Source: Tamny/Real Clear Markets
“While what fails in the private sector is mothballed, what belly flops in the governmental sphere is frequently rewarded with more taxpayer funds. That’s why government waste is a first order redundancy. Of course it’s waste. Absent the possibility of investor withdrawal whereby what makes no sense is rapidly starved of resources, what’s ridiculous just grows and grows. Which brings us to a front page Wall Street Journal article from Tuesday. Even though airplanes can transport passengers from Chicago to St. Louis in less than 1 hour, Amtrak (our national train service) has a train route in place that can similarly transport passengers between the two cities. The problem is that what takes less than an hour by plane takes 5-1/2 hours by train. Sadly, the Amtrak story gets worse….You see, $2 billion was spent so that Amtrak trains traveling between STL and Chicago would take 4-1/2 hours instead of 5-1/2. Unsurprisingly, this non-improvement isn’t or won’t impress passengers. The present expectation is that, assuming top speeds of 110 mph, ‘the share of people who travel between the two cities by rail could rise just a few percentage points.’ On its own, American Airlines already flies seven times per day from Chicago to St. Louis…So while there are countless stories and lessons about the folly of government spending, the waste of $2 billion on something that makes no economic sense loudly exposes the horrors of Congress controlling so much of the wealth first created in the real world….The federal government costs close to $4 trillion each year, and with Amtrak in mind, readers might imagine all the other waste taking place across various federal programs….Call ‘government spending’ what is: freedom-sapping economic contraction that robs us of trillions worth of experimentation necessary to employ us much better, improve our living standards, and substantially elongate our lives.”
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