The runaway train

I’m currently reading The Declaration of Independents, by Reason magazine’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie. It’s a good read with a compelling central thesis, and I’ll write a proper review once I’ve finished it. But for now, here’s one passage that leapt out at me.

[T]he tragedy of trains, whether ‘heavy’ or ‘light’, regular or high-speed, is that they drive politicians and otherwise sensible citizens totally off the rails when it comes to reality.


Consider the characterstic case of Cincinnati, Ohio… In 2010, Cincinatti faced a $50 million budget deficit… The incumbent state chief executive, Democrat Ted Strickland had… spent a lot of money – all he could put his hands on, in fact, plus billions more in borrowed cash – but all he had to show for it was the nation’s seventh-highest state-and-local-combined tax and the second-worst job-loss numbers in the country…

Sound familiar?

Given this shrinking pool of other people’s money, what were Cincinnati’s leaders up to? … Were they figuring out how to cut the sorts of taxes and red tape that might, at least on the margins, make their burg a slightly more attractive place to do business?

Anyone see where this is going?

Of course not. They were talking about going even deeper into debt to finance a train.

Ah, got it.