The “Private” Sector

Back in 2008, after the usual flak campaigns from the forces of cars-first, the U.S. Congress decided to spend $2.6 billion per year to keep Amtrak, our ultra-pathetic gesture at a modern national railroad, the entity that does not even own its own tracks and deploys duct-taped rolling stock from the 1960s, operating from 2009 through 2013. Total federal train spending over those five years? About $13 billion.

At about the same time, Congress also decided to spend $25 billion on low-interest (which probably means zero or even negative interest — I haven’t been able to locate a disclosure of the terms) loans to private corporations, in order to stimulate so-called “alternative” automobile manufacturing.

This give-away, titled the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, comes, of course, on top of the scores of billions the U.S. public spends each and every year building and maintaining roadways for automobiles.

As they eagerly suck in this additional public subsidy, automotive capitalists, meanwhile, are enjoying expanding profit margins and cash flows.

Par for the course.

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Rob Guy
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Rob Guy

Thank you for setting those two observations side by side. I was just reading last week in a thread heatedly debating public transit and particularly the historic dismantling of the public railways in the United States and the one argument set out by those who felt it was a good thing was that the public railways were costing tax dollars every year well before they were dismantled but not a word of any estimation of how many tax dollars per year go into paying for more and more paved roads and potholes. Recalling that I read articles on some areas… Read more »