Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The disappearing deficit

This post is for my conservative friends who worry about the deficit. Thanks to Kevin Drum of Mother Jones for the chart. 

Drum, by the way, is one of the few liberals critical of California's dumb high-speed rail project. But San Francisco politicians, like Scott Wiener and Mayor Lee---are still on board the Train to Nowhere, along with the "good government" SPUR and Democrats in the state legislature, like Mark Leno.

Lieutenant Governor Newsom has deviated from the Democratic Party line on high-speed rail, which will make him look prescient if that Sacramento court---which is supposed to rule sometime this month---rejects the current version of the project as significantly different than what the state voted for in 2008.

In other high-speed rail news, there was this howler in this morning's Chronicle:

Although construction on the high-speed-rail system has not yet begun, development is well under way. Californians in 2008 approved almost $10 billion in bonds for the project and might have little appetite for ditching it in favor of an untested alternative.

"Development is well under way" but not construction? Hard to know what that means. But according to the polls the public no longer has any "appetite" for the high-speed rail project. Odd that business writers on the Chronicle are obtuse about the high-speed rail project. Aren't they supposed to be able to read financial statements and business plans?

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At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Scott Louser said...

Absolutely! I'm sick of all this "High Speed Rail" mumbo jumbo. Show me where it's ever worked or strengthed the economy!!! AND NO EUROPE DOESNT COUNT -- that's a totally different world than America. And NO, Asia doesn't count, they're third world over there. I'm sick of all these people wanting to get to LA from SF quicker anyway: you've got a car, use it!!! Maybe you should just drive at 150mph LOL.

Anyway, I hate stupid investments in our future. What we have now is fine. Everyone will always drive a car. We just need to pave over more of California to make more room for our care so we can go FASTER and EASIER.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Stupid comment, Scott. You leave air travel out of your rant. In both Asia and Europe high-speed rail is not profitable, except for a few very busy lines. In Europe taxpayers pay to build the system, and then it's turned over to a private operator, which is then also subsidized.

But the ballot measure passed by the state's voters in 2008 forbids any government subsidy to operate the system. It was advertised and sold as a system that would be paid for by its users, which is why the CHSRA has been consistently lowballing operating expenses and over-estimating passenger estimates.

China has radically over-built its HSR system, which is too expensive for peasants and thus underused. And the government still has to pay debt service on the billions it borrowed to build the system.

All this blather about investing in the future is just that. There's no money to built this system, which would be better spent on the existing systems.


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