HOT AIR TODAY:
About China’s high-speed rail edge ….
Barack Obama has spent the past two years scolding Americans on our lack of progress on high-speed rail, using China as a yardstick — or more appropriately, a ruler with which to rap our knuckles. Almost exactly two years ago, Obama announced his intention to spend tens of billions of dollars in catching up to China and Europe in subsidizing the rail lines and systems for high-speed transport. “My high-speed rail proposal will lead to innovations that change the way we travel in America,” Obama said in April 2009, saying of China that it “may have more miles of high-speed rail service than any other country just five years from now.”
Or maybe not, as the Washington Post’s Charles Lane reports after his trip to see the project first-hand. The vaunted high-speed rail project pushed by Beijing has collapsed into a morass of embezzlement and failure (via Jonah Goldberg):
For the past eight years, Liu Zhijun was one of the most influential people in China. As minister of railways, Liu ran China’s $300 billion high-speed rail project. U.S., European and Japanese contractors jostled for a piece of the business while foreign journalists gushed over China’s latest high-tech marvel.
Today, Liu Zhijun is ruined, and his high-speed rail project is in trouble. On Feb. 25, he was fired for “severe violations of discipline” — code for embezzling tens of millions of dollars. Seems his ministry has run up $271 billion in debt — roughly five times the level that bankrupted General Motors. But ticket sales can’t cover debt service that will total $27.7 billion in 2011 alone. Safety concerns also are cropping up.
But hey, the trains still run on time, don’t they? Not exactly:
Faced with a financial and public relations disaster, China put the brakes on Liu’s program. On April 13, the government cut bullet-train speeds 30 mph to improve safety, energy efficiency and affordability. The Railway Ministry’s tangled finances are being audited. Construction plans, too, are being reviewed.
Liu’s legacy, in short, is a system that could drain China’s economic resources for years. So much for the grand project that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times likened to a “moon shot” and that President Obama held up as a model for the United States.
Even with substandard materials and shoddy construction, the system faces annual shortfalls of billions of dollars. Now the system runs a lot slower, although the price isn’t likely to decline, and bus service will look better and better to the working class the high-speed rail was supposed to serve. The pricing is why the train services mainly the wealthy and foreigners even with the massive subsidies for its operation.
AND WE FIRST POSTED ON OBAMA'S LOVE FOR CHINA IN 2008!
Friday, February 18, 2011
NO WONDER OBAMA LOVES HIGH-SPEED RAIL...NO WONDER OBAMA LOVES HIGH-SPEED RAIL:Railways Ministry, Liu Zhijun built a commercial and political colossus that spanned continents and elevated the lowly train to a national symbol of pride and technological prowess.
His abrupt sacking by the Communist Party is casting that empire in a decidedly different light, raising doubts not only about Mr. Liu’s stewardship and the corruption that dogs’s vast public-works projects, but also, perhaps, the safety, financial soundness and long-term viability of a rail system that has captured the world’s attention.
Mr. Liu, 58, was fired Saturday and is being investigated by the party’s disciplinary committee for “severe violations of discipline,” a euphemism for corruption. His high government rank — minister-level officials are rarely fired under such a cloud — hints at far deeper dissatisfaction with one of China’s most publicized and sweeping domestic initiatives.
Until last week, Mr. Liu had led China’s program to lace the nation with nearly 8,100 miles oflines and to build more than 11,000 miles of traditional railroad lines. The sheer size and cost of the endeavor — the investment has been estimated at $750 billion, some $395 billion for high-speed rail alone — has led experts to compare it to the transcontinental railroad that opened the American West.
hailed China’s program in his and called for the United States to move quickly on high-speed rail plans that had been repeatedly delayed by budget concerns and political infighting.
REPEAT:hailed China’s program in his and called for the United States to move quickly on high-speed rail plans that had been repeatedly delayed by budget concerns and political infighting.ONE OF THE PRIMARY REASONS EVERYONE SHOULD SUPPORT SMALL/LIMITED GOVERNMENT IS THAT BIG GOVERNMENT ALWAYS LEADS TO CORRUPTION AND WASTE.
THAT'S WHY BREZHNEV SOCIALISTS LIKE OBAMA AND HIS CRONIES IN THE GOVERNMENT UNIONS LIKE BIG GOVERNMENT.
IT'S THE CORRUPT LEECH-LIKE AXIS IF TAXES AND TO PUT AN END TO IT THE NATION MUST FOLLOW THE LEADS OF GOVERNORS WALKER AND CHRISTIE - AND YES: EVEN CUOMO.
GOVERNMENT UNIONS MUST BE THROTTLED.
OBAMA ISN'T LEADING; HE SHOULD GET OUT OF THE WAY.
Posted by Reliapundit @ 10:59 AM
REGULAR READERS KNOW THAT WE SCOOP THE BIGGIES ALL THE TIME.
SPREAD THE WORD.