Repeating the Past: Various thoughts on Obama’s SotU Address

We already have a rail system – a government-managed one, which is slow, inefficient, prone to breakdowns, and vastly unpopular. For obvious reasons. But we’re already talking about charging ahead with a high-speed rail network, one for which there is no obvious market, which does not offer sufficient profit potential to have attracted investors, and which will in all likelihood be managed just as well as our existing system.

Insanity, it is said, is repeating the same ineffective actions over and over again and expecting a different result.

Advocates of government-run anything insist that the government intervention we have – Medicare, veterans’ services, all and sundry of various federal and state programs – work fantastically. Whether that’s actually the case is less certain.

Yet no one but fiscal conservatives ever seems to mention Amtrak. And no real attention is being given to “Fannie Mae” and “Fannie Mac”, the nominally-independent corporations which answer to Congress and which were key players in the housing bubble which encouraged financial institutions to gamble so irresponsibly with their money. The artificial demand resulting from the policy of encouraging everyone to
attempt to own homes – regardless of whether they could actually afford to do so, it would seem – caused property values to steadily increase. And that constant, artificial increase lured countless people into considering the purchase of a home as a high-return investment. Borrowing now so that you could buy a house beyond your means wasn’t unwise, it was a fantastic investment, since prices were guaranteed to go up.

I’m not even going to touch the rest of the content. Too depressing.


2 Responses to “Repeating the Past: Various thoughts on Obama’s SotU Address”

  1. Nosferato Says:

    would you say it was ideological reasons for creating ‘public transit’ or simple pork loving that is the main culprit?

  2. Before I read your second paragraph I was going to mention the failure to contain Medicare’s costs amidst the talk of “bending the curve” and comparative effectiveness research for all health care.

    Many liberal urbanists complain that road traffic is already highly subsidized (often through regulation). The obvious next step should be to stop doing the things that cripple public transportation and give advantage to cars. If they can’t manage that, why should we expect much from their new rail plans?

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