Planners These Days…

The “US High Speed Rail Association” has plans for a 17,000-mile long high speed rail network.  The Antiplanner has the details.  All I can say is that if this were the pinnacle of rail planning (which, in fairness, it likely isn’t), well, it’d still be a horrible idea.  Let’s sink at least a trillion dollars into unprofitable routes that will be about as fast as driving but without the flexibility associated with it and at a higher cost!

Why Is This The Case?

Here is a state-level chart of political beliefs in Congress. It makes sense that some states tilt more toward the right and others more toward the left.  However, Eric Crampton asks why some states have significant overlap (North Carolina, New Mexico, Virginia, Ohio) whereas others do not.  New Mexico, Virginia, and Ohio are generally battleground states in Presidential elections as well, but other states which are usually considered close—Iowa, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—don’t have any overlap.

Sundry Economics Notes

An omnibus selection of the great and horrible.

- It’s not just the US where paying paying for teams and sporting events is a net loss to a community. People like going to games and they pay money to do it.  Meanwhile, many of the sporting activities financed by local and state governments end up losing money.

- Good thing we have Joe Biden watching things like a hawk; otherwise, people might start to wonder if it’s wise to have government handing out billions of dollars to cronies interested parties in the guise of “saving the financial markets.”

- Robert Higgs has a great find regarding anti-trust law. It’s funny because it’s true.  It’s sad because it’s true.

- Arnold Kling believes that an insurance industry-funded study noting that health care premiums will rise sharply as a result of government activity is true. Ironman, meanwhile, notes that the phase-out is going to be a huge implicit tax on the middle class:  people will find that it is more worthwhile to stay poor or not get better jobs because then they lose lots of taxpayer largess.

- Mario Rizzo and Glen Whitman finally have a final version of their critique of the New Paternalism.  I’ve been meaning to review the draft I read a while back because it’s such a great paper.  I also got to hear a podcast in which Rizzo lectured on the topic and he is very convincing.

- The Senate health care “reform” bill weighs in at 1502 pages. People who have read the entire thing:  0.  I totally trust the government on this because even on minor issues, like swine flu vaccinations, they’ve done a great job.  Oh, wait.

- While they’re at it, Democrats also want to pass Waxman-Markey, which will be yet another huge tax increase.

“You Won’t Have To Give Anything Up”

This is a left-wing wet dream. Naturally, it involves the government destroying any notion of freedom and creating a post-modern version of the medieval world.  You can’t travel (except to pre-approved locations using pre-approved methods), can’t own pets (unless you sacrifice to almighty Government), can only eat meat or buy products when almighty Government approves, etc.  But hey, at least it will lower global temperatures by 0.000001 degrees!

Don’t worry, though—the members of the almighty Government and their left-wing acolytes will be allowed to purchase indulgences and live however they want; this is just for hoi polloi.