Happy Thanksgiving, President Obama and Governor Jerry Brown
Original post made by Martin Engel, Menlo Park, on Nov 24, 2011
Wal-Mart and Target are opening its doors late this evening with people already getting in line to capture some of their super-bargains. Nieman-Marcus, however, isn't doing that; they have already sold out their inventory of Ferraris offered in their catalog.
Get it? The stores for the middle and lower classes are taking profit margin hits in order to get business on one of the busiest days of the year. Stores like Tiffany's, etc. aren't. They don't need to. Their customers can afford to pay full retail costs.
You can see where this argument is going. Here's the basic fact coming from the US Census Bureau. One in three Americans -- one in three -- are either poor or very close to it.
Most of us in Palo Alto, Menlo Park or Atherton are well insulated from this.
OK. I'm called, by my good friend Mike, a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart pinko Liberal. So be it. And here's my point. What business do we have spending way over $100 billion dollars for a luxury train; the Ferrari of trains?
It is, or should be, clear that high-speed rail train tickets are the most expensive train tickets you can buy. Everywhere. Even in Communist (ha,ha) China. And that's the train President Obama and our Governor, Jerry Brown, want us to build, even though they don't begin to have a clue to where all the money to build it is coming from.
Figure it will come from the taxes of all Americans. So, what's in it for us? It should be obvious that one third of the population of the United States won't ever be riding this train.
And, I suspect most of those in the second third of our economically/hierarchically stacked population won't either. They, like me, will take regular trains if a train-ride is indeed in order. Therefore, our Nation's tax dollars are going to be poured into the construction of a luxury rail system dedicated pretty much to the upper third of our population.
Have you noticed how the rich are getting richer and the rest of us aren't? So, I really need to ask President Obama and Governor Jerry Brown, on this Thanksgiving, what are you thinking? Why are you so determined to build this fancy-pants train? Why should all of us be paying zillions of dollars for a train that only the affluent can afford to ride?
Yes, yes, I know the economy argument and the jobs argument. And I certainly don't oppose investing resources, our tax resources, into infrastructure repair and maintenance. U.S. infrastructure has been shamelessly neglected and is in disastrous condition.
So, fix it. Use those dollars to restore our failing urban and regional public mass transit capacity. High-Speed Rail is neither "public" or "mass."
This California high-speed rail project looks more and more like what those shoppers for Ferraris at Nieman-Marcus are looking forward to. With our tax dollars. What kind of Thanksgiving is that?
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