Monday, May 16, 2005

Less than $2 billion for Amtrak. But more than $9 billion for United's pensions

This is madness.

Our governments starve passenger rail into the second-class, pokey Amtrak system. Why? Because it's a failed 'socialist' experiment. Governments can't run services efficiently, say the Bush Administration. So we spend less than $2 billion on Amtrak every year.

But United Airlines, a private company, decides to unload their pensions onto the government, and we taxpayers pick up the cost. Of NINE BILLION DOLLARS. Here's an article citing the government's estimate of the loss.

For a private company. Hey, at least it's not socialist! Who cares how much government money we throw at a company -- as long as it is privately held, it's efficient!

(Full disclosure. . .I'm following this stuff because one of my clients is the Midwest High Speed Rail Association that you can join here if you want.)

2 comments:

Cal Skinner said...

Thought provoking.

Yet, I remember doing a little calculation when the Amtrak subsidy was being increased in the late 90's. Someone was arguing we had to keep the train running to WIU because "X" number of students took it to school. I did the math and concluded the state could purchase each of the subsidize passengers a $3,000+ car for the same price.

Of course, when we get up into the billions, as we do with United's bailout, we are talking in real Dirkson terms.

Bill Baar said...

Rail Road workers have their own Federal Pension Plan that paid out about $9 billion in FY 2004 http://www.rrb.gov/opa/agency_overview.html

The United case is a good example of the need for a Federal National pension system centered around personal savings accounts.