Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When liberals undermine liberalism

I consider myself a liberal.  On social issues, I am very liberal; on economic issues, while in general I like markets, I think governments can and should correct large market failures (such as failures in private insurance markets and negative externalities), that the one percent (maybe even the ten percent) should pay higher taxes than they do now, and that there should be a floor on living standards.

It therefore drives me crazy when liberals embrace waste and hypocrisy.  So the following paragraph in the LA Times caught my eye:

Instead, the rail authority has agreed to run fewer trains at slower speeds on tracks shared with commuter rail systems, Amtrak and freight trains. In the early years, passengers will probably have to transfer trains to get from one end of the system to the other. The concept, known as the blended approach, was pushed last year by Bay Area politicians, who fought the original plan to run high-speed trains through the region on 60-foot high viaducts over local neighborhoods. The idea has attracted support in Southern California as well.

So places that will rail against the automobile are doing everything possible to make sure "bullet train" service (whose potential for success I am skeptical about anyway) cannot possibly be a competitive transport mode. The "blended" system will also make freight rail relatively less competitive with trucks, and will waste a lot of money that could be better spent on places California really needs to spend money, such as K-12 education and state universities (and no, I do not work at one).

The whole thing reminds me of perhaps my all time favorite Onion headline.