Jerry Brown on HSR: “Plant the Seeds for Future Growth”

May 20th, 2012 | Posted by

Last week Governor Jerry Brown appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss the state budget deficit and the high speed rail project. Governor Brown defended the HSR project as “planting the seeds for future growth”:

As in 2008, there are those who believe that because of the state’s budget situation, high speed rail should be postponed or abandoned because that money should somehow be used for some other purpose. And I say “somehow” because under Prop 1A, bond money approved by voters for one purpose cannot be used for any other.

More to the point, we have now seen that austerity is a failure. Europe is turning against it. Governor Brown himself is coming under criticism for relying on too much on austerity in his current budget plans. It should be clear now that cutting projects in an effort to somehow revive the economy or balance a budget is as effective as cutting your nose off to spite your face.

Building high speed rail now means jobs will be created in California. Good jobs at good wages. It means an infusion of $3.5 billion in federal money into the state’s economy, which turns into wages and taxes and purchases at local businesses. In the short term that’s a boost to the state’s economy that vanishes if HSR isn’t funded now.

In the long term, HSR is essential to getting the state out of its present crisis. Oil dependence is one of the primary reasons the state is in recession. The price of oil, already high, shattered the housing market in 2006 and has been choking the economy ever since. Money that could go to other things is going to oil companies instead. To solve the state’s budget crisis and its economic woes over the long term requires getting the state off oil. High speed rail is part of that solution.

Since the summer of 2007 California has been trying to solve its budget crisis and its economic crisis through cuts. After five years, it’s obvious that isn’t working. It’s time for something else. It’s time to plant the seeds of future growth.

  1. California Taxpayer
    May 20th, 2012 at 23:07

    I really like that guy.

  2. Peter Baldo
    May 21st, 2012 at 05:09

    There’s a book excerpt in Salon that mentions Menlo Park and Visalia – how similar they were a generation ago, and how they have diverged since:
    To the extent that the high speed rail project might help the town’s economy, it’s too bad that the train won’t go to Visalia, which wants it, rather than Hanford, which doesn’t. I also don’t understand why a $100 Billion project is being forced into suboptimal routings because a freight railroad or some land developers don’t want it nearby. $100 Billion should command some respect.

    VBobier Reply:

    I say reroute the train, to the ones who want HSR and shun those that don’t.

    Peter Reply:

    Care to draw out a map that does this?

    VBobier Reply:

    No, I just think HSR should go to Visalia instead of Hanford.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It shouldn’t spend extra to do so, but if Visalia wants the station, and the western and eastern Hanford bypass cost about the same amount, may as well put the station on the Visalia side of Hanford.

    VBobier Reply:


    Peter Baldo Reply:

    I don’t see the problem with “spending extra”. California is already spending $100 Billion “extra” to build the high speed rail system. If California has to “spend extra” for the system to serve actual populated places like Visalia, it should do so. That’s the whole point of the project.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “I also don’t understand why a $100 Billion project is being forced into suboptimal routings because a freight railroad or some land developers don’t want it nearby. $100 Billion should command some respect.”

    Regarding the freight railroads: the federal government has taken away the power of eminent domain from the states when it comes to railroads, and yet the federal government won’t exercise that power itself for the benefit of the country’s railroad projects.

    IMHO, this is mainly due to the general brokenness of the US Senate with its obstructionist, unconstitutional filibuster rules, which mean that the lawbook is a mess and never gets cleaned up.

    But anyway, California could probably pick a big fight with the freight railroads’ management — it does seem that making an above-market tender offer for UP would be a profitable capitalist enterprise — but the defenders of private profiteering would yell “soshulisum!”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..and while you have that thought in your mind contemplate Conrail. The government more or less owned everything north and east of St. Louis. They coulda kept it. They could have sold half of it, keeping one half of the ROW for future passenger service. They could have sold the operation and maintenance but kept the land. But no, in our rush to privatize we sold off more or less fee-simple…

  3. lex luther
    May 21st, 2012 at 07:58

    Robert Cruickshank, a BLOGGER says that Jerry Brown is coming under criticism for austerity and points to ANOTHER BLOGGER, joe matthews as proof? Political bloggers and commentators are usually the extreme of either the right or the left, so its tantamount to using the drivel pill popper rush lim-blahh spews from his pie hole or the opinions that euro leftist arriana huffington gives as proof of whatever point someone is trying to make.

    Robert might as well have quoted himself.

    that being said, austerity is only a “bad word” because the ultra liberals think we should hand money out to people who dont want to work, have universal health care which would destroy tens of thousands of jobs in the health care industry creating more people who need welfare and have more forclosures and loss of taxes toward local government and schools, give free college to illegal immigrants because they pick our lettuce and clean our hotel rooms….THATS JUST CALLED A JOB, they dont deserve a perk that other californians cant get because they have lived here their whole life and the illegals havent…..and the list goes on

    liberals dont care about fiscal responsibility, the bleeding hearts think we should give it all away, worry about it later, just live on credit. take 100 liberals in SF, take 100 conservatives in SD and lets compare their personal credit scores and you will see that more often than not, liberals have a spending problem

    we need cuts and we need jobs, and YES the HSR project would provide jobs, BUT THEN BROWN comes out and wants more taxes but more taxes doesnt bring jobs, it drives employers to other states. For instance, Capital One is shutting down in Salinas and leaving 800 employees without jobs, AND MOVING to tax friendly South Dakota, and bringing those 800 jobs with them plus creating 700 more. They only left because california and its ridiculous amount of taxes. the state is not business friendly.

    we need a mixture of tax cuts for the private sector, spending cuts in the public sector, because that leaves both sides with more money meaning less deficit for public gov, more spending power for private individuals. add tax incentives to businesses such as waiving all state taxes for businesses that headquarter here and employ more than 500 employees would make CA look much more attractive. California would benefit from the employees taxes

    but no, brown doesnt like businesses. he is tax happy, illegal alien happy, spend happy and i will be happy to vote no on his tax and vote no on brown in 2014

    Peter Reply:

    I’m curious why you still consider yourself to be a Democrat. You pretty much believe in everything the Republicans do. If you change your party affiliation to “Republican” you can avoid a lot of contradictory shame by hating yourself when vote for a Democratic candidate whose ideology you detest, or when you vote for a Republican candidate whose ideology you believe in but feel guilty because you feel you should be voting for the Democrat for the simple fact that you claim to be a Democrat.

    lex luther Reply:

    Im curious why you dont just create your own party and leave mine. You can take all the trader joes greenie elitist socialists with you and all the people that hate our country and harbor white guilt.

    the ones who say black pride, ok.. brown pride, ok.. white pride, evil nazi scum!

    the ones who hate capitalism and wish we were like canada

    the ones who promote medical marijuana as a cure all to our economic woes

    well if you think im going to leave my democratic party because some america hating progressives say i dont fit the mold, i got news. you dont fit the mold. the progressives have hijacked our party in the same style that the religious nuts hijacked the GOP.

    i dont vote by party. THAT IS STUPID. if you do that without knowing who youre voting for and base it solely on party, well then hey ill go carpetbag to your district and run as a dem, and thank you for your vote since your too dumb to make a sensible decision and vote for something or someone based on principle and logic

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Canada is a capitalist country, so wishing we were like Canada is just a preference for one set of capitalist institutions versus a different set.

    Peter Reply:

    If you took from that that I vote solely on party lines, then I am truly sad for your reading comprehension skills.

    The rest of your loony response, well, that’s not worth my time to reply to.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I think we may need to rethink definitions.

    As I see it, about everybody is in favor of “free enterprise.” Everyone likes the idea of starting a business and making a go of it, making money, and pleasing customers. I even get to do a bit of that as an auditor (“You have a refund coming. . .”), and that’s nice to do.

    “Capitalism” is seen as synonymous with that, and may have even been that once, but I see as having turned into something different.

    I think a big part of the problem is how we have harnessed free enterprise/capitalism. What we really now have is “corporatism.”

    What has happened is that some corporations have grown so large as to be virtual nations, at least in terms of economic activity and wealth. As such, they have also concentrated a great deal of power, and with that, a lot of influence. Some–myself included–would argue that these large enterprises are taking over the government (if they have effectively not completely done so), not the government taking over businesses, despite the complaints from the “capitalist” crowd.

    Make no mistake, a large corporation can be soulless, bloodless, bureaucratic, and ruthless; ask the Jews and other Germans who were tracked with amazing efficiency by the Nazis, who could use card readers in multiple passes to mimic the sorting characteristics of a computer. The corporate tie-in? Those card readers, and their technical support, including spare parts, came in through neutral countries to Germany–from IBM in the USA. . .

    Basically, a corporation can be and often is “amoral,” which is to say it has neither morality or immorality. It is just what it is, like fire or wind. And like fire or wind, a corporation can be useful–but it can also be deadly. Ask about the minor $5 fuel tank shield that would have saved a number of lives, but the auto company that built the cars without it made the financial–not human–decision that it was cheaper to pay for the insurance losses and lawsuits than for the shield on the fuel tank.

    I think many of us can come up with other examples.

    Perhaps the best thing to remember is what one of my brothers said, and which I opened with. He said he was for free enterprise, but not for capitalism; he thought they were two different things.

    I agree.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Hmmm, something that may explain some of what we’ve been seeing from the business–corporatist community:

    Nathanael Reply:

    You’re absolutely right, Mr. Lubic. I agree with you on so many things we should meet some time…

    Eric M Reply:

    Lex Luther sounds like someone working for, or maybe is one of the rich NIMBY folk along the peninsula. These people will stop at nothing to stop the project for their own personal reasons, mainly driven by wealth and the belief of being better than everyone else. Watch out.

    lex luther Reply:

    haha thats right conspiracy! im a serbian soldier working for PAMPA and im here to escort you to a fema concentration camp. watch out for the black helicopters!!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    How odd that you read “working for” as “conspiracy”.

    lex luther Reply:

    read the entire text of what eric said, youll get the insinuation and it ends with watch out! nibiru is coming hahaha

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yup, read it. It said you sound like you work for or are one of the entitled peninsula NIMBY’s. It then went on to say of the peninsula NIMBY’s

    These people will stop at nothing to stop the project for their own personal reasons, mainly driven by wealth and the belief of being better than everyone else. Watch out.

    The conspiracy is just your own projection.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Compare credit scores? OK. Average credit scores in these those 2 cities:
    San Francisco: 781
    San Diego: 753

    Average credit scores in US cities:

    Walter Reply:

    datacruncher 1, lex luther 0.

    lex luther Reply:


    joe Reply:


    lex luther Reply:

    Learn to read. I said 100 “liberals” in SF vs 100 “Conservatives” in SD

    YOUR attempt at a comeback would have meant something if you could have proven that all of those polled in SD were conservatives, and all of those polled in SF were liberals, but nothing you offered denotes their political affiliation


    California Taxpayer Reply:

    Why don’t you find something productive to do with your time instead of coming here throw punches at ghosts.

    wu ming Reply:

    trolls troll, that’s what they do. i’m half wondering if this is either spokker amusing himself, or jimsf going deep undercover and amusing himself. probably just a troll.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    How, exactly, are we supposed to wing our way back to prosperity by poaching minimum wage jobs from companies in a state where they statutorily abolished the 1,000 year old concept of usury because it happens to have the population of Fresno and resistance was minimal????

    Or how about a state that have plenty of California businesses relocating to them over the years because they have no income tax, and thus, the most regressive tax structure in the US?

    Or maybe the state that is dead-last in education funding????

    California only lags behind other states because it’s a race to the bottom….

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    In a somewhat related comment, some comments about a talk by Robert Stephens (founder of Geek Squad) on what may be “excess capacity” in housing, cars, and other things; I respond that the old terminology was “increased utilization.” Either way, it means we get more bang for the buck for certain things–but it also means we need fewer of those things. What will we do with the excess people?

    Sorry, couldn’t find anything on the original speech, which sounds like it was interesting.

  4. trentbridge
    May 21st, 2012 at 10:09

    How does having universal healthcare destroy tens of thousands of jobs in the healthcare industry? If you have more people using healthcare then why would people be laid off? Is the writer concerned that people might be cured or become healthy? If people without insurance only go to healthcare providers when they are acutely sick then society is paying the price of not providing preventative healthcare. For example, isn’t it cheaper to provide universal pre-natal care to any pregnant woman in the state and reduce the number of preemies in baby intensive care units?

    nslander Reply:

    Dunno. Lex is the middle commercial in a Tivo’d recording; I have no idea what he’s trying to sell. I just take pleasure knowing he’s wasting his time.

    lex luther Reply:

    if your responding to something i said or writing about me, then im also wasting “your” time!! didnt think of that did ya? nice try at insulting me but you just insulted yourself as well. take pleasure in that!!

    wu ming Reply:

    this need more exclamation points and all caps.

    wu ming Reply:

    needS. $#%@ typos.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Think of all the members of the “death panels” at insurance companies, whose job is it is to decide that people are “too expensive” and let them die. Think of the army of paper-pushers who are paid by insurance companies create paperwork obstacles so as to kill people (and avoid paying for their medical care).

    All these useless leeches would lose their jobs with single-payer universal healthcare! Oh, the humanity! Presumably this is what Lex objects to. Lex wants to make sure the members of Death Panels at health insurance companies continue to get large salaries, I suppose.

    We could retrain them to do something useful, however, and I think we should.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    “We could retrain them to do something useful, however, and I think we should.”

    Wonderful!! Wonderful!!

  5. synonymouse
    May 21st, 2012 at 10:56

    Jerry wants to print money to blow on boondoggles. In the end he is not an eco-guy but a growth monger, i.e. unlimited and unsustainable population growth.

    The cheerleaders ignore the issue of incompetence in public projects. It has gotten much worse with high levels of funding at the Federal level. Only time will tell whether the dysfunctional offspring of this reckless funding can survive. I am referring to the Suxway, poorly used far-flung BART extension into the exurbs, the Tehachapi Roundabout and that ilk.

    Where I live I spot buses cycling around with next to no one on board. In many areas public transit use is very poor. Perhaps if you have driverless you can afford to run empty vehicles. I don’t see how a cost crunch can be avoided over public services. There aren’t enough taxpayers to go around and the rich have a great distaste for funding the underperforming. They’ll bail.

    Speaking of which, George Lucas, if he wishes to grandstand philanthropic, could buy the Ranch and underwrite the route for hsr. Instead of hissy-fitting with the other Ritchie Riches in his ‘hood.-

    VBobier Reply:

    Syno Yer a sore loser…

    Neville Snark Reply:

    but one has to celebrate such locutions as: ‘hissy-fitting with the other Ritchie Riches in his ‘hood.’

  6. Richard Mlynarik
    May 21st, 2012 at 11:30

    CHSRA budget only stretches far enough to afford 30 megabytes of floppy disk storage.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    That’s….beyond idiotic. You can hop on Newegg and pick up a 2TB hard drive for a hundred dollars (admittedly, refurbished), there is absolutely no reason why emails ought to ever be deleted.

    Peter Reply:

    Then fix the laws allowing them to delete these emails, instead of whining when they comply with the law (by doing what most other state agencies do).

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Nothing to fix – they’re not allowed to delete these emails. They’ve been ordered to preserve all documents since January 2009.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Total costs have “fluctuated between $68 and $100 billion”? Really?

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Really, really.
    November Business Plan: $98.5 to $117.6 billion.
    April Business Plan: $68.4 to $79.7 billion. Anaheim not included.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Fluctuation between” suggests up and down and up and down.

    Rising to about $100b then being cut back to about $70b is not “fluctuating between” unless it goes back up to $100b.

    Joe Reply:

    Critics want costs lowered.
    Critics complain costs were lowered.

    VBobier Reply:

    When Critics can’t be pleased, then their not Critics anymore, then their Nimbys…

    Eric M Reply:

    and obstructionists

    Joe Reply:

    Reasonable steps to preserve, is the standard in the letter.

    They are following the Bush White House Standard – actually they are exceeding that standard.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    They are following the Bush White House Standard – actually they are exceeding that standard.

    Extraordinary Rendition for “NIMBYs”, “Obstructionists” and “Denialists”. John Yoo to head CHSRA. FIvk Cheney to front PBQD. Excellent.

    joe Reply:

    You are “untethered” Richard.

    Congressman Issa excused the Bush White house and the email losses and the use on non-govermental email to conduct government business. He’s now investigating CAHSR.

    Joe Reply:

    During a House Oversight Committee hearing last month on the preservation of White House records, an indignant Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a frequent critic of Chairman Henry Waxman’s investigations, did his best to play down the extent of the Bush administration’s now well-documented email archiving problems. Defending the White House’s decision to switch from the Lotus Notes-based archiving system used by the Clinton administration, Issa compared the the [sic] software to ‘using wooden wagon wheels’ and Sony Betamax tapes. To observers of the missing emails controversy, Issa’s comments seemed little more than an attempt to deflect blame from the White House for replacing a working system for archiving presidential records with an ad hoc substitute. But to IT professionals who use Lotus at their companies, Issa’s remarks seemed controversial, if not downright slanderous. Now, according to an executive at IBM, the software’s manufacturer, the California congressman has apologized for his characterization of Lotus and offered to correct the congressional record

    Peter Reply:

    Oh, the irony.

    joe Reply:

    Issa did such a bang-up job bringing on Women’s birth control and unregulated sex into play for the 2012 election that I’m curious to see him screw up the attack on HSR.

    Issa’s all-male-review hearings and barring Sandra Fluke’s testimony lead to Nancy Pelosi holding her own hearings. The GOP blowback including Rush’s over the top attacks, and putting GOP Women into play.

    What will he do for HSR?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Be careful there. There might be some reversion to the mean. And after he just pissed off middle-class and upper middle-class women, he might cherish the ability to play the fiscal conservative card. Really, if he were smart he’d do anything to shake off that fundamentalist image. (“You know us, the party with the ticket that promises no-nonsense business-style management? We are also a bunch of religious nuts. Only thing that limits the damage we cause is that our nominee’s sect and the rest of the party’s sect don’t get along.”)

    joe Reply:

    “he might cherish the ability to play the fiscal conservative card.”

    His audience is who?

    If it is National conservatives then let him bash his home state and demand CA send back money – I welcome that debate. He’ll push CA to HSR.

    This is about sending money back to DC by a DC GOP Rep in the leadership party:
    The Typically favorable GOP pollster Rasmussen has this
    8% Give Congress Good or Excellent Marks.

    So Issa is going to use his cut and slash charm on CA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I figure that the GOP is going to be at least mildly concerned with winning the election in November, in which case the audience is swing voters in states other than California. Bonus points for him if he can convince voters in Ohio and Florida that HSR is a boondoggle and Kasich and Scott were right to reject rail funds.

    Also, Rasmussen’s last few days have shown much less Republican lean than previous months. It used to be that Ras would have the race even and everyone else would have Obama up by 3-7. Now everyone, including Ras, ranges from Romney up by about 2 and Obama up by 5.

    joe Reply:

    Issa might play a national politics game with CA HSR but that game isn’t going to tank the project in CA. It will probably create support in CA.

    You probably know about
    Nate discusses the persistant bias (correctable) in rasmussen polls – pro GOP. The bias usually lessens closer to the election & Nate isn’t a fan of the poller but the data can be used if the bais is modeled.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What Nate said about Ras is that it had a strong GOP lean in this cycle and the 2010 cycle, but no in the 2008 cycle. We’ll see how he updates his model this summer.

    Of course now is a relative lull in polling and the two most persistent pollsters are Ras and Gallup, which in past months had a GOP lean, projecting a tie of a 2-point Obama win while others projected a 7-point Obama win. It could just be a change in which pollsters are active that’s making Ras look better.

    As for Issa, I really doubt he has the ability to sink CAHSR. It’s entirely up to the state legislature now. Worst Issa can do is create fresh FUD for the Lowenthals.

    joe Reply:

    And 2008 is 4 years ago…What is the point ? Is it that 2012 is different? Not if Rasmussen doesn’t fix their methods. I don’t believe they have.

    Rasmussen’s polls have come under heavy criticism throughout this election cycle, including from FiveThirtyEight. We have critiqued the firm for its cavalier attitude toward polling convention. Rasmussen, for instance, generally conducts all of its interviews during a single, 4-hour window; speaks with the first person it reaches on the phone rather than using a random selection process; does not call cellphones; does not call back respondents whom it misses initially; and uses a computer script rather than live interviewers to conduct its surveys. These are cost-saving measures which contribute to very low response rates and may lead to biased samples.

    Rasmussen’s polls — after a poor debut in 2000 in which they picked the wrong winner in 7 key states in that year’s Presidential race — nevertheless had performed quite strongly in in 2004 and 2006. And they were about average in 2008. But their polls were poor this year.

    The discrepancies between Rasmussen Reports polls and those issued by other companies were apparent from virtually the first day that Barack Obama took office. Rasmussen showed Barack Obama’s disapproval rating at 36 percent, for instance, just a week after his inauguration, at a point when no other pollster had that figure higher than 20 percent.

    joe Reply:

    Issa isn’t going to muddy the waters, he clears them. He’s a polarizing figure who charges issues and in a state with the Dem majority and clear HSR leadership, polarization pushes Lowenthal into the Pro-camp.

  7. ericmarseille
    May 22nd, 2012 at 11:18

    Gov. Brown seems to be an ok guy, but could he cut the crap concerning Europe ?
    ” We’re not like Europe”
    “Sclerotic Europe”
    “Old Europe”
    “We’re entrepreneurial”
    etc. etc.
    Or maybe is it that an American politician cannot sell something to his public without breaking some sugar on Europe’s back?
    Hey, you know what Gov. Brown? Just build your High-Speed-Rail BEFORE bashing UNINVENTIVE Europe (which, as a very uninventive and sclerotic area, appears to have implemented for 30 years now what you are only trying to sell out there, if you catch my line)!

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Or maybe is it that an American politician cannot sell something to his public without breaking some sugar on Europe’s back?

    Pretty much. Comparable to Euro stuff is essentially political death for stuff in America. It’s like the British attitudes towards the Continent cranked up to 11.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Brown is a senescent hack, beholden to his union allies, whose power is enabled by a dominant and entrenched political machine.

    California would be so fortunate to be like Europe. If so it would already enjoy electrification, extensive passenger rail service and semi- base tunnels thru Tejon.

    There is next to nothing entrepreneurial about Brown’s iteration of hsr. It is a meandering hodgepodge collection occasioned by pandering to various pressure groups. It will require a perennial and extensive subsidy, just like its baby cousin, BART. Except BART enjoys a much larger captive ridership, with little alternative means of transport.

    American politicians’ attitude toward Europe over the years is bizarro. I suggest US pressure to expand the EC core membership unrealistically is part of the current European dilemma.

    American foreign policy has always been strange – tending to get along well with 3rd world banana republics and feuding with the countries overall most resembling the US. Like France and what is referred to the former Soviet Union.

    The Vatican has always exercised undue influence over US policy, as in protecting Franco and pushing support of South Vietnam. IMHO American diplomacy systematically betrays a distinct anti-Orthodox, anti-Slav bias.

    Spokker Reply:

    The governor doth protest too much.

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