By Marilyn M. Barnewall
February 27, 2011
Everyone is suddenly talking about it. Thomas Sowell wrote an article, Bill O’Reilly talked about it on “The Factor,” the Washington Post wrote about it, Fox News got it wrong… everyone is talking about President Obama’s high-speed rail program and the Governors who are rejecting it.
I enjoyed being ahead of a large number of journalistic notables when I began writing about high-speed rail (HSR) over a year ago. What little-known journalist wouldn’t enjoy beating the big guys? But what’s more significant to me is the lack of factual data being published on this subject today – and the lack of journalists who see why HSR is so important to the Democrats/liberals. HSR and the jobs it promises will serve as one of the 2012 campaign issues. It’s so obvious it almost takes my breath away.
Most of the good and famous journalists and editorialists writing about high-speed rail appear innocent of any clear definition of the subject – including O’Reilly. That’s politically correct for what I would otherwise say: “They don’t know what they’re talking about!”
High-speed rail – or Bullet Trains like they have in France, Germany, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, et al – go from 150 to 222 miles per hour (mph). Rapid rail moves at from 75 to 150 mph and light rail is used to provide transportation between the hearts of our cities to suburbia at speeds of less than 75 mph.
In other words, when Joe Biden talks about riding high-speed rail trains from Delaware to Washington, D.C. frequently (and loving it), he’s talking about riding Amtrak’s Acela train. It averages about 70 mph and hits a top speed of 150 mph.
What does that tell you about Vice President Biden’s mode of transportation? And, what does it tell you about the Vice President’s knowledge of high-speed rail? Look at the definitions above. He’s using rapid rail and calling it high-speed rail – but doesn’t know enough about the subject to differentiate between the two. Or, perhaps he does and his political reasons outweigh his ability to be truthful about it.
This also tells you that Amtrak must have no idea of what high-speed rail is – they have no experience with real, live, high-speed rail – or they would quietly correct Vice President Biden to prevent him from looking foolish to those who know better. The same is true of President Obama and his “know nothing about high-speed rail” Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood. Yet, according to Biden, Amtrak (which has no experience with HSR) is serving as the Vice President’s source of expertise to build Bullet Trains in America. If a little old lady living on the side of a hill in Western Colorado can find these things out, you’d think the highly paid research staffs of major news outlets could! They must not be looking very hard!
This is a case of liberals convincing people that they will create jobs on the one hand, while knowing that there is no money in the other hand to build HSR – so the jobs will never materialize. It provides insight into what Democrat Campaign 2012 will be based on: Republicans (who refuse to irresponsibly further bankrupt the nation by accepting funds to build rapid rail systems liberals call high-speed) will be positioned as anti-job creation. Was the money there to create the jobs in the first place? No, but to liberals that doesn’t matter. Promises and intentions are what count.
We have four very courageous Governors taking flak right now because despite what they knew would be nasty publicity intended to stir the insecurities of the masses into hateful opposition to their necessary actions they did the right thing, anyway.
We are so anxious to criticize (it appears) when politicians do wrong. We sit down immediately and write letters of complaint. Have you sat down, however, and written a letter to any of the four Governors who are willing to risk their political popularity to do the right thing? If not, please do. If you want politicians to do the right thing, support them when they do. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t the Governors of your state. What matters is that they are doing the right thing for America! They are behaving morally and responsibly.
What we are seeing in Madison, WI, is a mini-debut of what is to come. In Madison, we have teachers whose salaries (including benefits) average $89,000 to $100,000 a year for working about nine months annually. Wisconsin is one of the most highly taxed states in the nation. In return, they get teachers whose efforts result in placing Wisconsin 44th in the nation in education.
What was it Jesus called the moneychangers on the steps of the Temple? “Oh, ye hypocrites!”
Wisconsin’s Governor, Scott Walker, deserves a medal for the businesslike way in which he is handling bad examples for children in the form of teachers who get their phony “I’m sick” letters signed by lying physicians on street corners. He also has legislators too cowardly to report for duty, fight their fight, and accept the will of the people who put Republicans in office last election. The really sick thing about all of this is that two years ago, then Democrat Governor Jim Doyle told Wisconsin public employee union members that thousands of them would have to be terminated because of budget shortfalls. There was absolutely no response. No protests, no doctors on corners handing out sick leave slips (who should lose their licenses to practice medicine), and no union objections. “Oh, ye hypocrites!”
And yet, they continue to protest. Ohio Governor John Kasich is facing similar problems with budget shortfalls in that Great State. He rejected federal funds to build a rail system in Ohio that has nothing to do with HSR. The feds wanted to pour dollars into Ohio to provide a rail system that would take longer to get from Cincinnati to Cleveland via Columbus than the rail system that was in place 50 years ago. Kasich analyzed the long-term costs to Ohio taxpayers and rejected the offer. Will Governor Kasich have the required starch in his shorts to stand as solidly against union demands as Governor Walker has so far exhibited? It’s the core problem, after all. Kasich positions himself as being pro-union because he lives in a highly unionized state. So does Governor Walker!
As for Governor Scott in Florida, his state was singled out at Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address as receiving funds to build HSR between Tampa and Orlando (85 miles apart). As I pointed out in a HSR article after that speech a year ago, HSR Bullet Trains are designed for long distances, not short hops. A Bullet Train would hardly get up to speed before having to slow to stop in 85 miles. That was, from its inception, a rapid rail project for which taxpayers would be charged high-speed rail prices. A boondoggle!
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stopped one of the most taxpayer unfriendly and costly projects in the country when he ceased the building of a HSR tunnel between New York City and New Jersey. Like Governor Kasich, he evaluated the long-term and ongoing tax costs to his state and his people and said “no.” He, too, takes a lot of mainstream media heat over this wise decision.
As I have said numerous times, government’s HSR program is a boondoggle! It has been all along. Until the demonstrations in Wisconsin came up, I failed to see the reason. Now, it’s pretty clear.
Here’s how liberal minds function. Liberals take one of their greatest weaknesses – in this case the inability to create new jobs because they don’t understand how capitalism works – and put their opponents in the position of rejecting costly programs that create new jobs – at least, in theory. That way, their opponents cannot use their weakness against them. If a Republican candidate for office says anything about the Democrat inability to create jobs, all of the high-speed rail jobs that would have been created had Republicans not rejected the federal dollars for the program will be thrown in their face. That’s how liberals think. It doesn’t matter to liberals that no money was available to fund the high-speed rail programs and the jobs would have never been created. What matters is that they had the intention of providing jobs. How do we fight that kind of intellectual dishonesty? The way the governors of four states are doing it: Head-on.
Save me from liberal intentions! Please! For readers – particularly Tea Party leaders – who will have candidates in the 2012 elections, prepare to deal with this issue because it is the main course on liberal campaign tables. Too, we might want to keep in mind the fact that governors who accept these funds are making it impossible for State government to function independently of Washington. It’s a rather scurrilous way for the feds to stave off declarations of State Sovereignty, isn’t it?
One of the oldest HSR projects in the country was that of California. Again, it was a case of “promises, promises!” No funds were forthcoming and Governor Schwarzenneger went to Shanghai last September to beg for money from China.
Here are the names and addresses of the four Governors who are doing the right thing for their states and our Great Nation. If you’ve got any citizen starch in your Fruit of the Looms, drop them a line and say, “Thanks; we needed that and appreciate your courage!”
Office of Governor Chris Christie
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Office of Governor John Kasich
STATE OF OHIO
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Oh 43215-6117
Office of Governor Rick Scott
STATE OF FLORIDA
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Office of Governor Scott Walker
STATE OF WISCONSIN
115 East Capitol
Madison WI 53702
Note: Additional information on high-speed rail.
© 2011 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, was U.S. Consulting Editor for Private Banker International (London/Dublin), and other major banking industry publications. She has written seven non-fiction books about banking and taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and two works of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community.
Barnewall is the former editor of The National Peace Officers Magazine and as a journalist has written guest editorials for the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Newsweek, among others. On the Internet, she has written for News With Views, World Net Daily, Canada Free Press, Christian Business Daily, Business Reform, and others. She has been quoted in Time, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She can be found in Who's Who in America (2005-10), Who's Who of American Women (2006-10), Who's Who in Finance and Business (2006-10), and Who's Who in the World (2008).