New Trains, Planes, And Automobiles

All Americans, right or left, Dems, or Republicans, should deftly ponder this letter I received from Sean Brodrick who has described precisely what I would like to see happen to all that disappearing BIG money that the Obama administration, AKA the Obamanation, is trying to shovel to its ACORN cronies after already flushing the toilets of that host of bankers, thieves, and swindlers who continue to live lifestyles of the rich and famous while pillaging the American landscape of every industry and value American was once famous for...

Brodrick's suggestions just make sense in this time of rising joblessness and economical collapse. President Barack Hussein Obama (it's okay to admit, honor, apotheosize that now, right?) promised this great nation an American way out but is delivering chaos and continued crisis instead. Did I mention the slippery slope towards Marxist and Islamic values? No, but I should have.

Solution? Muster those thousands upon thousands of hyperactive ACORN shock troops into the business of real work instead of repeatedly putting them into situations where it is too easy to succumb to temptation and face being hauled into jail for voter registration fraud and other illegal activities, so we can energize this country with righteous industry, and get moving again. Just maybe these folks would feel good enough about themselves after an honest day's work to quit hating America. The psychological warfare going on within the Democratic Party is sad, sad how the party perpetuates the same dysfunctional thinking generation after generation upon its own constituents. Corruption is its own reward. By their fruits ye shall know them.

But rebuilding this country as a first priority is a deserving and capital idea on so many fronts. I applauded these ideas when I first heard Lyndon Larouche suggest them in a long detailed speech I heard off the television from the next room unaware of who I was hearing, about five years ago, but I was cheering nevertheless, and I applaud them now when I read them in an email from a Wall Street market analyst.

By the way, all you guttersnipes lurking in the tall tender grass of assimilation waiting to target my references and arguments with smear jelly, let you be reminded that La Rouche was bulls-eye dead-on in predicting this crisis, complete with critical numbers and important names. He knew about the economical doom headed our way years, even decades before we crashed, not unlike the Soviet splat two decades earlier, so why didn't our entrenched leadership class take heed and siphon off some intelligence in the matter instead of piling on with greed and redirection?

It is important to note that Congressman Ron Paul was also warning us years ahead of time, the lone harbinger of economic truth in Washington it appears, but did we listen, did our bankers listen, did our government listen? For all their conspiratorial and isolationist faults, both of these marginalized men of great knowledge and critical powers were right on the mark in this money game, and several other things, too, but let's stay on track, and keep to the topic at hand—trains, planes, and automobiles, oh, and infrastructure, too!

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Will America ever readjust to the train...

WE'RE ALWAYS HEARING THAT TRAINS can't survive in this country without public subsidy. That may be true. But you can say the same thing about the big banks, can't you?

Personally, I'm wondering how much of a public transportation system we could buy if we took the money we're spending bailing out Wall Street banks—$70 billion on AIG, $52.5 billion for Bank of America, and $50 billion for Citigroup, just to name three—and spent it on passenger rails.

Still, $8 billion isn't much when we're spending $50 billion propping up a single bank. And that's small potatoes compared to the $79 billon spent on highways and bridges in 2008 and the $80.2 billion spent on highways in 2009, not including spending from the stimulus package.

And sure, we drive a lot more than we ride trains, so more should be spent on highways. But public policy has pushed us away from trains and into cars for the past 60 years. If we start funding trains more, people will start riding more trains.

Now for the really bad news: If Amtrak spends that money on new railcars, it's going to have to go shopping outside our borders. Amtrak only has about 630 usable rail cars. Some are more than 30 years old. Dozens more are worn out or damaged but could be reconditioned and put into service.

But there aren't any U.S. companies that build passenger rail cars. While there are some subway car makers and trolley car makers in the United States, for passenger rail cars you have to buy from Canada's Bombadier, Germany's Siemens or France's Alstom.

Do you think maybe GM could retool and start building passenger trains? Sure, GM knows nothing about building railcars. Well, it didn't know anything about building tanks in World War II, either, and GM learned that pretty quickly. It could always partner with foreign firms—Uncle Sam didn't have a problem forcing Chrysler into a marriage with the Italians.

It's also true that GM's assembly lines are set up to put out cars at a high volume. Well, I'm sure the quarries on Easter Island were designed to turn out Giant Stone Heads as fast as possible—but sometimes, you have to change with the world before the world comes crashing down on you.

Cars Should Be Only Part of GM's Future...

It's not like I want GM to stop making cars. I just think GM should probably make a lot fewer automobiles, but much better ones. Anyone who wants to pay the giant stone head tax can still drive a gas-sucking SUV.

But GM can also make small cars, with a focus on quality, good mileage, and multiple power sources. The Japanese, Europeans, Koreans and Chinese will be making these cars, too, so GM will have its work cut out for it.

In fact, I have news for President Obama and GM: Detroit has already lost the battle over who is going to build cars. Check out this chart from Clusterstock, showing the sources of auto production in the United States:

The "transplants" are Toyota, Honda, and Nissan factories here in the United States. They may be called transplants, but they employ American workers, pay U.S. taxes and have plenty of American shareholders.

In 2002, the Detroit Big 3 produced 80 percent of 12 million cars, or 9.6 million vehicles. In 2009, they will build just over 50 percent of a total production of 5 million cars, or roughly 2.6 million vehicles. That is a plunge of about 73 percent in 7 years.

So yes, I think maybe GM should find something else to make besides automobiles.

Start Building the Transportation System of the Future...

Do you notice how oil and gasoline prices are going back up again? The recent plunge in oil was short-lived, and we're probably heading for another oil crisis by 2012 at the latest — and maybe by as early as next year.

The United States consumes around 20 million barrels of oil a day and imports roughly 65 percent of it. The amount of oil our country consumes is equal to the output of the world's two largest oil producing nations (Saudi Arabia and Russia) combined. It is absurd for a country that has less than 3 percent of the world's oil reserves to consume 25 percent of the world's produced oil—buying much of it from people who hate us!

At some point, we're going to have to move beyond oil. Maybe electric cars or alternative fuels will be the answer for some people. But trains are a cheap solution for most people.

Yeah, GM's Volt and other electric cars will be rolling off the production line in 2010 (so we're told). In the meantime, how many of Detroit's new muscle cars — the new Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang — will also be rolling off the production line? The Challenger gets 13 mpg in the city, 19 on the highway. That sucks ... gas!

I'm not trying to dictate what kind of cars people should drive. I just think gas guzzlers should pay a tax — let's call it the "giant stone head" tax, because when it comes to the energy problem this country faces, gas guzzlers are part of the problem, not the solution.

So for our $60 billion, I'd like to see GM start to build things we really need—passenger rail, as well as electrified streetcars and hybrid streetcars/buses.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs...

It's also true that a factory that makes trains won't employ as many people as a factory that makes cars. Canada's Bombardier employs 34,000 people to make trains.

On the other hand, trains don't run themselves. France's national rail company employs about 200,000 people, and France has only one-fifth the population of the United States in an area the size of Texas. Amtrak has only 18,000 employees. So a push into rail would potentially create a lot of good, middle-class jobs.

Rebuild Infrastructure...

Meanwhile, the railroad tracks themselves are a mess. Again, highways are publically funded, railroads aren't. This makes it cost far more to ship things reliably in the United States, since you have to use air or trucks, both of which are very inefficient compared to rail. I think it's time to change that.

A problem with rail is that sharing the tracks with current passenger trains is iffy at best, and virtually impossible with high-speed trains. We need to build new railroads. Building new rail would keep America's steel makers busy.

The railroads and local trolley services will need to be electrified, of course, so we can tell OPEC where they can stick their oily thumbs. Electrification is work that can be done by U.S. companies and U.S. workers.

And there's something else we need to do that will help ALL U.S. manufacturers, including GM...

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