There’s been lots of bad news lately. But our country is strong and our economy is strong. We’ll pull through.
I’m not so sure about certain parts of the economy, though. In particular, I’m not so sure about a certain giant socialistic company called Amtrak. The reason is the red ink that Amtrak spills year after fiscal year.
Congress keeps threatening to pull the plug on subsidies to Amtrak, saying it better balance the books or else. But then, the very next time Amtrak admits it is losing money and needs more of our tax dollars, Congress bails them out anyway.
Amtrak has scooped up over $25 billion in subsidies over the 30 years of its existence. And now things are getting really ridiculous. Some lawmakers in Washington now want to pour $3.2 billion into Amtrak’s coffers even though Congress has “instructed” the company to whip itself into shape by 2002.
Of course, Congress won’t allow Amtrak to cut any of the unprofitable routes. To top it all off, some legislators are selling this $3.2 billion as “emergency money.”
The airlines got emergency bailouts because they lost riders in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, Amtrak has gained riders. Get it?
Whereas up until now Amtrak was burdened with too little business, now it’s suffering from too much. Whatever.
But if an enterprise can’t survive with customers, maybe it’s time to let others try this job without the subsidies. People do ride trains, and pay for tickets.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.