Friday, December 5

Arnold scores

The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger made a great statement the other day:
"Hwui must invest in the future, the infrastructure of this country. For four decades nooothing has been done." He is right!
So here I go, listening to my local Public Radio station, and the speaker announces that Vermont might shut down AMTRAK services because the states budget has no money left to subside the train. This is a sad move - and a bad move.
Why is it bad? Because the United States of America has forgotten how to invest into the future. The trains, once a viable network and grid, now appear to be in shambles.
Same with the roads and bridges, serving the "big three" and not the country, the automakers, who presently are begging for billions in Washington just like stupid little boys who got caught steeling lollipops. What will they truthfully get arriving this time in their hybrid cars in DC instead of private jets at the first meeting? It's a joke. Did they fly with their private jets anyway and "planted" their hybrids at the airport? Wouldn't surprise me. What is their bargaining chip anyhow, now that we all know that they let us down so many times before!
I don't want to sound like a "sensationalist" or a fiend of negative (re)evolution. But something has to be done now to shift this cooperate short term greed and transform it to a long term investment for the people, by the people. Otherwise this recession, that has merged into a depression, will swallow us all.
In the mean time, I don't give a rat's ass about GM and Chrysler. I care about Ford, because I drive their pick up truck. But this is just a sentimental statement and has nothing to do with factual values.


Aggie said...

Your Govt investing in Cars is a complete waste of those billions - petrol is a finite commodity and WILL cease. They would have been better investing that money in research for alternative fuels.
Our Govt just bought back the rail network from Private hands here because they made such a mess of it. We would have nailed them to the tracks if they hadn't. It belongs to the people for the people.

jozien said...

Yes! right on Zee.
And i love wednesday musings.
I'll try to respond; But when i overflow with joy, words fail sometimes.
Ah.. Indeed it is not about having a GM or Ford or what, but maybe about getting from A to B. And why A or B , what we all have to do is BE.

lindsaylobe said...

I don’t think many people understand the transition the world is going through or its likely future structure, particularly in the USA where I’m betting you will eventually return to something resembling more about a pre 1970’s situation as far as most of your major institutions are concerned.

Given that environment I think you are also more likely you sill see a propensity to invest in the future, but not for quite a while yet.

Should that prediction turn out to be true what will eventuate will be a narrowly defined traditional garden variety community banking system that will be highly regulated with a more clearly defined riskier sector. The latter will be allowed to fail and it will be clearly understood there is no government guarantee which will apply to the former. Regulations will much more mindful of ensuring corporations don’t become ‘too big to fail’. The new environment will place much more emphasis on governments as sovereign wealth managers. In demand will be a different physiologically based skill set and markets will all be predicated on the basis that those companies that will succeed will be the ones who leave the smaller carbon footprint and blend with the environment. There will be the new revolution and will require a completely different way of thinking. The biggest savings will be evident from simpler lifestyles, not from green energy.

Best wishes

Lee said...

A few years ago I gave away my car and all belongings except my guitar, a backpack, three changes of clothes and a handful of books that I treasure and toured the US by train. It took a couple of months, but I travelled the entire perimeter of the contenintal US. I continue to travel by train, and even take the wife and kids to visit Grandpa via Amtrak. We, as a family, are big proponents of rail travel, although the quality of services and amenities has spiralled well downhill for years now. Amtrak as an entity is really quite remarkable in what they can and do still provide as they've been suffocated by the government. I sat in the desert in Arizona for four hours once, at a standstill, because CSX, the freight line, has priority of the lines. Did you know the Bushies have investments in CSX? The conductor, as a means to assuage the restless minion aboard, explained quite concisely why we were sitting for hours and reccommended we write to our congresspeople and the like to voice our opinion.
Rail has such enormous potential, especially in this country. Perhaps it's merely the idea of ephemeral community that turns people off; the idea that one needs to socialize with complete strangers for a few hours must be an odd notion indeed to a society that continues to barricade itself behind walls and fences. Besides the obvious, of course, in that Oil and Auto stand to lose a lot of ground in the quest for the almighty dollar should the rail actually gain any ground as a means of transport among the masses.
Oh dear, oh dear, I could go on ad naseum, but I won't.
Talk to you soon, my friend.

Zee said...

Jozien what a great comment!
GM - MG -> NO, BE!

Thank you for your story. No, I didn't know that the Bush clan had shares in CSX. What I do know, that most of their freight trains have heat sensors connected with a satellite link that alarms headquarters when a nd where a hobo jumps on.
Unfortunately my optimism of the coming Obama administration has deflated somewhat. The other day "they" announced that billions would be spent on the highway-system. Eisenhower 50's all over again, and nobody uttered a word about Amtrak or any other kind of public transportation.
By the way - riding in a train is much roomier, less claustrophobic and so on than flying in a plane - and, for the north east corridor, it is actually much faster, even with the neglected technology and the decaying rail tracks we have.

In the time it takes for a person to get from New York City (Manhattan) to either La Guardia, JFK or Newark, including the check-in time, an alternate person would already be in DC proper, not at the airport, but in town, using AMTRAK.
If they would invest a few billions in upgrading the tracks on that corridor, get some new gear to run a speed train, I would assume that the traveling time between NY and DC could be shrunk to about an hour each way.
That's the amount of time you have to reckon on going from Grand Central in NY to JFK NY!!!!
But no, the tracks (railroad) will not be fixed, and the track we are on remains the same.
Reminds me of that Doors song: "Ship of fools"!!!
Have a good day, brother.