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$16 Hamburgers and They Still Can’t Break Even

Amtrak Train StationHow privatization takes a bite out of costs and delivers better goods and services

Amtrak, the government-run railroad passenger service, sells hamburgers to its customers for $9.50 each. That’s an expensive hamburger! But even at such a price, Amtrak loses money on the deal. Hardest of all to swallow, taxpayers end up paying $16 for every burger Amtrak serves.

Over the past decade, Amtrak’s food service department alone has lost more than $800 million. The loss is primarily due to labor costs, but employee theft and waste are important factors, too. How can the company afford to squander hundreds of millions of dollars by serving food? Well, it can’t, which is why the American taxpayer is left to pick up the tab.

Amtrak-scale inefficiency and waste could not survive in the private sector. In the private sector, businesses are governed by profit and loss: If they provide a valuable product or service to consumers and use resources wisely, they will make a profit, which allows them to keep operating. If businesses are not providing a valuable product or service and are wasting resources, then they will take a loss, and if they keep taking losses, they will eventually cease to exist.

Of course, government-run businesses don’t face these constraints. Take the Post Office, for example. The U.S. Postal Service is losing $57 million every day—and a total of more than $11 billion so far this year. Yet even with these staggering losses, the USPS is able to function. How? Because of taxpayer support.

But there’s a better way to provide products and services that people want without losing money or wasting resources: privatization. Turning government services over to the private sector can improve quality and cut costs—for everything from a coffee shop to an entire city.

Trouble Brewing

For years, the federal government operated a small coffee shop called “Cups” within one of the Senate office buildings. But the coffee was bad and the customers few, and so it came as little surprise that the enterprise kept losing money.

But in 2001 “Cups” was privatized, with a husband-and-wife team, Kathy and Charlie Chung, taking over the lease. In short order, they turned the coffee shop around. Thanks to their hard work and long hours, the Chungs showed they could run a profitable business where the government could not.

Law of the Jungle

North Carolina is considering privatizing its state-owned zoo. Currently, the zoo only raises about one-third of its operating budget and has to rely on a $10 million annual subsidy. The plan is to turn the zoo over to a private operator who will replace taxpayer dollars with visitor fees, private donations, and other sources of nongovernment funding.

Several other U.S. cities, including Tulsa, Oklahoma, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Santa Ana, California, and Los Angeles are considering similar zoo privatization plans. Faced with the possibility of having to close its zoo completely, the Los Angeles City Council hopes that privatization will save up to $20 million—and the zoo—over the next five years.

Road-Tested Remedies

Another area in which cities and states are turning to private sector solutions is traffic congestion. Here, California has led the way. Back in 1995, despite the objections of state bureaucrats, a private road company turned the median strip of Highway 91 into two new lanes, instituted higher rush hour tolls, and introduced the world to the efficiencies of “congestion pricing.”

Paris, France, has enjoyed similar success, thanks to the construction of a private toll road and tunnel that speeds traffic underneath a notoriously congested part of the capital. Privatization has delivered a win-win outcome: The operating company gets to make a profit and the toll-paying drivers get to their destinations in 10 minutes instead of 45.

Urbanized and Privatized

The city of Sandy Springs, Georgia, tried something radical in 2005. It incorporated itself, effectively privatizing all government services except for the police department and the fire department.

The results? Sandy Springs has balanced its books—and then some. While many U.S. cities struggle with expensive pension obligations and other unfunded liabilities, Sandy Springs has no long-term liabilities and actually has a $21 million rainy day fund.

Reason TV created this video about the city’s accomplishments:

 

 

It is generally agreed that the government has a number of essential roles to play in order to protect our liberties. But beyond these, most functions in the economy are best conducted through private enterprise. The above examples demonstrate the power of privatization—just think of what it could do to the price of an Amtrak hamburger.

Comments

  1. Seem to forget that the reason the gov’t took over Amtrak was because it was going bankrupt in private hands-

    • LoraxofLiberty says:

      That doesn’t negate the argument above, and you apparently do not understand free enterprise. Free markets allow businesses to FAIL – then lessons are learned. Amtrak should have been allowed to fail and its assets sold off to a company capable of running railways at a profit. It would be interesting to see to what extent government regulation and/or government granted monopolies led to the private failure.

      • Anonymous says:

        except that large scale transportation infrastructure’s profit margins are so slim that any minor market fluctuation could send any company tanking. Since Amtrak is the only entity capable of amassing enough capital to actually operate long distance passenger rail, it failing would mean continuously spotty rail service as different restructured companies kept going bankrupt here and there. I’m not sure that’s what’s good for the country. You see this with airlines too, which is why those keep getting bailed out as well. If they didn’t, the bankrupt ones would just be continually acquired by bigger fish until you’re left with a real free-market monopoly that then has license to abuse or overcharge customers (which happens now anyway, but still happens less since there is still some limited competition).

        • Ben says:

          If none of the entities are able to profit by their operations, then that would tell you that the market doesn’t value the services enough to begin with. Which, again, leads to allow them to fail. If people value rail service that much than they will pay for it.

          I’m not sure about the airlines being bailed out (If I am ignorant to this then please educate me). Sure they go through bankruptcy but that’s not w/ gov’t aid. It usually leads to cutting labor union wages and becoming more efficient…

          • It’s a slightly myopic view to think because something doesn’t make a profit itself that it should be allowed to fail.

            I don’t know if Amtrak should be allowed to fail or not as I don’t know enough about the situation or Amtrak itself. But in general, infrastructure provides increased profits to other companies and therein lies the main reason for companies to be state owned in the first place.

          • ajbeen says:

            The people are paying for Amtrak via taxes and have usually supported it via elections, etc. The usual argument is that elderly people cannot take planes, etc and need to have means of getting places. What about a hybrid system, where contractors would run trains, lines, etc, but Amtrak would still administer the overall system?

          • Axlin says:

            “If none of the entities are able to profit by their operations, then that would tell you that the market doesn’t value the services enough to begin with. Which, again, leads to allow them to fail. If people value rail service that much than they will pay for it.”

            First, people *do* pay for Amtrak service. Simply visiting any Amtrak station will show you evidence of this. The article was discussing Amtrak’s food service, though, not Amtrak itself, and I believe that, in addition to mismanagement, waste, corruption, etc., a large part of the problem is that their food service is outrageously expensive (trust me, those burgers are *not* worth $9.50 to anybody in their right mind).

            Second, what you’re describing in this particular context (Amtrak) is generally known as market failure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_failure ). It’s not that there’s no demand for the service, but rather that the private industry simply cannot succeed in creating a sustainable business model in order to supply it. If we were to allow it to fail, there’s a very real chance that nothing would come up to replace it, because it simply would not have a good return on investment for a private enterprise to capitalize on. There’s a reason infrastructure is often supplied by the government, or why government often subsidizes public transportation services, and this is a big part of that explanation. Free market capitalism is great, but it’s far from perfect, which is exactly why market failures exist in the first place, being the reason that, in some types of such failures, the government must step in and either subsidize an industry or take full ownership of it (as with public roads, public protection services [police, firefighting, etc.] and public transportation).

        • Perhaps Amtraks’ problems were caused by overpricing of goods and services and mismanagement of resorces. No amount of government intervention will fix such problems. Amtrak, as well as other failing enterprise should have simply been allowed to fail, and others allowed to pick up the slack. Keynesian economics is NEVER helpful to enterprise.

          • nope again overly too broad, and wrong as American industry has been based on Keynesian, Amtrak was the government efforts to save what was failing as a private industry due to the stock takeovers where people bought them merely to sell off resource in what you make the perfect case against democracy in your ignorance.

        • nope overly too broad.

    • AlliedToasters says:

      It should have ended then. By “it,” I mean trains as a primary mode of transportation in the United States. Amtrak’s inability to turn a profit is the result of an American infrastructure that supports competing modes of transportation, specifically travel by road and travel by air. Unlike in Europe where trains are still viable, the United States offers cheap gas and a robust network of high speed freeways that allow quick transport between major cities (this is why travel by bus is usually quicker and cheaper than travel by train.) Major US cities are much, MUCH farther apart than major European cities, making air travel between cities more efficient and actually more affordable than travel by train. In Europe, hopping on a twenty minute plane ride from Zurich to Hamburg is excessive… an hour long train ride is more appropriate and efficient. A trip from New York to San Francisco is an entirely different animal and an airplane’s ability to exploit Great Circles on Earth’s spherical surface will actually decrease the DISTANCE (not just time) of the trip.
      The US government took a look at Europe’s train-driven commerce and wanted to emulated. They were gravely mistaken in comparing European commerce so closely to that of the United States and Amtrak’s continued forced existence at the expense of the US taxpayers has only hurt the US economy. I say: Stop subsidizing Amtrak and watch it die!!!!!

    • I mentioned it and add in what some also forget i:

      Amtrak is part and parcel with CONRAIL without which American industry would collapse and prices would sky rocket

      All this free speech is fine but honestly the American public is just as stupid as the public any where if that they know little and speak about what they don’t know for interests they support for reasons they are also ignorant of (eg Allied Toasters) as they ramble on about “the United States offers cheap gas and a robust network of high speed freeways that allow quick transport between major cities (this is why travel by bus is usually quicker and cheaper than travel by train.” while most truck trailers are shipped by rails for long hauls to save on gas. I know?? Cause I watched the thousands of truck trailers pass through town. (ibid. as he goes blah blah blah).

      • I agree- if it cannot survive then let it go- but if you look at what Germany did to her rail system then I say modernize it- I have flying- and build trains capable of going 200 mph so I can go from Florida to NY in a few hours instead of 24 hr like now- There are so many restrictions on Amtrak due to lawyers and regulations that it is incapable of being efficient- I think I read somewhere that it takes longer for a train to get thru Chicago then in does going from Chicago to Los Angeles

  2. Mark Gibbs says:

    In reality, large government businesses are cash cows for the elites and their buddies. In principle, not that much different from large corporations.

    • AlliedToasters says:

      Only important difference is, large corporations cannot arrest you for refusing to pay them/ buy their products. Government “businesses” can charge you as much as they like (taxes) and, if you refuse to pay, arrest you for tax evasion!

      • Cough that is why they have governments elected so you can be required to buy some downspouts for your house, trash collection services and pencils for your kids when they attend “public schools” that solely exist for the benefit of capitalists and capitalism not free enterprise (which I stipulate never existed but which was merely an integral part of the Cold War rhetoric against the USSR.

        Free enterprise never existed in AMERICA USA.
        Slavery was not free enterprise!
        Territorial expansion was not free enterprise!
        Where was the USA ever free enterprise except in some delusional self-serving nostalgic image of itself that an opinion the world never shared?

    • also, with private businesses, there’s nothing hidden about their agenda because you know they’re in business to make money. as for the government, they can keep going masking their parade under the “protection for your own good” mantra. when you don’t comply with what they see as for your own good, you can and will get punished.

  3. NB says:

    This article completely omits the important question of competition. It’s fine privatising a coffee service – if the coffee’s no good, people go elsewhere or (heaven forbid!) don’t have coffee. But privatising Amtrak is a different matter. The private operator becomes a monopoly and can operate in all sorts of ways which damage consumers. Likewise with the Post Office. Privatisation only works if you introduce proper competition, backed up by appropriate regulation in respect of essential services.

    If you need examples, look at Great Britain and its extensive privatisation program started by Margaret Thatcher. So many have been wildly successful, with telecoms the cheerleader. But there have also been disasters where inefficiencies remain, costs skyrocket and the service provided remains appalling (national rail infrastructure springs to mind). In the latter cases, it has almost always been when no competition was introduced into an essential service which required bailing out when it failed. In the former cases, it was almost always when competition was encouraged and barriers to entry were significantly lowered.

    • dconyers says:

      There is competition. You can fly or drive anywhere amtrak goes. Right now, it is often cheaper to get a plane ticket from NYC to Boston than to take the train. The postal service has competition as well with Fedex and UPS. The only reason they aren’t adding standard first class ground service is because the US taxpayer is subsidizing the unsustainable prices that USPS charges.

      • SierraRose says:

        The post office also has to deliver mail to remote areas that would not be profitable for UPS or FedEx. They can not charge these areas a higher price than they do less expensive areas. FedEx and UPS are not required to have a one price fits all system the way USPS is. Do we really want to stop mail delivery to low population density areas or require citizens living there to pay huge prices to mail a letter?

        • Yes, they can pick up their mail at the post office if need be. We can not continue to spend money we don’t have. And why would anyone want to give the government that has been proven over and over again to not have the sense to run a profitable, or at least break even business.

          • Reminds me of an uncle lecturing his because she didn’t budget her finances he said as he drove a “Volkswagon Beetle” but as most money maters go its contrived though he left out more than a few details:

            Bottom line is you can always do two things spend more as people will charge you as much as you allow them too and things can all be cheaper / more inexpensive as in free and slave labor the problem in American is not the money it is the issues related as they push the country further and further down while some find no ethical question simply because they have no ethics.

            America I am afraid to say can have all the money in the world as it once almost did but it has lost its ethical and moral foundations if it ever had any.

            In matters very relative $16 skinny hamburgers can be considered cheap if the catsup packets they served were costing $20 on the open market, so money is not the question as these issues are bogus as the real question is why does the US have some many backward policies regarding education, transportation, etc where they get bamboozled into it (overly expensive weapons systems military, and the 1940s dismantling of the Los Angeles mass transit system for the sake of highways and cars just in time for the 1970s oil crunch?

            Maybe you can make an argument for capitalism but in so far as money and profits is concerned where there are public needs and private interests there are always conflicts of interest.

            Ask why they serve for few hamburger of Amtrak in what can not justify the costs and contraindication does not satisfy the general needs of AMTRAK to generate volume.

            As of the public they are fools as no one addressed why in a railroad town my commuter trips were cut from a high point of 11 in each direction to 1 and it therefor take 18 hours to take a 60 mile trip.

            American capitalism penny wise pound foolish myopic ignorant and greedy as the can shut down all the trains and save all that money and find that India and Kenya is doing better in providing commercially needed services in a viable manner.

            Stop blaming your work force start executing the generals as there are too many jerks as chiefs and not enough indians.

          • Thank you. Thank you for saying it and even more for understanding the more serious aspects of the problem. So few people actually do.

  4. Dolmance says:

    This article is so dishonest, it’s hard to fathom why the writer would bother, unless a psychological need to engage in Right Wing claptrap, because they just can’t abide government running anything.

    The Post Office is forced, by government, to prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do. So yes, they’ve lost money all right, thanks to Republicans who want them to fail in advance.

    Now, I don’t know about AMTRAC having to do that, but I do know that hamburgers on the AMTRAC train from LA to San Diego is about $3:50 cents and that’s with cheese, like this article.

    • WOW what a tard you are. Also must be a postal worker. You are no longer needed, You are overpaid, like all government workers, you have bloated benefits and other people and tochnology.do you jobs better. Quit bashing people that are better on you moocher and get a real job

      • Dolmance says:

        You clearly have an emotional attachment to your simplistic economic/political beliefs, which I guess is bound up with your sense of identity — a common enough condition among common sorts of people, which makes your thinking and conclusions suspect, to say the least. Probably about everything.

        No, I am not associated in any way with the Postal Service, or AMTRAC. And I’m probably quite a bit smarter than yourself.

        Now, just to be clear, regarding the article; the value of a government service is not whether it makes a profit, or not. It’s purpose is to deliver a service that affects the common good. And the purpose of this article is to cast aspersions on a service that the writer of the above article would like to see abandoned, for purely philosophical reasons.

        I guess everything with you people is for sale. You must have been prostitutes in a past life.

  5. Where is the breakdown of a $16 hamburger? this is a crock of shit if this article can’t explain the costs ;ole and other business they have no business to print such a fabricated unproven story Most like;ly after years of neglect they drove off customers unwilling to pay and they do not have a volume enough to pay for full time staff. Amtrak does alot of things ass backwards eg trains with baggage cars going through small citeis without the system in place to check a few bags or so (Harrisburg – Pittsburgh) where customers are severely limited by not workers but management. What does it cost to buy a pound of chop meat and o check a bag? Yeah Yeah but this article explains nothing it is pure worthless corporate conjecture. Worker management can do it bureaucrats can not.

    • So the article has to breakdown the $16 burger for you, when the government can’t? I sure would lik to know where all of that “stimulus” money went too…

    • darius404 says:

      Where is the breakdown of a $16 hamburger?

      In charts shown during the hearing. Labor made up 60% of the costs. Before you whine about the information, you may want to learn these skills we call “reading” and “clicking links”.

      • Amercan Management are Idiot Bastards

        So you are wrong the expenses where due to management mismanaging, it’s the management stupid as simply they are assholes. Send all managers back to school and they will still be socially cloned assholes it is what draws them to management in the first place. Power money, power and money America has the worst managers because there is no balance in the culture of American economic life. As the last of the last let me honestly call you an asshole which what most managers mean when they say sorry but those are the rules as the boss could change the rules managers just implement them and CEOs just don’t interfere. That is why the passive aggressive tyrannical American economic models does not work because idiots run it implement it and conceive it rule and lord over it in what cost the American consumer more than what the Government every did.

      • What hearing? Did this idiot article mention a hearing? NO!

  6. phil says:

    propaganda against amtrak masquerading as news?

    • Amtrak has existed from 1971 to today in the backward conservative do nothing business climate that has been and it has not yet changed for the better as rhetorical legislative arguments obstructed real change in preventing any practical expansion.

      I live in a railroad town though I never worked for the railroad that once had 11 commuter trains daily where now there is only one east and one west which requires the shortest trip of 60 miles takes roughly 18 hours round trip which obstructs me from practical use of those services. Between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh that daily train has a baggage car but because all stations between the point on that route have no accommodation of checking baggage we are obstructed.

      In the cheapened political environment o Washington DC they have robbed Peter to pay Paul, and often cut off their noses to spite their faces so for a musician like me to book their facilities to tour for a year it would cost over $120,000 and the tickets for two, when all I have to do is stop to get a real hotel room where I can enjoy all that means as it is a shame. The railroads went belly up and the government stepped in to do a fairly good job though they could have done a a better job. I have traveled the rails on two continents, and even bummed a ride once on a grain car in Europe.

      Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to San Francisco with sleeping room and bathroom … costs an estimated $1049 and 68 hours traveling time when they clearly have an economic advantage in fuel savings over air travel and volume travelers over buses and could be cheaper but with out scrimping costs:

      Thinking it over what prevents me from utilizing such a service would be that often there are scheduling problems (eg a bus is required on one leg of the journey) as I imagine checking into my sleeping car and being able to stay there for the ;luxury of the entire trip where if I paid for travel and a room for a month that would mean a month straight not on and off stop and go.

      If I offered Amtrak for travel it would not be continuous service for continuous travel as they have cut the services much too much, so if they want to earn my patronage they need it as in more routes that are better served routes.

      Private corporations have been ruined the airline industry with nickle and diming the public in marketing schemes crowding customers like sardines in a New York City subway car, as marketing departments should be outlawed.

      I am sure a good deal exists but I did what is the unthinkable for the travel industry rail bus airline ship I stopped traveling as I got tired of having to pay for the pleasure of being abused.

      As the TSA, immigration and customs can all stick their flashlights up theirs, as I can stay home where I know who all the other crooks are in the neighborhood.

      • AlliedToasters says:

        Christ man, if you’re going to write a paper, at least do us the favor of including a coherent thesis and pertinent topic sentences for each of your supporting arguments. From what I can gather… You are a musician who grew up in a train town and… Amtrak’s services don’t meet your needs… So you stay home? (presumably writing long comments like this all day). Why did you feel it was important to share this information? A thesis statement would let us, the readers, know exactly what it is you are trying to prove.

        Search, “how to write a paper.” It’s really easy and helps organize your thoughts.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s a very interesting video about Sandy Springs. I think, however, that it omitted a pertinent detail: Sandy Springs’ median household income is 215% of the median income of the county it separated itself from.
    So a wealthy enclave separates itself from their poor neighbors, and residents find that they can afford to provide services even with low tax rates. No kidding.

    • That’s how it should be! The wealthy should be free to live without the poor leeching off of them. I am not wealthy, or poor, I’m a middle class person who feels everybody should take responsibility for themselves.

      • “That’s how it should be!”?? what do you need a second chance to say without being a brainless twit? Why should you speak and time after time you can be as stupid and empty as that time share rental racket promo video? It i time for people like you to shut the heck up and stop pretending you are saying a darn thing when you don’t in fact you are devoid empty and brainless!! What should it be like of literate stuttering John you never specified that? Ah 1 sec since you are playing god and starting from scratch all over again why should you get to keep a penny with out us agreeing as in lets split it all nice and equal as it was before the bastards aristocrats stole the common lands. You want to be economically free just die because economic freedom is an oxymoronoic misconception fraud and simply stupid with economics does not come freedom but rather obligations and responsibility. Weither you were on welfare of not what you are saying is a joke. Go to Alaska the old timers would not drink the water in the Chena because greenhorns like you pissed in it and someone didn’t come along to clean up your poop..

        • AlliedToasters says:

          Lol. Andrew, meet troll. Look how angry you got!
          TROLLED

        • David is definately a troll. No one is that stupid. No one. Atleast not without a reason. For example, I had been discussing the idea of free health care with a customer a while back. She insisted that we shouldnt have it becasue “I made my money myself and my money shouldnt be spent on people who didnt make theirs. If they cant afford food or healthcare or even to live, its’s their fault! They bade bad choices!” I became frustrated with this woman who is a govenment employee-paid by tax payers, who is convinced that she “made” her money herself as a book keeper of somesort at a local highschool. I’ll point out that had the school been privately owned, there is no way it would be able to afford over 50,000 a year for a glorified secretary without charging the students atleast 10,000 each for tuition–if that’s how much a book keeper makes, how much are the teachers and principals making? Anyway, we discussed her homelife and it came up that her sister is a “welfare queen.” Someone who has figured out how to cheat the system at the taxpayers’ expense and undeservingly and unnessecarily soaks up government aids and subsidies simply becasue they can-all while never working a day in ther life. This is rare, but it happens. This woman’s feeling about not providing free healthcare were not about refusing to help the needy, it had been (whether she knows is or not) about not helping her sister. It’s frustrating to hear people rant this way when wether they realize it or not, there is no such thing as self made money. Even as a business owner, you rely on employees and their sacrifices to do what you do. You rely on them coming to work each day despite the fact that you are probably underpaying them. You rely heavily on your employees, customers and everyone else including yourself to make sacrifices in order for you to make a profit. You didnt make it alone. You didnt build that. Atleast completly by yourself. Mitt Romney had been described as the guy who doesnt wave back in thanks when you kindly let him infront of you in traffic becasue in his mind, he was able to make it on his own, not becasue you stopped your car and kindly let him through. To him he did it all by himself and if you hesitated so his car could get in front of you, that’s the poor decsison you made. Theese are silly people who tend to make up the republican party. They just don’t understand that no matter where they are, they had help to get there.

  8. Misthiocracy says:

    It’s an especially expensive hamburger considering that they’re pre-packaged, microwaved hunks of crap, no better than what one might find in an old-fashioned vending machine. Really, really, really awful.

    And yet, the progs protest McDonalds instead.

  9. Misthiocracy says:

    So they’re stealing money that rightfully belongs to needy people in Atlanta?!

    Dang kulaks!

    (I’m kidding, FYI…)

  10. Peter Sharpe says:

    British Rail and BAA survived privatisation, although the effect on fares is debatable.
    Ultimately it is not going to be possible to privatise a government funded business while it’s making a loss – as a private company it’ll just go bankrupt, and all the lines will be sold off to the freight companies. If a loss-making government run business is privatised it certainly won’t be able to make a profit without significant reduction in service and numerous redundancies. But if the business can be saved, cronyism can avoided and competition encouraged, then the consumer wins. If not, everybody loses.

  11. Phillip Graham says:

    Who is John Galt?

  12. If you read the article it claims that the hamburger sells for $9.50 which is about right for a fairly fancy burger two supersized triple decker burgers at wendy’d with fries and sodas cost me $20 but and here come the big but; Where did these people figure it costs Amtrak $16 to make those $9.50 burgers? this article provides no references in accounting how that $16 cost was derived. So this ArTyculled is very questionable in fact dubious and unreliable. and the cot is more related to a fancy low volume sales restaurant than a fast food place as people are not running in and out of the dining car. AMTRAK NEEDS VOLUME it is best in providing service to a large a volume of people but but was sabotaged in being hamstrung by Congress 971 when the feds took it over because their first reaction was to cut back in services rides trips trains to the point much of the country can not use Amtrak to commute which it would do well as in the Northeast corridor.so blame the idiots who are dogmatic fiscal conservatives who preferred airlines and highways, blame truckers and bus companies blame you self for reading such a trashy article and not screaming that it is a fraud.

    Oh and Sandy Springs is a snotty exclusive middle class ghetto that exists much like most of the rest of South Africa did.except real legal like. No long term liabilities? what the hell they think they are besides a barbie in the outback with a real tight bunch of nice friendly snot nosed clicky neighbors.

  13. Mark says:

    Sometime ago the U.S. Government tried to run a tax forfeited brothel in Nevada. All they had to do was sell whiskey and pussy. They ended up closing. Go figure.

  14. Grant says:

    Is there a real need for Amtrak when buses and planes can serve our long distance mass travel needs? Greyhound, Megabus, and others offer relatively cheap for of travel over long distances. Planes are more expensive, but provide a faster form of transportation for those in a hurry. Government already subsidies both bus service through roads and as well as construction of some airports. It really does not seem necessary to also subsidize a third form of long distance mass transit. My guess is the reason we have Amtrak is because Joe Biden doesn’t want to drive, wouldn’t be caught riding a bus, and likes to show off to the people of Delaware that he can bring home the bacon for the state.

  15. The public may be damned, as it presents the best case for tyrants dictators and experts:

    If you want and explanation read my other posts this is boring me 1. Amtrak is part and parcel of the National Rail System with Conrail, Amtrak serves the community, rich people are not the only people entitled to services as in fact poor people are more important to the economy as a whole without which there is no economy, trucking trucks using highways is not an alternative since those trailer trucks travel by rail.

    This bogus article is the work of a TROLL since it never presented an accounting pof how it came to the main premised example of its argument “a $16 hamburger” which the writer has gotten most of your the America idiocy (I mean public) worked up for a skimpy half baked argument on a stupid web site called economic freedom in a country that never had economic freedom.

    Based on the cheap petty mean spirited nature of American Consumerism penny pinching for a few bargains on pay day in what is penny wise and pound foolish to which my only comment is that the USA and the Allies did not fight the main bulk of the Nazis during World War II it was the Soviet Union without which Americans would be eating sauerkraut.

    I find America and western industrial society strange in that there is no real reason why it should exists except in the short term arrogance and ignorance of what they call “democracy” “free enterprise” “freedom” and “equality” that is actually based on the privileges they enjoy but fail to tell the world about in fear that that it will be taken from them as it should be.

    So beside it being interesting for me to watch as a circus, its main actors are all clowns.

    Where would I go? What would I do? To which I answer I never asked to be born here, I never wanted the benefits of your gluttony, greed, and materialism, I have never been truly free in this land of god forsaken sham of mass marketed religion that repackaged as spiritualism, and generally all that you see is the travesty of the iniquity of people visited upon other people in the transgressions of what passes for social in the lessor of evils.

    In what I hear as one lie after another with barely a few facts sprinkled in between to keep it interesting ??? Like Satan?!

  16. ProgressiveVoice says:

    The US Post Office is losing money every day because Congress, in a totally unprecedented action, decided that USPS should fully fund all of their pension liabilities from now until 2075 and gave them only a few years to get it done. That is the ONLY reason the USPS is losing money. The Postal Service is the only gov’t service mandated by the Constitution, it was considered that important. Congress should be ashamed for their actions.

    The USPS is the only gov’t or quasi-gov’t agency that has been burden this way, EVER. It’s a transparent effort to dismantle the current postal system and turn it over to private enterprises. It is the most efficient, highest value government service in operation now or at any time in the past. 97% of all first class mail is delivered within 3 days at a cost to the consumer of $0.45. Should it be privatized, I predict within the first year, the cost will double and the service will be – well, let’s just say, they won’t come close to delivering 97% of the mail within 5 or 6 days.

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