Friday, February 13, 2009


Obama has a plan for herding his cattle (or should that be sheeple) into cities where they will be more amenable to Democrat machine politics.

That’s why I’d like to see high speed rail where it can be constructed. That’s why I would like to invest in mass transit because potentially that’s energy efficient and I think people are alot more open now to thinking regionally in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The days where we’re just building sprawl forever, those days are over.
People live where they live because of a number of factors. Affordability, commute distance, schools, neighborhood quality, taxes, etc. So what would a new rule look like? Dwellings must be built within x miles of a train station. Of course those who decide what routes the trains will take can make a fortune by adjusting where the stations are located.

There is no doubt government can prevent people from living where they choose to live. All Hail Obama who totally gets the Leadership Principle. I think it sounds better in the original German.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values


jj mollo said...

So if people can make millions by slightly shifting the course of a high speed railroad, does that suggest that the railroad provides value? It's the same with new highways. People can make big money by fast-tracking a new section of the highway, or preserve their economic clout by hindering its completion. I certainly saw both effects when I lived in Washington, DC. Although the Metro has been outrageously expensive to build, you don't have to ride it very often to realize how much it enhances the whole experience of being in Washington. Value added is enormous. They charge for it, but they could never charge enough to pay for it. Society benefits because the value to people is much higher than they actually pay, and because the value of land around the metro-stops has soared over the last couple decades. I suppose it also benefits from the reduction in highway traffic, but the reason you build it is the amount of time that it saves people. Apartments near metro stops can be as expensive as those in New York.

M. Simon said...

Real value or rent seeking? Not the same.

M. Simon said...

On top of that if there was real value no law would need to be passed to realize it. Venture capital would be lining up to invest.

And what of folks who can't afford to live in the high priced government enclaves? Or those who don't want to.

Do we continue to create a system where only the very rich have choices?

jj mollo said...

There's certainly enough rent-seeking behavior going on, and re-locating metrostops to enrich some politician is an example, but that doesn't mean that these kinds of investments don't provide real value. In the case of the Metro, I'm talking about enormous value.

Why don't venture capitalists design a Metro for some other city? Well, we both know that they wouldn't get real far without running into some governmental roadblocks. That's where the real rent-seeking would come in. Just think about the right-of-way issues. Besides, I don't think anyone except the government could fund such a thing. Who's going to build an interstate highway?

We'll have to see how far T. Boone Pickens gets with his project.

The line about "high priced government enclaves" just proves my point. If you build something valuable enough, it is a fact of life that people will fight to be first in line. The people with money will always win that battle. Nevertheless, an awful lot of poor people ride the Metro and I95 as well.

M. Simon said...


The government has found a way to turn ordinary vegetable matter into commodities worth their weight in gold.

Restricting supply is not the same as adding value.

I could add "value" to food production by licensing entry into the food production field and limiting entry. No home gardens without a license. Similar to what is done to taxi medallions. That adds no real value - except to the government and the medallion owners. The public of course is screwed because a ride in a taxi bears very little relationship to market forces and a big relationship to government forces.

M. Simon said...


As to poor people: it may be cheaper just to give them the money.

Or how about a computer and an internet connection?