Posted by politicalpartypooper on April 17, 2009

President Obama said on Thursday that he intends to put a large downpayment on a high-speed rail system that would change the way America travels.  This is a project that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and take two to three decades to complete.  Not to mention, it relies on partners such as Congress, and Amtrak, who haven’t seen eye-to-eye for many years.  That might be because Amtrak has shown all the business acumen of a GM or Chrysler.

“But this is just a first step. We know this is going to be a long-term project,” President Obama said.

Long term project?  Like solving Social Security?  Nationalizing health care?

In this era of dwindling cash and competing interests, we have some difficult decisions to make.  We can’t do everything we want to do, and it is up to our government to start acting as if they know that.  Social Security reform and health care have been major issues for decades, and we’ve done nothing.  Now, our President wants to add a new monthly bill to our deficit; high speed rail.

“This is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future,” Obama said during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is adjacent to the White House. “It is happening right now. It’s been happening for decades. The problem is it’s been happening elsewhere, not here.”

Umm, Mr. President, maybe it’s not happening here because it’s not financially feasible here.  In case you haven’t noticed, the continental United States of America is a vast, sprawling place.  Unlike Germany, Japan or France, or even England, there are many places in this nation where you can drive one hundred miles between towns whose population exceeds forty thousand people.  And forty thousand people is not enough of a base to support a nationwide high-speed rail system. Certainly, we can improve existing lines in large population centers, but to tie one cost to another, from sea to shining sea with light rail is simply something that will never be supportable as anything other than a large yearly deficit.

This is not a project that should take a high priority; especially not a higher, or equal priority to Social Security and Nationalized health care.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we start all of these projects at once, when there are far more important issues to solve that have been ignored for decades?  It’s time to fix the obvious, the necessary, before we embark on the dream.

The President is putting downpayments on a lot of things.  Obviously, we don’t have the money to pay for it, or we wouldn’t need the “downpayment”.  But we do have a health care system that is bankrupting and killing people.  That takes precedence over EVERYTHING else.

Mr. President, Congress, fix the most important things before you spend money on something that we cannot afford.


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