtrak has a proven, storied history and should be grown with taxpayer money at every opportunity… except that it doesn’t, and it shouldn’t:

According to a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) report in December 2004, Amtrak is by far the most heavily subsidized mode of travel in the U.S. Between its huge federal subsidies and its minuscule share of the intercity passenger market (less than 1 percent), Amtrak costs $210.31 per passenger per 1,000 miles, compared to $4.66 for intercity buses and $6.18 for commercial airlines in FY 2002.

Ok, so Amtrak makes a business of suckling at the public teat. But it’s for a good cause! Think of how many citizens will benefit from the several hundred million in pocket change our elected betters want to throw at this project!

An Amtrak study last fall said about 478,000 passengers would ride medium-speed trains connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati. The line would require about $17 million a year in subsides.

Based on the Amtrak estimate, a number of people less than 5% of Ohio’s population would use the system. 478,000 / 11,485,910 = 4.16%. Senator Sherrod Brown could not be happier with his ability to bring home the bacon:

“This is some of the best news we have had in a long time,” Brown said. “If I put my ear down to the rail I think I hear a train coming.”

If I put my ear down to the rail I think I hear a senator giddy about blowing taxpayer funds on something 95% of Ohioans won’t use. I’m sure it will create enough jobs to be worth $17,000,000 a year in subsidies, because liberals always carefully justify every expenditure.

Brown contends the federal stimulus spending on rail is evidence that the Obama administration wants to spend more on the nation’s infrastructure needs and less on “tax cuts for the rich and the war in Iraq.”

This is extremely encouraging. Put photos of his posterior, a hole in the ground, and a viable business plan in front of the Senator, and he can’t identify a single thing. He can, however, puke up some liberal boilerplate about that horrible George W. Bush cutting taxes and killing terrorists.

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