Thursday, January 28, 2010

Trains, Jobs, and Arrogance…

The SOTU speech by the president last night was full of stuff and not very “presidential”. It was a little too flippant and arrogant for me and I can’t imagine if I were unemployed how I would feel. The smiles, inside jokes, and disconnect from the American people was palpable. It was actually disgusting to watch.

The part where the president built to a crescendo saying “and I expect a Jobs Bill” to blah, blah, blah, was so pathetic as if any government program could snap its fingers and jobs would appear. It showed the lack of understanding of how real jobs are created, and the result of their “jobs bill” will be a longer recession.

The real kicker to me was the number of times “green jobs” was used. Most people don’t give a crap about the color of their job as long as it pays in “greenbacks”. The president was flying today to Florida to “kick off” a new rail project which will probably make him feel good because it seems he is envious of the Europeans focus on trains. In Europe trains make sense. In America we love our automobile and before Florida spends a trillion dollars on a new train they better survey the true usage patterns of public transit.

The dirty little secret is that public transportation limits people’s ability to travel when and where they want, and most people only use it when it is convenient to their particular travel plans. I know there is a huge push for more trains but they went out of business for a reason, and those reasons have not changed. If there was a true market for more trains, Buffet would be building them. The only reason they are being considered is the commitment of our tax dollars that will subsidize the losses just like we do with Amtrack.

Last night was a real disappointment but I don’t look to Washington for my future. Unfortunately too many Americans do…

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