California Train Wreck

I guess that somehow, someway Californians have advanced to a higher level of intelligence and see the wisdom in choices that eludes mortals like me. Walter Russell Mead provides the details on the explosion in cost estimates for the state’s high speed rail train while the WSJ weighs in on the imminent imposition of a carbon cap-and-trade regime.

The new train is now supposed to cost around $100 billion which is up a bit from the $43 billion price tag that the California voters bought into. Projected ridership goes from 55 million down to 37 million and magically the system is expected to be profitable. I haven’t read the full report and don’t intend to but if any readers want to wade through it please let me know how they conjured a profit out of a system that costs more than twice as much as planned with 33% fewer riders.

Meanwhile, California is joining that paragon of economic dynamism — the European Union — and imposing a cap-and-trade tax that requires a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020. The Governator opened the door to the folly in 2006 and apparently no one thought to close it. Naturally the technocrats are dead set on seeing it through to its disastrous consequences, the scope of which even the unions are beginning to recognize:

Now even unions are catching on to the damage. The Los Angeles Times reports that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) gave final approval to the new scheme two weeks ago after listening to “scathing comments from union workers fearful of losing their jobs.” Hard-hat union members from the steel, concrete and oil and gas industries were among the opponents. Charles McIntyre, president of an association of the glass workers union and companies, told the CARB hearing that “these manufacturers are spending millions of dollars every year to meet different requirements and different standards. Well, this is starting to cost us a lot of jobs.”

Kill your jobs machine and commit to spend a fortune that you don’t have, like I said, they must know something that we don’t. Is this how the Greeks managed to screw the pooch?

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