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The New Hooverism versus High Speed Rail

by BruceMcF Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 05:49:58 AM EST

European Tribune Train Blogging and Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee asks:

Is this the time to launch construction of a high-speed railroad line between Northern and Southern California that will cost at least $40 billion, much of it from bonds to be repaid from a state budget that's already gushing red ink?

Yes, say its fervent advocates, contending that a bullet train, similar to those in Europe and Japan, will reduce air and auto congestion, reduce greenhouse gases and generate many billions of dollars in economic benefits.

Dan Walters then throws all the complaints about the California HSR project he can find into a big pot, and stirs. Underneath the individual "points", lies the main New Hooverist thesis ... in hard times, we cannot afford to invest in the future.

Diary rescue by Migeru


Robert Cruickshank at the California HSR blog debunks Dan Walters exercise point by point, but starts out by taking aim at the New Hooverist thesis and landing a bulls-eye:

What do the Golden Gate Bridge, Shasta Dam, and the Central Valley Water Project have in common? They are all products of the Great Depression. At a time when both California and the federal government were strapped for cash and suffering the effects of a major economic downturn, government decided to use infrastructure projects to provide economic recovery in both the short and the long term. Each project continues to provide economic activity 70 years later. Each has paid for itself many times over.

In other words, as Robert's blog title says, Now is the Perfect Time to Build a Railroad.

Now, I am one of those advocates of HSR ... at all three levels ... that Dan Walters is arguing against. But the plain fact is, you don't have to be an advocate of a particular project to see the point that now is the time to find big infrastructure projects to build the New Energy Economy. You only have to look at the current account ... the trade and income balances between the United States and the Rest of the World. The collapse of household spending and calming of oil prices has pushed the US balance of trade (and overall current account deficit) to just about its lowest level since we opted for the corporate-profit-oriented version of NAFTA.

And we still have our structural dependency on energy imports. We still remain exposed to the risk that if the rest of the world recovers before we do, the oil price spike that follows will prevent us from seeing robust recovery until we fix the problem.

Even though the "top notch" economists believe that in the "long run" the economy will automatically tend toward full employment (dKos comment) ... that is only belief. Since it is built into their models rather than emerging from the empirical evidence, there is no reason to trust them as opposed to the lessons of economic history (which, it should be noted, "top notch" economists are no longer required to study), that economic downturns can indeed be followed by extended periods of high unemployment, unless government takes action to address the critical economic challenges facing the nation.

And, yes, we have to keep debunking both those dedicated to the New Hooverism and their fellow travelers, like the fervent contra-advocates of investment in the most energy efficient commercially viable form of inter-regional transport for a transport task over the distance separating the Bay from the LA Basin ... electric Express HSR. Such as "Morris Brown" at the California HSR blog, who jumps in with a comment including this rhetorical gem:

Now Robert is quite willing to claim that SJ was being effectively by-passed with Altamont, but what about Sacramento being effectively being cut off from SF by the Pacheco routing.

Those are two cities that are 79 miles apart as the crow flies ... even an alignment that doubles that distance leaves them a "mere" 160 route miles apart. That is, after all, why the current Capital Corridor route is successful in attracting ridership.

Now, this certainly is a distance that will benefit from trains traveling faster than 79mph ... but 110mph or 125mph is fast enough to reap most of the benefit. Pretending that 220mph trains are required to prevent Sacramento from being "cut off" from San Francisco ...

... well, as I replied at the California HSR blog:

How can you pretend to be writing about a HSR project while ignoring differences in distances between locations? Sacramento and San Francisco are not far enough apart to require 220mph trains to yield trips of under two hours, let alone under three hours. 110mph and 125mph is plenty fast enough for that transport task.

By contrast, effectively linking the LA Basin and the Bay by rail, which is more capital efficient than the equivalent air and ground inter-regional transport capacity under current energy costs, and less exposed to the risk of crude oil price shocks, requires 220mph Express HSR rail technology.

So "cutting off Sacramento from San Francisco" is just an empty rhetorical flourish, and using it brands the user as either ignorant or willing to deceive in pursuit of his objectives. Misled or misleading ... the only third option is "or both".

The New Hooverism is well entrenched in the vested interests of the large transnational corporations, and supported by a broad network of lackeys, paid henchmen, and those who have fallen for the frames of argument that they have invested so much time and effort in putting into place.

If we hope to bring about the Brawny Income-led Recovery, we must find ways to cooperate in uprooting the New Hooverism.

Display:
Feel free to jump in at the CAHSR blog to point out any point that I may have missed.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 02:10:29 PM EST
Underneath the individual "points", lies the main New Hooverist thesis ... in hard times, we cannot afford to invest in the future.

Keynes:

Thus we are so sensible, have schooled ourselves to so close a semblant of prudent financiers, taking careful thought before we add to the 'financial' burdens of posterity by building them houses to live in, that we have no such easy escape from the sufferings of unemployment. We have to accept them as inevitable results of applying to the conduct of the State the maxims which are best calculated to 'enrich' an individual by enabling him to pile up claims to enjoyment which he does not intend to exercise at any definite time.
Why is it that we need to fight again the same battle Keynes had to fight 80 years ago?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 04:10:14 PM EST
Migeru:

Why is it that we need to fight again the same battle Keynes had to fight 80 years ago?

Because after a long run, Keynes is dead.

by Magnifico on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 04:23:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... out of living memory, where it was far harder to avoid the backlash when presenting proposals, beneath the spin and clever words, to do an economic policy reset to before the Great Depression.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 04:33:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics is an academic discipline... it should have a longer memory.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 04:37:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since economic history is not required to be a "top notch" economist, nor is economic doctrinal history (aka History of Thought) ... the current elite of the economic profession primarily consists of people who did not waste time in acquiring that memory.

Indeed, its frowned upon to read books as opposed to articles, so much of the primary work pre-WWII is beyond the pale, even for the "top-notch economist" that has not learned second hand that it is of no interest.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 04:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting that economists don't read the classics, but like to (mis)quote them all the same. I had a couple of discussions with the late rdf on the topic.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 04:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... so if a journal article gets a misquote or quote out of context successfully in print, that has much more chance of getting quoted by an economist than the actual quote from The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, or Theory of Business Enterprise, or The Theory of Economic Development.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 05:27:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Late?
Is he really dead?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 09:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we are not the object of a rather sinister joke, yes.

It was announced in July:

European Tribune - Curmudgeonly reminiscences open thread

Jérôme received some bad news yesterday:
My father posted to your site under the moniker 'rdf' fairly frequently; he often pointed me at his postings there and the ensuing conversation with some pride.

He's just died, and I wanted to let your community know. Knowing him he wouldn't want a huge fuss, but perhaps people there will miss one extra curmudgeon.

Alex

Feel free to pay your respects to rdf in the comments, but let's not make a lot of fuss about it :-)


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 12:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my.
I'm so sorry.

I first read his writings at Mark Thoma's. His voice there was one of the few sane ones remaining. Yes, I'll miss him greatly.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 05:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by "the late rdf".

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 07:45:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Read on until A swedish kind of death's reply to the same question from Cyrille...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 07:50:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, not usually so stupid.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 08:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not stupidity but asynchronous communication.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 01:20:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That may be the case in the physical sciences, but economics is social science. Since Keynes, countless careers were built purporting to debunk Keynes.

Friedman, for example, is the academic economic equivalent of a Professor Creationist who comes along and says Darwin was totally wrong and then goes on to change biology after his own twisted agenda.

Take this glowing take on Friedman after he died in 2006 by Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Neocon Post, Friedman Debunked the Gospel of Keynes.

In this respect you can say that Milton Friedman, who died yesterday, was the greatest economist of our time. He was not simply the most influential economist since Keynes, but a worthy successor, building on Keynes's insights even as he discredited key aspects of Keynesian economic management.

In the 1950s, as socialism was gaining credence around the world and Keynesian thinking dominated economics textbooks, Friedman's skepticism about government management of the economy was viewed as nothing short of heresy. But by the mid-1970s, as the country was beset by stagnant growth and high inflation, it became clear the Keynesian model had played itself out. Suddenly, Friedman's ideas didn't look so kooky.

"I grew up in a Keynesian household," recalls Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary and Harvard president whose mother and two uncles were respected economists. "And as an undergraduate, I was taught an economics that had demand but no supply." But in time, says Summers, it dawned on him and most others in the profession that Keynesian theory was not so much wrong as incomplete.

There in three paragraphs is why Obama is in WAY over his head and why the battles Keynes fought have to be fought over again.

In the long run, we're fucked.

by Magnifico on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 05:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is clearly way over his head. That's why he has to resort to advisers. Who, being economists, invariably tell him to keep digging.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 05:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The notion that the Economics of Keynes involved demand but no supply is another example of economists either not reading the original or counting on their audience not having read the original.

Now, clearly, there was a "Keynesian" economics that had a severely flawed supply side model, but that was the result of Samuelson and his fellow travelers in Cambridge, MA, trying to develop a hybrid version of the Keynesian theory of effective demand and the mainstream microeconomics that Keynes debunked ... that is, the approach that Joan Robinson referred to as "bastard Keynesian economics".

And after that became known as "Keynesian economics", we could get to a generation so ignorant of the classics that their idea of completing Keynes was to add back in the arguments that Keynes had thoroughly debunked in the General Theory.

In Grad School, I read the General Theory four times ... once in Macro, once in History of Thought, once in American Economic History and once on my own account. But that was in a third tier school, and one of the few PhD programs were one could still study Institutional Economics. In the elite schools, the Macroeconomists never "waste time" with such things, since they have to master the phony statistics that counts as Macroeconometric and the fallacious mathematical modeling that counts as arguing about macroeconomics.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 05:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What this comment thread, from Mig's first comment to this one, is that it is not just re-fighting, (and winning), the battles that Keynes fought and won, but discrediting the faux economics that has been erected to disguise the nature of the existing economy.  Unfortunately, it has infested the elite universities, which is hardly surprising, considering the history of the role of founders and endowment grantors in the erection of Neo-Classical Economics from the late 19th century on.  A daunting task.

When my friends got masters in economics at the U.of Arizona, each of them in turn taught the History of Economic Thought out of Shumpeter.  Is there anything as competent that brings the field up to at least the 90s?  And is there any demand.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 09:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that it is not just re-fighting, (and winning), the battles that Keynes fought and won, but discrediting the faux economics that has been erected to disguise the nature of the existing economy

That was the fight that Keynes fought. He only gained a partial victory ... in part, of course, due to working himself to exhaustion on wartime public finance during WWII. Much of his General Theory is in direct contradiction with the pure utility theory of consumer behavior, and the effort of the 1950's to reconstruct a Keynesian theory of effective demand on a utility theoretic foundation implied the loss of much of the most important parts of Keynes' General Theory.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 10:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't like a theory that is built on bedrock, rebuild it on sand.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 11:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... theory built on bedrock, but all your friends insist on building on sand.

It then becomes, of course, the flaw of the original building design that it sags and breaks when built on a sand foundation.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 12:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With "friends" like those----

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 01:06:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The Drum Beat of a New Nation


Fri, 07/17/2009 - 12:02pm — Stirling Newberry

. . . The promise of hope is less visible, simply because it has no billionaires backing it. That promise is that after the torrential wash of the Republican swing that will follow Obama's time in power, be it 4 or 8 years, America will be faced with a very stark choice. China's patience is not forever: When they can make cars and have built enough roads, they will open their domestic demand. They are using this economic crisis the way FDR did: to develop for the future. They are building the equivalent of their interstate highway system. This crisis is the compression stroke of an engine that will expand. Already global growth, and global resource inflation, are driven from China.

It should also be noted that China is simultaneously engaged in a massive program of building urban rail transit systems.

With the support of policies, the enthusiasm for constructing urban rail transit is booming. Up to the end of 2005, subway and light rails have been built in tens of cities in China like Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dalian, Changchun, Wuhan, Chongqing and Nanjing. Among more than 40 cities with the population of over 1 million, over 30 cities began to prepare for urban high-speed rail construction. And about 14 cities have already submitted urban rail transit network programming, aiming at building 55 lines with the total length of about 1500 kilometers. The total investment on these lines hits RMB 500 billion.

http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/357274/china_rail_transit_industry_report_2006_2010
by NBBooks on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 at 08:56:24 PM EST
And, simultaneously with the massive program of building urban rail transit systems, they also engage in a massive program of constructing/upgrading/electrifying a dozen mainline corridors (most running North-South or East-West).

And, simultaneously with the massive electrification/upgrade/expansion of the conventional network, they are engaged in a massive program of constructing a high-speed line network (Beijing-Harbin, Beijing-Shanghai, Beijing-Hong Kong, Lanzhou-Zhengzhou-seacoast: large parts of all are in construction, some in operation). In a few years, China will outstrip both Europe and Japan in total high-speed line length.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 06:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with Stirling on this topic. He has a "big picture" view which is always insightful and fascinating, but he makes this a US consumer/China story exclusively, with Europe being "US consumers in drag," ie while Europe has focused on high-end goods and quality stuff, it is still, ultimately, pulled by US demand.

I think he, like many others, underestimate Europe's self-sustainability. As a unit, it is not that open to the outside world, and its trade is roughly in balance (even if that hides big differences between Germany and the Netherlands on one side, and Spain, the UK on the other).

European demand is holding up - because it is (aside from a couple local bubbles) still mostly based on real incomes, with a less unequal repartition - and because governments have never stopped investing in infrastructure.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 11:51:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... easy to lapse into that, but when intra-EU trade is factored out, the picture changes dramatically.

But an observer actually has to do the sums ... they  can't just take "average gross export share" and "average gross import share" and think that it describes de facto exports and de facto imports, given that the Eurozone in particular is ever more a single federal economy.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 02:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
San Francisco-Sacramento? The current track distance seems to be 95 miles, that's 153 km. At 200 km/h max, should be a little over one hour. Would be a definite improvement relative to the current three hours. Full high-speed would cut another half an hour or so.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 06:56:36 AM EST
I don't think Express HSR (in the new US DoT terminology) would cut half an hour from Emerging/Regional HSR (again, in the new US DoT terminology) ... especially Sacramento / San Francisco, where taking a bus from San Francisco allows catching the Capital Corridor through Oakland and north fairly directly to Sacramento, while the alternative Express HSR alignments would have to head south and either go over a repaired Dumbarton rail bridge to get out of the Bay on the Pacheco alignment, or go all the way to San Jose and then up the east side of the Bay.

Indeed, SF / Sacramento via the Pacheco alignment gives up miles compared to the capital corridor (which is not an Express HSR option) precisely because of the need to get down to Menlo Park at least ... going 30 km south at a minimum (and on what cannot in any event be a 300km/h alignment until getting west of Freemont).

So the majority of the improved speed/service is available for lower capital cost with upgrading the Capital Corridor north of Oakland to an Emerging HSR corridor and providing (for the south Bay) the proposed "commuter overlay" from San Jose to Sacramento via the Pacheco pass to the Express HSR corridor in the Central Valley as a Regional HSR corridor.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 01:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Express HSR (in the new US DoT terminology) would cut half an hour from Emerging/Regional HSR (again, in the new US DoT terminology)

I was thinking of a hypothetical route with a second Transbay tunnel, not the discussed options.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 03:01:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, the direct route to Sacramento from the LA Basin is directly up the Central Valley, not via a detour through San Francisco ... where ridership to or from Fresno / Bakersfield / LA would gain a substantial benefit from the 350km/hr Express HSR corridor, by contrast a 160km/hr-200km/hr "Emerging HSR" or "Regional" HSR" corridor between the Bay and Sacramento is something that nobody in their right mind could refer to as being "cut off" ... as the author of the article claims.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 07:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot to reply to this. I should have made clear that nothing I wrote was intended as a counter-argument to your points; more an attempt to enumerate what that anti-HSR propagandist and you were talking about. I did not say but I thought it actually stressed your point: an "Emerging HSR Corridor" would bring radical improvements and would be enough to beat all other modes of transport; and relative to that, HSR would cut only half an hour extra.

What's not clear to me (and I submit I am not up to date about CaHSR planning ever since Obama's election): is an "Emerging HSR" or "Regional HSR" proposed for that route by any official party?

Further, more questions I'm not too clear about: how does that corridor look today? I mean things like number of tracks, level of use by trains, number of level crossings, limits to widen the right-of-way posed by buildup. These would influence the relative cost of a line upgrade (with or without the addition of extra tracks) and a whole new line. I suspect tho' that one hour could bew cut off the 3-hour schedule with relatively little effort.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 24th, 2009 at 06:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which route?

As far as I can tell, the Pacheco pass "commuter overlay" refers to some form of rapid rail corridor, rather than a 79mph (~125km/hr) Amtrak style route, but as that seems to have been a consolation prize for losing the alignment fight, and was not part of the Stage 1 corridor that is going ahead under the Prop1A bond funding guidelines, its more amorphous than Stage 1.

At the same time, the long term plan (to the extent that the ongoing extended California budget crisis permits it) for the Capital Corridor is also on a track to nudging it into the "Emerging HSR" tier.

As far as I understands, one difference between the "Emerging" and "Regional" ... other than the escalating energy efficiency advantage to electric traction ... is that the level crossing standard for 110mph (~175km/hr) is already in place (quad gates, speed sensitive gate closing, etc.), while the 125mph (~200km/hr) level crossing standard, the "hardened" level crossings, is not fully fleshed out.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 24th, 2009 at 12:12:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which route?

Sorry; SF to Sacramento direct. (Or, have I misunderstood the anti-HSR campaigner, and he meant an around-the-bay route, using HSR branches?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 25th, 2009 at 05:50:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are all a bit round about, if there is no new tunnel under the bay, but the Altamont commuter overlay would be the most direct route ... and it would be 110mph or 125mph (~175km/hr - ~200km/hr). If it had been part of the main corridor, SF/LA, that would have been a 220mph (~350km/hr) corridor, once it got across to the East Bay.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 02:05:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Full high-speed would cut another half an hour or so. "

Not a chance. 300 km/h is not reached instantly and requires braking (on top, of course, of very straight tracks). Going from 200 to 300 max over such a short distance would be more showing off than useful.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 09:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks your inference is very Paris-centred :-)

Theoretially:

  • 150 km is not short, even on high-speed terms: acceleration to 300 km/h can be done under 20 km (IC 3/Siemens Velaros), braking under 5 km, leaving 125 km for full-speed travel. That would make a travel time around 35 minutes.
  • Since the hypothetical SF-Sacramento full high-speed line would need to start in a new tunnel at the SF end anyway, the above is pretty close to what would be attained there.
  • If, as in the case of Paris, the high-speed lines actually start some 10-25 km away from the terminal, 300 km/h could still be attained on at least 80 km, though travel time would go up to 50 minutes (and time savings vs. 200 km/h go down).

In practice:
  • There are distances between high-speed stops much shorter than 150 km. As an example, check Nozomi trains on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen: this is the fastest service, but the most it goes between stops is 192 km.
  • Check the World Speed Survey 2007: France holds the record for average start to stop travel speed with a TGV ride over a distance of 167.6 km, Japan is second with one over 144.9 km.
  • As for entire lines: Nürnberg-Ingolstadt in Germany and Córdoba-Málaga in Spain are both around 170 km; Antwerp-Amsterdam is 153 km; High Speed 1 in Britain (from London to the Channel Tunnel) is 108 km; Mannheim-Stuttgart, which is one of the first in Germany, is just under 100 km; Turin-Novara is also just under 100 km (with the full Turin-Milan distance 150 km, of which 125 will be high-speed); Leuven-Ans in Belgium is 65 km (as part of a 100 km Brussels-Liège line).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 01:59:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(In the detailed tables of the the World Speed Survey 2007, you'll find trips with start-to-stop average speeds above 200 km/h for distances just short of 60km.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 02:49:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"150 km is not short, even on high-speed terms: acceleration to 300 km/h can be done under 20 km (IC 3/Siemens Velaros), braking under 5 km, leaving 125 km for full-speed travel. That would make a travel time around 35 minutes."

Which is a gain of ... tadam : 12.5 minutes from a 200km/h assuming it takes as long to accelerate to 200 as it takes to accelerate to 300

So, in reality, something like 10 mn.

Yes, let's build a major infrastructure for 10mn. In the US of all places that has, well, all the infrastructure needing to be buit again.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 05:20:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is a gain of ... tadam : 12.5 minutes from a 200km/h assuming it takes as long to accelerate to 200 as it takes to accelerate to 300

So, in reality, something like 10 mn.

  1. That correction is in the other direction, upwards...
  2. In the SF to Sacramento case, the 200 km/h option considered doesn't include a new Transbay Tunnel: 200 km/h would apply only from Oakland. Hence, half an hour altogether.

Yes, let's build a major infrastructure for 10mn.

It is interesting that debates are often mis-framed this way: as one only about time savings. But there is capacity, too: it has to be considered if the old line has enough capacity/enough place for extra tracks when 200 km/h trains ( = long brake distances = long block distances) and 60 km/h trains traverse the same line.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 07:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(On the acceleration difference: with an ICE3, from 200 km/h to 300 km/h would take around 12 km and a bit over 3 minutes, vs. 3:36 for te same distance at 200 km/h -- that adds half a minute. However trains for 200 km/h max have less power and thus less acceleration at higher speeds, so 0 to 200 km/h has to be counted, too. Based on a Pendolino, let's assume 3 1/4 minutes and 6.9 km for that, leaves 11.5 km at full speed, so 6.7 minutes total vs. the 5.3 for the ICE.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 07:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is now PN to the extreme; but, while I based the above on memory and a slightly different set of data used in Transrapid-ICE3 comparisons, I took the data below from an official speed profile I have at my workplace. (Note: newer Velaros, Shinkansens and Alstom's AGV are even better, but I don't have the profiles.)

0 to...DistanceTime
100 km/h:655 m47 s
200 km/h:4209 m128 s
300 km/h:19382 m339 s

Now,

  • If this ICE3 accelerates only to 200 km/h, it would cover the same 19382 m in 401 seconds, thus the time saving when going for 300 km/h is one minute.

  • Let's do the Pendolino a bit more precisely, too: 0 to 200 km/h is 6800 m and 192 s. With the remainder of the 19382 m at 200 km/h, that's altogether 418.5 s. Thus, the time saving relative to that when going for 300 km/h with an ICE3 instead is about 1 1/3 minute.

  • Locomotive-pulled trains would accelerate even slower. As a model, however, I choose a high-speed train with powerhead at one end, for which I have the speed profiles: the ICE2. This one goes from 0 to 200 km/h in 7327 m and 213 s. Altogether 440 s then over the 19382 m; and the ICE3 saves 1 2/3 minutes on that.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 04:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the SF to Sacramento case, the 200 km/h option considered doesn't include a new Transbay Tunnel: 200 km/h would apply only from Oakland.

No Transbay tunnel, and I'd expect some curves and intermediate city crossing sections remaining less than 200 km/h. However, I did not take into account that the Transbay Tube is BART, and there must be a transfer... so the time savings of full 350 km/h high-speed could even be somewhat more than half an hour.

Of course, back to the original debate with BruceMcF, I was not arguing for the necessity of such a line: the envisioned upgrade to 200 km/h would be a significant enough improvement already.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 01:41:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither does the 300km/hr considered involve a transbay tunnel ... the 200km/hr option consists of putting a 200km/hr corridor along the same alignment planned for the 300km/hr corridor, to meet up with the Stage 2 corridor from Merced to Sacramento to form a Sacramento / LA corridor.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 11:14:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You explained that a month ago -- but the point where Cyrille caught up the discussion again was my own earlier comparison of hypothetical options I put up myself.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 01:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But a hypothetical Regional HSR 200km/hr to Sacramento would be a short alignment, since it could go through a standard gauge transbay tunnel, and along the Capital Corridor ... so a "hypothetical" 200km/hr SF/Sacramento under the Bay would be fewer route miles than a "hypothetical" 300km/hr alignment via Altamont.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 04:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But, again, the hypothetical 350 km/h version [which became 300 km/h after Cyrille's reply] I put up in the top-level comment a month ago (the one Cyrille responded to), back when I didn't yet really got what options you and this "Morris" guy were comparing, was not via Altamont but across a new Transbay tunnel.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 05:54:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whether its your hypothetical 300km/h version via a new Transbay Tunnel or the assessed Altamont alignment option, the alignment would still be via Altamont ... for one thing, wherever the "Y" in the Central Valley between going north to Sacramento and going south to LA, there's gotta be a "Y" ... you can't go from SF to LA via Sacramento.

Even worse, you can't go from San Jose to LA via San Francisco and Sacramento!


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 08:15:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there's gotta be a "Y"

Or a triangle. (Or Sacramento-LA via SF.) One month ago, I was thinking of a triangle, one that doesn't use Altamont: one following the most direct route between Oakland and Sacramento, the Capitol Corridor (from which I took the distances, see AMTRAK schedule).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 12:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of triangles and Y's, which one is best for Texas, an in Dallas-Houston-San Antonio?



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 02:39:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whichever finds funding, really. Me being the maximalist believing in really long-term investment, I'd favour a near-complete triangle (with Austin at one edge, and wayside stations in some cities; more or less like the original Texas Triangle). An Y -- or rather T, as discussed by BruceMcF in the diaries rubbishing Glaeser -- with a node near Austin would be the cheapest. A combination with a mini-triangle there might be the most cost-effetive.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 05:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... since the Gulf Coast corridor will be 200km/h Regional HSR at best, and since that is already an extant Amtrak route so that each improvement toward a Regional HSR will provide ridership gains, as with Chicago / St. Louis, extending it from Houston to San Antonio is preferable to changing trains.

Whether the Houston / Dallas and San Antonio - Austin / Dallas alignments should be a T or an upside down V is whichever gets enough support to get the state side funding. I think the momentum behind the "T" is the benefit to the small red spot you see to the northwest of Houston (Bryan?), and the two due north of Austin (Temple and Waco). Temple and Waco especially would benefit from the T-bone, as they would be connected to Dallas by both San Antonio and Houston routes.

My personal favorite would probably be a "Wishbone" through route (TLA's are airports) HOU / Houston / IAH / Conroe / Huntsville / Fairfield / Dallas / DAL / DFW / Fort Worth / Waco / Temple / Austin / San Antonio, but if Temple and Waco have the swing to get the T-bone, wevs ... I aint a Texan.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 09:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For some reason, I'm thinking Express HSR may not be an option for that alignment, but in any event, the Bay to Sacramento is a long, long way down the list in terms of bang per buck in upgrading from 175km/h to 350km/h. Not unless transport markets shift so dramatically that the high capital cost of Express HSR to the Pacific NW is justified ... which means fuel costs so high that four and five hour Express HSR begin to be seriously competitive with flying.

By contrast, there may well be incremental upgrade paths for 175km/h corridors between Redding and Eugene.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 05:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that it is only the Altamont commuter overlay that would be below 220mph ... when it reaches the main Sacramento / Los Angeles corridor, that is 220mph.

If its about 75km on the main corridor in any event, and about 25km that is 175kph in any event (until getting beyond the east shore of the East Bay), that would be 50km where it is a maximum of 175kph rather than 350kph.

17.1 minutes versus 8.6 minutes, assuming full speed for that stretch (accelerating nets out ... one just accelerated up to 350kph sooner), or 8.5 minutes slower with the commuter overlay.

Just not worth it for taking the Central Valley off a single alignment through San Jose, Silicon Valley and into San Francisco, splitting San Jose onto a branch line, and pushing San Jose from 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours from LA.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 02:12:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but if we were serious about this thing, we would be looking at how to bring the US rail system--including California--up to the standards of, say, 1927.  

This sounds like a joke, but would be in fact an astonishing improvement over what exists now.  

HSR would be fine, IF the supporting rail infrastructure (inter-urban rail lines, &c.) already existed.  Since they do not exist, having been dismantled decades ago, the HSR will be a white elephant supported by nothing.

I am sure it will not be viewed like this.  It will be viewed as a less energy-intensive alternative to air travel, which will soon be done in by continued oil-price fluctuations.  BUT the high energy-intensive auto system which is the unmentioned but assumed under layer which in fact is to support this will not fare well either, as the economy enters terminal collapse.

A dead economy does not need this system.  (It would be worth thinking about what a dead economy DOES need.)

For an analogy:  This is the last great Easter Island stone head, larger and heavier than all the previous ones, that never made it out of the quarry.  

This is not an argument against spending money, but against wasting money--spending it to no purpose.  

Yes, a lot of money will be made to disappear, which in retrospect will be seen to have been the whole point.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Jul 22nd, 2009 at 11:46:45 PM EST
I don't understand why the passenger traffic from LA to Las Vegas can't support a train...seems like a slam dunk. Especially if you allowed gambling on the train as soon as it left LA...
by asdf on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 12:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there was fast, comfortable train service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles at that time.  

I guess I am saying two things.  

  1. In Europe and Asia HSR fits on top of very good basic rail transport systems.  The US lacks these, except around a few of the older cities--specifically Chicago and New York City.  

  2.  The current economic crisis is not a recession, but a permanent step down to a lower-energy economy.  The transportation requirements of THAT economy--whether it is a true move toward sustainability or a mere plateau in a continuing downward spiral--will be very different from what we are imagining in projecting the HSR.


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 01:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gotta disagree with this. Los Angeles and San Francisco both have robust mass transit systems. The HSR line here will place major HSR stations at the key nodes of the existing rail networks - downtown SF, San José Diridon Station, LA Union Station. These systems are growing, particularly in LA. By the time HSR opens around 2018 LA will have an even better passenger rail network, centered on Union Station.

As to point #2, the transition toward a lower energy economy is a very strong argument FOR building electrified passenger rail. California will have virtually no other option for moving 36 million people around and between its major urban centers in a post-oil environment. HSR will provide the backbone for moving people in from the exurban sprawl and into urban centers, and will partner with existing and planned electric rail for metropolitan mobility.

I cannot think of a scenario in which building HSR is anything but a necessary step for California to position itself to meet the challenges this century is likely to throw at it.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 01:37:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Los Angeles and San Francisco both have robust mass transit systems.

This is good as far as it goes.  But it does not go far enough.  You need more than a subway or metro.  What is missing is inter-urban.  

There is nothing to be done for the exurbs.  Nothing at all.  I don't think people have figured that out yet, but they will.  

(Hint:  They will be abandoned.)  

I don't wish to argue overmuch.  Anything that gets rail transit built is better than that which does not.  But in the future that we are heading toward, speed is not the most important thing:  Fuctional, frequent, reliable service will be the important thing.  

Whether or not we have mass die-off.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 02:36:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaianne:
Los Angeles and San Francisco both have robust mass transit systems.

This is good as far as it goes.  But it does not go far enough.  You need more than a subway or metro.  What is missing is inter-urban.  

There is nothing to be done for the exurbs.

LA has metrolink and the Bay are has BART. Those are suburban passenger rail, not subway or metro.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 03:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And there is exurban, too: Caltrain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 04:28:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me also add a pont Montereyan stresses often: in population patterns and the extent of rail infrastructure, California is very much like Spain; which is developing metros, light rail, suburban rail, mainlines, and high-speed rail in parallel. (Though, one level, rural local rail, e.g. branchlines, is not developed at all.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 04:38:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The current economic crisis is not a recession, but a permanent step down to a lower-energy economy.

Really? You might like to think so, but there's bugger all in the current recession that's obviously closely linked to a lack of energy. How do you justify that assertion?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 02:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... role that the crude oil price shock played in the whole affair ... no matter how much weight an individual may assign to speculation in determining the level of the prices, its straightforward that speculation would not have been in a position to drive up prices if there was substantial spare productive capacity, which means the price shock took place at or near Peak Oil, rather than being the result of producer quotas as the mid-70's and 1980 oil price shocks.

As we run out of the highest EROI energy sources, its straightforward that there will be substantial changes, even if it is obviously subject to much debate what those changes will be.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 24th, 2009 at 12:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... imagining in projecting HSR ... the actual conditions we are likely to face will be far more to the advantage of HSR than if we simply project from current conditions.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 24th, 2009 at 12:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed, which is why the LA-Vegas run is primed for high speed rail. I doubt that either the Nevada or the California Native American casinos would ever go for on-train gambling though.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 01:38:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your arguments assume that we are facing a massive population collapse, in which travel within and between high population metropolitan areas is no longer necessary or desirable. You're not talking about a dead economy but a dead civilization - a replay of the 5th century AD.

If that were to occur I agree, we might have bigger problems to contend with than high speed rail.

However, since that does not appear likely, we will still need to find ways to move people within and between the metro areas. In California the supporting rail infrastructure and mass transit infrastructure most certainly exists. HSR will not be a white elephant, but a backbone for the necessary shift toward greater urban densities, linking the already existing nodes of the urban transit networks to each other.

In fact, I would argue that even if we were facing massive population and civilizational collapse, we'd still want to build a sustainable high speed rail system in California. The survivors are still going to want to trade with each other...

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 01:43:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The survivors are still going to want to trade with each other...  

Which is why I argue for good, ordinary rail transport.  Very useful, and it should be doable.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 02:24:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly agree that conventional rail lines in California would be ripe for an upgrade (and electrification) -- for local, lower-distance interurban, and extended high-speed train service (e.g. high-speed trains continuing slow on conventional lines). But the argument that we shouldn't do one level of rail transport so that we can do is spurious. Methinks developing all levels of rail transport in parallel is what is most useful; and it is doable if there is political will. In fact, different level projects should strengthen each other -- say light rail project aimed as feeders for new high-speed stations.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 04:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the argument that we shouldn't do one level of rail transport so that we can do others is spurious.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jul 25th, 2009 at 06:05:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... society for "plain regular trains" to keep working, we will certainly both be able to support and make substantial use of HSR.

HSR and "plain regular rail" are complementary, not rivals. Indeed, in transport policy fights in the US, the most common reason for treating them as rivals is to try to divide and conquer ... to kill off both HSR and "regular rail" funding.

Indeed, with $950m in bond funding dedicated to complementary "regular rail", the successful 2008 HSR proposition in California was the certainly the single biggest allocation of state level "regular rail" funding in the US since WWII.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 24th, 2009 at 12:18:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Montereyan:
a replay of the 5th century AD.
... in Britain, you mean. Decline of the Roman Empire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Meanwhile, much of the rest of the Western provinces were conquered by waves of Germanic invasions, most of them being disconnected politically from the East altogether and continuing a slow decline. Although central authority in the West had been lost, Roman culture would last in most of parts of the former Western provinces into the sixth century and beyond.

The first invasions had disrupted the West to some degree, but it was the Gothic War launched by the Eastern Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, and meant to reunite the Empire, that eventually caused the most damage to Italy, as well as straining the Eastern Empire militarily. Following these wars Rome and other Italian cities would fall into severe decline (Rome itself was almost completely abandoned). A last blow came with the Persian invasion of the East in the seventh century, immediately followed by the Muslim conquests, especially of Egypt, which curtailed much of the key trade in the Mediterranean on which Europe depended.



The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 03:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of Europe and near Asia was hit by the plague of 541-542 which about halfed the population. Thus ending antiquity.

(This I learnt at ET.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 at 03:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, feel free to add a link to the Train Blogging index page in your diaries (now updated up to this latest of yours).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jul 25th, 2009 at 06:36:29 AM EST
Peter Garrett is a total sell out though, I'm surprised he could even show his bald pate here on ET without embarrassment.
by njh on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 11:22:28 PM EST
Yes, sadly, he is a total failure as politician...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 01:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... outside looking in, and decided to give being ineffectual from the inside looking out a whirl.

All of these Midnight Oil songs, though, are from the being ineffectual on the outside looking in period.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 02:16:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yay! BruceMcF, you exceeded your Photobucket bandwidth, so I see a warning in place of your uploaded images in your other diaries!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 01:49:28 PM EST
I would just like to make a couple of comments/questions.

First, why disparage a good American Progressive? Maybe we can name it Carterism.

Second, isn't there a difference between what States do and the Federal Government>? Keynes was referring to the central governments and not individual states.

Third, the time for the State of California to try to counter-cyclical approaches has left the station. When there was more revenues, they should have been saving some aside not try to borrow more when there credit is drying up.

Lastly, along with the second point, Central Governments can always "print more money". Unless the IOUs can and are traded then CA is limited in its abilities. Also CA does not benefit from seigneurage.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 04:03:35 PM EST
why disparage a good American Progressive?

Hooverism is a reference to the do-nothing attitude of Hoover in 1929-1932 and by extension to the economic conventional wisdom he was responding to.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 20th, 2009 at 04:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, duh. Not "Forum Code"~!
Barack Hoover Obama:  The best and the brightest blow it again

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 02:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
isn't there a difference between what States do and the Federal Government>?

For purposes of aggregate demand? No.

For ease of financing? Certainly. Only the monetary authority, which in the US and EU resides on the federal level, labours under the happy circumstance of being able to underwrite its own loans.

CA is fucked - quite possibly irretrievably - by forty years of Ronnie Raygun. But in the event that its body politic were to be purged of Raygun worshippers, it would be a comparatively straightforward matter to confiscate a couple of billions from the personal wealth of a few private gangsters and use it to fund productive enterprise (for the purpose of economic output, it matters not a whit whether money sits around doing nothing in some rich fuck's bank account or is used to pay off state bonds). That's just bookkeeping.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 at 10:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Only the monetary authority, which in the US and EU resides on the federal level, labours under the happy circumstance of being able to underwrite its own loans.

That in the EU resides on the federal level, except in the cases of about half the member-states that are in the EU but not in the Eurozone.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 at 06:49:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This gives a better explanation but fails to mention the dirty little words of "moral hazards". Don't Let the Stimulus Lose Its Spark

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 at 05:48:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I fail to see any moral hazard here: Some states have failed to impose counter-cyclical fiscal policy during boom times. They have failed to do so because counter-cyclical fiscal policy requires a progressive tax structure. Progressive tax structures are opposed by rich oligarchs, who have bought the legislature.

Making confiscation of the oligarchs' wealth as a condition of a federal bailout therefore prevents moral hazard: The people who imposed an unwise policy for personal and/or ideological gain (read: Rich oligarchs and their Republican henchmen) get to take a haircut and see their crazy ideology get dismantled. This should provide a disincentive for them to let their insanity imperil the health and wealth of the public sector in the future.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 24th, 2009 at 03:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If States will be bailed out when they make bad decisions by the Federal Government then just like most moral hazards, they will choose paths that make everyone worse off.

As far as Progressive Taxes, California is actually one of the highest marginal tax rates on the rich {I believe NY is higher}. This has made California revenue quite sporadic and volatile. Thus if any state should have had a "rainy day fund" then it would have been California. But it is to even out the services provided more than trying to counter the business cycles since the amount of leakages of any one state is quite large-except to a smaller degree California.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Mon Aug 24th, 2009 at 12:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as Progressive Taxes, California is actually one of the highest marginal tax rates on the rich

Nominal rate or effective rate?

But if you don't like the idea of outright bailouts for states, then there is also the option of putting CA into federal receivership. That is, the Feds pay CA's operating costs, and then impose whatever tax structure is needed to balance the books.

The important thing right now, as you note, is to prevent an acute crisis in the public tasks that are being carried out by the state level. CA's sovereignty to set its own tax code is not nearly in the same ballpark, when it comes to importance.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 28th, 2009 at 10:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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