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.