Obama Proposes More HSR Spending

Apr 15th, 2013 | Posted by

Last week President Barack Obama proposed his 2014 budget. The proposal includes several contentious measures related to Social Security and overall federal spending, which have gotten the most attention so far. But it also includes billions in high speed rail funding:

The administration’s budget also demonstrates that the president has not abandoned his high-speed rail ambitions. The budget proposes $40 billion for passenger rail programs over five years, aimed at making rail more widely accessible and convenient. It’s essentially his outline for a passenger rail (PRIIA) reauthorization. He even stuck to his goal of providing 80 percent of Americans with rail access, though years of funding setbacks have tempered his ambitions some — he now pledges that 80 percent of the population will have “convenient access to a passenger rail system, featuring high-speed service” — not that they’ll all have high-speed rail service.

Even if the full $40 billion isn’t for high speed rail, it’s likely that California’s high speed rail project would get a bunch of that money, more than enough to build the Initial Operating Segment to Los Angeles.

The only thing standing between this budget request and reality is the House of Representatives, still controlled by anti-rail zealots. They’ll be in power until at least 2015, maybe even until 2017. Either way, at least half of President Obama’s time in office will have been spent with Republicans in control of the House and blocking further movement on federal high speed rail funding. It could be close to a lost decade, a reminder of the colossal failure of Democrats to hold power in 2010.

Still, even if (OK, when) Republicans shoot down this sensible rail funding proposal, it’s a good sign that high speed rail funding is becoming a staple of Democratic transportation policy. Democrats will retake the House someday soon, and will likely hold the White House for a while longer (especially if Hillary Clinton runs in 2016). When they do, proposals like this will serve as the basis for budgets that will actually become law.

  1. Mattie F.
    Apr 15th, 2013 at 21:22
    #1

    The Republican House seems to stand between EVERYTHING and reality.

    missiondweller Reply:

    Well not exactly. When Obama proposed his last budget the Senate voted it down 99-0. I’d call that bi-partisan wouldn’t you?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Don’t get me started on the Senate. They prefer to preserve the Most Holy Tradition of the Filibuster rather than getting ANYTHING done.

    This is basically a scam so that Senators can pretend to vote for bills and then say “so sorry” when the bills fail to pass despite having a majority of Senators voting for them.

    The filibuster was created by accident due to a bad rulebook revision back in the 1800s. It is unconstitutional. It should be abolished immediately. But too many Senators *like* being able to vote for bills while being sure that they will die.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ah, I guess you got me started on the Senate. :-)

  2. joe
    Apr 15th, 2013 at 22:10
    #2

    Operating a vehicle 15,000 miles now costs ~10K a year.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/16/aaa-car-ownership-costs/2070397/
    The average owner of a sedan has to shell out nearly $10,000 a year to own and operate that car, according to auto club AAA.

    A new AAA reports shows, on average, the cost of driving 15,000 miles a year rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year. Overall, that’s a roughly 2% increase on the cost of operating a car last year.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    And if you believe that, I’ve a fantastic bridge available for sale, only lightly used and in good condition. A real bargain.

    joe Reply:

    How can any responsible person that budgets their personal finances and operates a vehicle argue with this macro-estimate?

    It’s independently reproduced to simailr ranges by sources such as consumer reports.

    And please, spare us the “I BUY A USED CAR “, there are no used car manufacturers.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Because it’s based on an absolutely stupid and unrealistic methodology that requires buying a new car every five years with extended warranty, new tires right before selling, financing 90% at 6% etc. I know I’ve linked you to it before. The actual cost of operation averages to 19.64¢ per mile, with an additional $1,611 per year for taxes, license, registration, and insurance (~10.7¢ averaged across 15,000 miles). Pages 6-7.

    joe Reply:

    Consumer reports cost estimates for a 2013 Camry (Excellent Consumer costs) Sedan class. Note this isn’t AAA.

    Cumulative cost per mile
    Year 1 $0.92
    Year 1-3 $0.63
    Year 1-5 $0.55
    Year 1-8 $0.47

    The average annual cost over 8 years is 0.47 per mile or $7,050 for a reliable, high resale vehicle that’s reasonable for a family.
    Anyone using $0.20 per mile is going to have a financial planning crisis.

    And older cars have major repairs.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    And as the report makes clear, half of that cost is depreciation, which is an utterly meaningless figure from the standpoint of household economics.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why is it meaningless? Buy a 20,000 dollar car and five years later it’s only worth 10,000 it cost you 2.000 a year to own the car.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    No, it cost me $20,000 to purchase the car, ten years later I can gain $10,000 from its sale. It’s actual worth is irrelevant in the meantime and does not cost or gain me a single penny. Cash flow is a far more worthwhile metric.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    10,000 dollars disappeared somewhere over those ten years. How much would $20,000 dollars in the bank be worth ten years later?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    $10,000 did not disappear anymore than $20,000 disappeared because I decided to put it into my garage and use it no more nor did $100,000 appear because quite a few more years passed and it is now considered a collectible.

    joe Reply:

    “Cash flow is a far more worthwhile metric.”

    No. Net worth is the right metric. A car is a depreciating asset that performs a service. You even insure against the loss of the asset.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Paul, if you want to go strictly with cash flow, it becomes obvious that nobody can EVER justify buying a car.

    An honest fair-value assessment is correct in most cases.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    You can insure against any number of things, including one’s loss of job (or alien abductions).

    If it helps you sleep better, think of it as accelerated depreciation within the first 30 minutes of ownership.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    $10,000 did not disappear

    Yes it did. If you take $20,000 dollars and have the bank give it to you as 200 100 dollar bills that you roll up and put into a cookie tin in your garage for ten years, ten years later you have $20,000 dollars. If you go out and buy a $20,000 car and use it for ten years then sell it for $10,000 you spent $10,000 you have 100 100 dollar bills. You spent $10,000 dollars. It wasn’t coming out of your wallet or your bank account but you spent it.

    Winston Reply:

    You have to replace the vehicle eventually. You really do pay for the depreciation. In the case of a Camry, over the first 8 years or 100,000 miles of its life, it will likely lose about $17,000 in value (based on the prices of 2005 Camrys today), so if you were to sell it, you would lose about $0.17 per mile.

    Now if you’re clever you can buy your Camry after 8 typical years of use and get a car with 100k miles for around $5000 and depreciate that over the remaining 100,000 years of vehicle life. But if you do this, you’re going to be paying a lot more for maintenance and you’ll run the risk of having to unexpectedly scrap the vehicle (i.e. when your transmission fails and the cost to repair it is more than the vehicle is worth) This also has a value. However, you are right that if you’re poor you can drive a POS car and save a lot of money and that this is the real competition for transit.

    joe Reply:

    8 year old vehicle would have 120 miles @ 15K per year.

    Fuel economy would be less in the older 2005 vehicle so add more for fuel costs – new Camry is computed with 27 MPG on CR’s tests,a redesigned Accord gets 30, not 23 like it used to.

    Safety continues to advance (not in the cost calculation) so older cars are less competent. They meet older, less demanding crash standards.

    Also older cars are less reliable, more likely to have a major break down during operation.

    Transit isn’t for the poor – we middle class use transit to save money and not be poor. Clearly the more expensive the vehicle, the more the savings when commuting by public transit. The lesser the income the less disposable cash for a beater and once they have invest into a transit pass, all rides are free.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I know people who have tried to drive POS cars. The cars break, they’re money sinks, they break anyway, and those people go back to using transit. Pretty quickly they just wish they had better transit….

    joe Reply:

    Who buys the car Paul?

    Andy M Reply:

    that would be the same household economics would it that caused millions of people to buy homes with loans that they later couldn’t service.

    The fact that many people ignore certain economic principles doesn’t make them wrong.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Paul, the financing number is for real.

    Some of us don’t borrow money to buy cars. Or houses. Lucky us!

    However, *most people don’t have enough savings to do that*, and *do not make enough money to collect enough savings*. Accordingly, for *normal people*, as opposed to well-to-do people, AAA’s financing estimates *are correct*.

    Think about this. We’ve had suppressed wages and massive inequality in this country for over 30 years, and now we have the Second Great Depression on top of that. Plus, there are no more usury laws! The result: automobiles are completely unaffordable for most people.

    These people — with no savings — can still afford to take the train. It doesn’t require a $20,000 outlay up front. It doesn’t require borrowing money in order to buy a ticket.

    Andy M Reply:

    Yes exactly. You can buy a monthly pass for the train with no obligation to renew that pass when it expires. There is thus no risk. If you lease a car and suddenly you don’t need it, or you need to sell it, you carry the risk that maybe you won’t immediately find a buyer willing to pay what you think its worth. You may have to sell at a lower price or wait longer, thus missing the opportunity of doing whatever it was you were planning with that money. Good economics is having your money invested in such a way that it is (a) generating as much return as possible, whilst (b) part of it still being accessible at short notice should the need arise. A car is the opposite of all that. It is difficult to sell at short notice without taking a loss and the value depreciates nevertheless.

    TomA Reply:

    Wouldn’t that make most large capital purchases by almost anyone bad economics.

    Andy M Reply:

    If that large capital purchase provides no or only insignificant returns, yes, then it is bad economics.

    Of course there is nothing wrong with luxury purchases. If you buy a sports car or a yacht or a super mansion, that’s luxury. But you have to see that in relation to how much luxury you can afford in function of your income and net worth. A lot of people are living far beyond their means and trying to fool themselves into believing they need those assets.

    blankslate Reply:

    However, *most people don’t have enough savings to do that*, and *do not make enough money to collect enough savings*. Accordingly, for *normal people*, as opposed to well-to-do people, AAA’s financing estimates *are correct*.

    We can also assume that such people do not purchase brand new cars every five years.

    This methodology implies that the average age of cars on the road is 2.5 years, while the actual average age is 9 years. That seems pretty damning to me.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well I can tell you my two cents on car ownership.

    I only buy used cars. ( Ive actually rarely owned cars for any length of time, only when living in places where they are necessary such as now in pismo beach)

    -Currently I own a car that I Paid 5000.00 for. I borrowed the 5000 cash from my 401k.
    -I pay $210 a month in payments. ( for 24 months)
    – I have had the car for 18 months. ( $3780.00 in payments so far)
    – I have put 27,000 miles on the car in 18 months. ( averaging 1500 miles per month)
    -I consistently get exactly 30mph. Gas has been 3.50-4.50 a gal during this time for a $4
    average,
    -aprrox $3600 in gas over 18 months or, $200 a month.
    – I have spent about 1200 on maintenance/tires/ etc during that time. averaging $67 per month.
    -Insurance is $62 per month.

    monthly averages are
    payment 210
    gas 200
    maintenance 67
    insurance 62

    total monthly $539
    total annual $6468
    cost per mile ($539 monthly x 18 months =$9702 / 27,000 miles) = .36 per mile.

    I think.

    jimsf Reply:

    hmm I never broke it down like that before but, yeh, that actually reflects my monthly budget.
    Now, I don’t mind using public tranist, I have most of my life. It worked well in SF but I was basically confined to the city which was ok for a while. I paid more in rent by 225 a month ( and climbing annually) plus my muni pass. So the difference living on the central coast, with a car is about 200 more than SF, but, the quality of life is much higher so I’m willing to pay that. Shell Beach is spotlessly clean, there is virtually no crime, I have a large one bedroom apt instead of a closet sized studio, I have an ocean view, and weather that is as close to perfect as you can find anywhere. An easy drive to SF, An easy drive to LA. An easy drive to the BFs place in Visalia.

    I would love to be able to take the bus to work everyday, but it would take two hours to go 8 miles. I don’t know who designed the local transit in this county but they clearly have NO clue as to what they are doing.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Two years later and 27,000 miles later your car is worth less than you paid for it. You haven’t accounted for that.

    jimsf Reply:

    Thats is irrelevant. I didn’t buy the car as an investment. It has zero worth other than as a device for my mobility. Just like the 52 inch tv I bought 6 years ago that is outdated but still works perfectly for me. I have no intention of selling the car or trading it in.

    blankslate Reply:

    Normal people think about how much they spend on cars rather than how much the car is “worth.” Jimsf has accounted for that, by including the cost he paid in the monthly figures above. In fact, he probably over-accounted for it.

    Let’s say the car lasts two more years before he has to buy another one. He’ll pay $210/month for 6 more months, then $0/month for the subsequent 18 months. That will be an average car payment of $120/month over 42 months of ownership. Now let’s say at the end of it all he can sell the car for parts for $1000. Averaged over the 42 months that reduces the total cost of ownership to $96/month. Assuming all other costs stay the same over this period, the figures will be:

    Total monthly: $415
    Total annual: $4980
    Total per mile: ($415 monthly x 42 months / 63,000 miles) = .27 per mile.

    blankslate Reply:

    Transit is definitely cheaper than owning and operating cars in the abstract, but at current prices the rent premium to live in places where it is *desirable* to live a transit-dependent lifestyle far exceeds the savings from not owning cars. Look at the rents in San Francisco, NYC, Vancouver, etc.

    jimsf Reply:

    blankslate has it exactly right!

    Joey Reply:

    But there are ways to reduce those rents rather than trying to get everyone to live in Manteca.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The people who control zoning policy own already; their property values are our rents. Why do you think they’re going to want to reduce rents in NY/SF/Van/DC? That’s their income. Might as well expect OPEC to help reduce the price of oil.

    jimsf Reply:

    Alon, no one has a right to live wherever they want. I mean you want to live someplace you figure out how. You work two jobs, you get a roommate, reduce other expenses. I mean I think I deserve to have an apartment in the Marais. Do the people of France owe me that? Of course not.

    I would have preferred to live at 999 Green street in SF, but I spent most of my life in shoeboxes in the greater tenderloin.

    Unless you want to convert the US to a more socialist system with big blocks of public housing. But I doubt you are going to convince anyone to do that.

    BTW don’t you live in Canada anyway?

    Joey Reply:

    What’s so terrible about replacing architecturally uninteresting mid-century houses with modern 3-4 story mixed use? Why so much backlash to any amount of up-zoning? Expensive places to live will always be expensive, but they could be less outrageous with a few strategic policy decisions.

    jimsf Reply:

    btw way, I had to go to union station for some training this week… I had the chance to use the surfliner service and a short trip on metrolink as well ( from burbank) Metrolink sucked. Ugly stations. Ugly trains, My 808a train never even showed up. No on board staff, uncomfortable seats.

    The surfliner trip was amazing between LAUS and SLO!

    I did have to wonder though….. we are going to cram millions more people into the ugliest part of california, the san joaquin valley, while there are zillions of square miles of gorgeous coast front land, perfect for living!!! Endless empty miles of coastal plateau as far as the eye can see from santa barbara to monterey. Room for millions of people. With much better weather than the valley. check out Jalama Surf (already an amtrak stop there) and Gaviota

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not everyone thinks it’s romantic to walk ten miles in five feet of snow uphill both ways. Some people believe in freedom of movement and such. Nobody’s talking about socialist public housing blocks, at least not yet; we’re talking about legalizing new construction.

    I currently live in Vancouver, which has the same exact problem of greedy homeowners as San Francisco and New York. It’s so bad that a substantial proportion of the population lives in illegal basement suites or in apartments that are in principle garages (there are parking minimums even in areas where transit access is very good).

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The more interesting question is why jimsf thinks that it is perfectly alright to prevent those already owning property in the area from redeveloping for greater capacity.

    jimsf Reply:

    What’s so terrible about replacing architecturally uninteresting mid-century houses with modern 3-4 story mixed use?

    well thats up to the people who live in those houses you think are uninteresting.

    As i pointed out above… there is no shortage of land in california. In fact most of the state is empty space. There are places where new cities could be built from scratch, built to be as efficient and green as possible with a variety of energy efficient high and low density housing, industry, and recreation.

    There are also many underutilized existing cities that should be brought up to at least the density of SF and LA prior to cramming more people into SF and LA

    jimsf Reply:

    Alon, I would love to live in Vancouver. But guess what. I can’t. First of all, Canada isn’t interested in me moving in because I don’t perform a service they need. Second, I can’t afford Vancouver. Third, I don’t have a job in Vancouver.
    So by your estimation, I should be able to live there regardless, because I should be free to live where I want within reason. do I have the right to insist that both Canada and France allow me in because, I said so?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, so we’ve established that people who don’t have jobs can’t move into cities. Why do you think that people who do have jobs in San Francisco shouldn’t be able to live there if they can afford rent at construction costs plus a reasonable rate of developer profit?

    jimsf Reply:

    because alon, that’s the way it is. who is going to decide what a reasonable rate of profit is? and what about the lack of available land. In SF they are currently developing the remaining land.
    Should we start paving over parks? And the people who live in a city have the right, via their democratic government, to decide what goes on in that city.

    I want to buy a house in san luis obispo. They allow practically zero new housing. Thus no homes under half a million. But there is nothing I can do about that.

    I want a new pair of eccos too cuz my back is killing me. But I don’t have the 130 bucks for them. I think Ecco is making too large a profit and should give me the shoes at half price.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    while there are zillions of square miles of gorgeous coast front land, perfect for living!!!

    You can’t put zillions of people along the coast because people like you won’t allow it.

    jimsf Reply:

    or I can buy a pair of nikes instead since thats what I can afford. I guess if I wanted to wear eccos all the time I should have gone to law school or medical school.

    And maybe, if the city wasn’t full of people who didn’t work there, but work in silicon valley, and live there cuz its “kewl” then there would be more places for the people who do work there to live.
    so if you want people who work in sf, to live in sf, then you also have to insist that people who work in silicon valley, live in silicon valley and quit hogging all the sf apartments.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    if they can afford rent at construction costs plus a reasonable rate of developer profit?

    The land under it is worth too much for them to be able to afford the rent. Buy those 3 and 4 story walkups in Hell’s Kitchen for 4 million a piece and tear them down to build a 30 story tower someone has to pay for the land.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Also, what you say about international borders is beside the point, but check your privilege. Yeah, you need to go through hoops to live in another country – but you already have citizenship rights in one with good jobs in almost any industry and field. Most of the world isn’t in that situation. National borders seem fine to you in the same way that laws banning begging and sleeping under bridges seem fine to people who aren’t homeless.

    Joey Reply:

    well thats up to the people who live in those houses you think are uninteresting.

    Sure, but let’s say you have a situation like this: Person A lives in a house and doesn’t wan’t to sell. That’s fine. But Person B lives down the street and does want to sell and the buyers plan on knocking down Person B’s house and building a small apartment building with retail. Should Person A be allowed to prevent this from happening, simply because it might affect their property values and/or Person A has something against that type of development?

    I did have to wonder though….. we are going to cram millions more people into the ugliest part of california, the san joaquin valley, while there are zillions of square miles of gorgeous coast front land, perfect for living!!! Endless empty miles of coastal plateau as far as the eye can see from santa barbara to monterey. Room for millions of people. With much better weather than the valley.

    There’s definitely room for development, but there are very serious ecological issues with urban sprawl. Densifying existing cities I’m fine with, but there are all sorts of reasons not to build tract housing all over the Central California hills (and it’s ugly compared to the natural environment IMO). And there’s the issue that a lot of the Central Coast doesn’t get a huge amount of rainfall, so you’re still importing water.

    Joey Reply:

    so if you want people who work in sf, to live in sf, then you also have to insist that people who work in silicon valley, live in silicon valley and quit hogging all the sf apartments.

    There are a lot of good reasons to discourage long commutes, but how does this inform the question of whether new housing can be built?

    There’s also the problem of the communities near SV jobs not wanting to build new housing (see: Menlo Park vs ABAG). The problem isn’t just in San Francisco, as I’m sure we are all aware.

    jimsf Reply:

    Joey, the situation with neighbor A and neighbor B is resloved with local rules. When you buy into a neighborhood, you do so knowing the rules.

    Same goes for rent control. A landlord can not buy an older building this month in san francisco, and them complain that he can’t make enough rent because the pre 1979 building is subject to rent control as he knew that going in. ( buyer beware)

    Further, tearing down a house and puttiing in a multi unit building benefits the following people.
    The developer and the wealthy new owners or renters since it does nothing to provide housing that is affordable for average workers. So there is a strong incentive for everyone to avoid destroying neighborhoods for the benefit of the wealthy.

    Derek Reply:

    Should Person A be allowed to prevent this from happening, simply because it might affect their property values and/or Person A has something against that type of development?

    Yes, Person A should be allowed to buy Person B’s house.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joey, the situation with neighbor A and neighbor B is resloved with local rules. When you buy into a neighborhood, you do so knowing the rules.

    That’s the housing cartel right there. The rules are decided by preexisting homeowners.

    Maybe to start a tech company people should get approval from preexisting companies?

    jimsf Reply:

    joey then you have to make all the cities in california follow the same rules. youd have to set a state law and apply it equally. That every incorporated city must build x percentage of housing units – and / or accept x number of new residents each year. And to make it even more equitable, the housing would have to be affordable to x number of income levels so that anyone, making any income, would have a choice of any city in california, from Bolinas, to Beverly Hills. but such a law would never pass.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And maybe, if the city wasn’t full of people who didn’t work there, but work in silicon valley, and live there cuz its “kewl” then there would be more places for the people who do work there to live.

    So when you decide you want to live there the government should do everything it can to make that possible but when they decide they want to live there the government should do everything possible to make that difficult or impossible for them. Okay.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Joey, the situation with neighbor A and neighbor B is resloved with local rules.

    The local rules in San Francisco are that the person who bids the highest gets to live there. What’s wrong with that local rule?

    jimsf Reply:

    that’s the housing cartel right there. The rules are decided by preexisting homeowners
    No, the rules are decided by the community. Everyone has access to city hall in san francisco. and I mean every crazy loon off the street has access…. further, developers, renters, poor people, wealthy people, all get to vote in SF. not just “preexisting homeowners” and there are more non owners than owners in SF, making the rules.

    jimsf Reply:

    Alon the bottom line is you have no more right to live in SF than I did when my bf and I moved there as teenagers back in 1982. We rented a studio in the tenderloin, both worked for minimum wage, drank andre 2 dollar champaign in the bathtub, and we dressed in black and stole flowers from the corporate gardens downtown late night, to decorate the apartment. And we were living large.

    So make do. You can’t get a place in SF then live in oakland and take bart like everyone else.

    It is what it is.
    Tell me, does Canada have a right to deny me entry and a job at VIA when I clearly have railroad experience? France and SNCF?

    You won’t get anywhere trying to change these rules. You’ll be old and exhausted long before it happens. Trust me. enjoy vancouver and quit worrying about global issues.

    jimsf Reply:

    “So when you decide you want to live there the government should do everything it can to make that possible”

    That is the question I’m asking. Not claiming.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That is the question I’m asking. Not claiming.

    Then what do you propose they do about high rents in San Francisco that you can’t afford anymore?

    Joey Reply:

    joey then you have to make all the cities in california follow the same rules. youd have to set a state law and apply it equally. That every incorporated city must build x percentage of housing units – and / or accept x number of new residents each year. And to make it even more equitable, the housing would have to be affordable to x number of income levels so that anyone, making any income, would have a choice of any city in california, from Bolinas, to Beverly Hills. but such a law would never pass.

    Such requirements are in fact set by regional governing councils (for instance ABAG), as authorized by SB375 (with the specific intent of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by building more housing closer to where people work). Getting cities to comply with them is another issue of course.

    I still don’t see how any of this means that building more housing in SF would be a bad thing though.

    jimsf Reply:

    joey, they are building thousands of new units of housing.
    Adriron- Im not proposing they do anything about the rents. I don’t live there. And if I ever move back Ill make sure I have a way to afford it or won’t move back. I have no desire to move back. The central coast is like paradise.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The central coast is like paradise.

    Then kwitcherbellyaching about how San Francisco is being over run by yuppies who think it’s kewl

    jimsf Reply:

    adir- i wasn’t the one complaining about lack of housing. Alon was saying that people who work in sf, “deserve” to live in sf, and I just pointed out that theres a bunch of kewl yupies who dont work there taking up space that could be for those who do live there. The kewl yuppies who work in silican valley should live close to where they work so that sf workers can live close to where they work…. the point of alon and others that…. people should and deserve to – live near where they work.

    I don’t care where anyone lives. I dont care if someone cant afford something. I dont even care if they cover the entire coast with stucco houses.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Jim, three things:

    1. Seriously, check your privilege. Yes, it’s stupid and wrong that you can’t move and work for VIA or SNCF if you want, but you already have a job at Amtrak. For immigrants to the US, this isn’t really true: most are coming from poor countries with a massive wage gap with the US, usually a factor of 3 or more, sometimes a factor of 10 or more. Even immigrants within the first world have a good job-related reason to move because different countries are strong in different fields, though usually immigration between first-world countries is easy for professionals.

    2. What I think SF, and the rest of the world, should adopt is the following principle: everyone has the right to build any residential, commercial, or low-pollution industrial building they want on land they own. No parking requirements, no community process, no nothing. Right to build, just like right to start your own business. There’s precedent to overruling community issues in the US, in the Supreme Court decision from the 1940s banning racial restrictions.

    3. The community process is not really democratic. First, it excludes people who would like to move in and could move in if rents were set at construction costs but can’t move in at present rents. But more fundamentally, local politics is broken, everywhere. It overemphasizes local ties, and gives owners more voice than renters even if in principle their votes count the same. The local process in the entire Anglosphere (and more) is about personality rather than ideology, so it’s impossible to form parties with loyalties that extend beyond the immediate localities. This isn’t how federal elections work: you know to vote Democratic wherever you live, because there’s a national ideology there (in fact an international one). In local elections you have to learn everything from scratch, so the people most hurt by the housing cartel are the ones who know the least about who to vote for or about how to band together to demand better policies. When growth happens internally through high birth rates, as with ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, they do know to band to demand upzoning, and indeed their parts of Brooklyn have cheap new buildings.

    joe Reply:

    JimSF is on Fire and writes:

    joey then you have to make all the cities in california follow the same rules. youd have to set a state law and apply it equally. That every incorporated city must build x percentage of housing units – and / or accept x number of new residents each year.

    Such a law exists. It was given teeth recently. No housing compliance, no State money for roads. Add jobs and you have to add housing.

    Cities like PAMPA’s Menlo Park have NOT complied for 20 years. Menlo Park had to agree to 1000 new units and place them by May. About 1000 more units are needed. They would have lost Facebook and state funds.

    Palo Alto is complaining and wants the law changed. They also want to count housing Stanford added as Palo Alto units.

    Mountain View complies – MtV is building up and adding hundreds of new units near Caltrain.

    We have laws and they now have some teeth. Grow your city and you HAVE to add homes or lose state funds for roads.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    i wasn’t the one complaining about lack of housing.

    You complain about it all the time.

    “And maybe, if the city wasn’t full of people who didn’t work there, but work in silicon valley, and live there cuz its “kewl” then there would be more places for the people who do work there to live.”

    And how the yuppies ruined it and on and on.

    There’s no lack of housing in San Francisco. There’s lack of housing you can afford.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What I think SF, and the rest of the world, should adopt is the following principle: everyone has the right to build any residential, commercial, or low-pollution industrial building they want on land they own.

    Then Midtown would be filled with tenements that make Old Law tenements look great and Wall Street up to Chambers or even Canal would be filled with 100 story towers that go right to the property line blocking light

    joe Reply:

    CA has a ADU, granny unit law. We’re allowed to build a 600 Sq Ft unit on our property.

    Santa Cruz even offers these designs
    http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=1158

    Chapter 1062, Statutes of 2002
    (Assembly Bill 1866)
    A. IMPLEMENTATION DISCUSSION FOR SECOND UNIT LAW
    GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 65852.2
    Introduction
    Second-units (i.e., in-law apartments, granny flats, or accessory apartments) provide an source of affordable housing. By promoting the development of second-units, a community may ease a rental housing deficit, maximize limited land resources and existing infrastructure and low and moderate-income homeowners with supplem
    ental income. Second-units can increase the property tax base and contribute to the local affordable housing stock.

    Government Code Section 65852.2 (a.k.a. second-unit law) was enacted in 1982 and has been amended four times (1986, 1990, 1994 and 2002) to encourage the creation of second-units while maintaining local
    flexibility for unique circumstances and conditions. State standards apply if localities do not adopt a second-unit ordinance in accordance with the intent of second-unit law and subsections (a) or (c).

    jimsf Reply:

    adir- please. reading and comprehension….

    my statement about the city being full of people who dont work there wasn’t MY complaint. Alon was complaining that people who work there should be able to live there. I just pointed out that if its better for people to live near their work – per the “liberal progressive ideolgy on this blog” then the silicon valley kewlsters should be living in silicon valley and freeing up housing for sf workers in sf.

    It wasn’t MY complaint. It was his. I am not the one complaining about the cost of living in SF ALON is the one complaining about it. I am the one saying too bad, do what I did, and make do or get a roommate or whatever. thats what I had to do. Thats what he and others can do.
    He is the one suggesting that everyone should live in the city and use transit. I am the one pointing out that many people can’t afford it. Not that I cant afford. I can if I wanted to. but that others can’t. But others aren’t my problem and I do no support destroying the citys standard of living in order to cram more people rich kids in there. they can move there asses to the eastbay like the rest of us had too.

    jimsf Reply:

    goddam obnoxious new yorkers. no wonder I can’t stand em.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Many of us do get roommates. I did in grad school when I wasn’t living with my then-girlfriend. The only affordable apartments were still crap. And SF isn’t any better than NY there. For 5 years I was in the same situation you were in and my sister is currently in the same situation. The difference is, I don’t romanticize it, nor do I tell ten-miles-in-five-feet-of-snow-uphill-both-ways stories.

    What’s destroying living standards is high housing costs. If you need to spend 45% of your pre-tax income on rent, as I did my first 2 years in New York (with 3 roommates, in a terrible apartment), you have no money to spend on other things. With rents set at construction costs plus a normal rate of return, everyone above the poverty line could afford city housing, and the middle class could afford normal-sized city apartments and have money left over from not needing a car. With cartel housing prices, only the rich and the rent-controlled can afford city housing.

    joe Reply:

    Data Show cost of ownership increasing, cost to operate increasing and cost to buy NEW and USED increasing. Data show personal income is not keeping up. Median new car (median is a good stat) puts a new car cost at 30K. Data show the loan to buy both USED and NEW cars is larger and longer.

    The AAA Consumer reports et al cost of ownership exercise has TWO purposes, First, compare the relative costs BETWEEN vehicles for consumer choice AND Second compare CHANGES over TIME.

    Buying habits change – people now own cars longer. In my youth 5 years was a long time.
    Cars didn’t make it to 100k easily. 60K was a good time to consider a new car. I got 105 K out of my Chevy Vega and sold it to a demolition car racer. It was a miracle to get 100K out of a Vega. Today it’s expected for any vehicle.

    Consumer and industry continue to 5 years as informative benchmark, not exactly representative but if it were, the data would not be comparable over time.

    Consumer reports offers, 1, 3, 5, and 8 year cost of ownership data.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s easy to argue with this macro-estimate when it’s a lot higher than the total amount of money that US households spend on transportation divided by the number of cars on the road.

    joe Reply:

    But it isn’t Alon. It isn’t.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    18% per household times mean household income of about $66,000 equals $12,000. That’s $6,000 per car. Not $10,000.

    joe Reply:

    That trick doesn’t debunk the macro economic analysis – you’re off playing with a different population and making incorrect associations.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It debunks the analysis on average; the population in question is the entire US, same population the AAA purports to represent.

    On the margins it’s different, but the cars that people get rid of on the margins if there’s better transit are the cheaper ones – the family’s second car, the less nice cars owned by the lower middle class, etc. There’s a study from a few years ago about that that argued that the marginal savings per household from getting rid of a car are lower, at $4,000 a year if I remember correctly.

    joe Reply:

    It debunks the analysis on average; the population in question is the entire US, same population the AAA purports to represent.

    No – they report car ownership costs on ave, not ave US household car ownership costs.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Did you miss the part about dividing by the number of cars per household?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Yeah but I think we are closer to 200m households in the US and not very many more cars than that, so we do not have 2 cars per household we have more like 1.1 or 1.2, so using your numbers you’re still back to $10k/yr.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    132 million housing units in the US. Not all of them are occupied.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I stand corrected. But the average car costs ~$30k new and if the useful live is ~150k miles (including those that are wrecked before they die on their own, with or without some level of insurance) then that’s $0.20 per mile not including interest.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The actual number of households is about 120 million. See Quickfacts and divide present population by average household size to get the most recent estimate.

    There are 240 million cars in the US, give or take a few million depending on what you count (motorcycles, trucks, etc.).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The population includes people who don’t live in households.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s very few people. The census classifies people as living in households or in group quarters. A single person living alone is in a household, of size 1. Two roommates who are unrelated and not in a romantic relationship are two separate households, also of size 1. Group quarters is active-duty soldiers, prisoners, etc.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The prison population in the US is a small but significant part of the population.

    If those two people share the kitchen they are living in one housing unit. The second person is classed as “other non relative” in the household. If there are two kitchens but the second person has to pass through the first person’s living room to get to their part of the house they are still living in one housing unit and the second person is still classed as “other non relative”. If the granny suite is an illegal conversion and there’s only one mailbox they are only going to get one Census form. And the people in the granny suite are either not going to get counted or get put on the form as “other non relative”.

    Group quarters is almost anything that doesn’t have a kitchen and where people spend most of their time. College dorms for instance. Nursing homes. Motels and hotels. Campgrounds. Marinas Prisons.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s a couple percent, comparable to the uncertainty in the census numbers. (New York was undercounted by about 3-4% in the 2010 census judging by the 2009 ACS and the housing survey.) At any rate, the transportation cost numbers I’m using are listed per household.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Okay the IRS and AAA pull their numbers out of thin air. And people don’t live in households without cars and people who own cars always live in households. And never register their personal vehicle as a commercial one. Or live in a state where pickup trucks must be registered as commercial vehicles.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The AAA makes certain assumptions that aren’t typical of most owners that end up raising the cost of depreciation. The IRS is following the AAA’s lead, and de facto people who are compensated at 55 cents a mile volunteer to drive as often as possible.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most owners are idiots and calculate their cost per mile as how many miles they can drive on a gallon of gas.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Does the 18% per household include depreciation?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, but it includes purchase prices. In a population with stable car ownership, like today’s America, it’s equivalent.

    Useless Reply:

    I drive 22K miles a year, and my cost is less than $4,500 including insurance, gas, and routine repairs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What’s your depreciation? What the opportunity cost of having money tied up in a car instead of in a mutual fund or even a savings account at a bank?

    joe Reply:

    That’s $0.20 per mile. Why is this cost not reproduced by financial sites or auto sites? It isn’t sustainable.

    It’s possible to buy used cars and avoid average costs but at the macro level not everyone can buy used cars. When more people shift to used cars, the cost increases. No such relief from repair costs.

    http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/car-news/117835/used-car-prices-increase-sharply.jsp
    Average price of used cars appreciated nearly $8,000 from 2008

    Many car shoppers feel slighted when they are offered a price for their trade in at the dealership. According to Kelly Blue Book, customers seeking a trade-in offer may now have something to smile about. Since 2008, the average value for a one to three year old used vehicle has risen 16% per year. A one to three year old used car in 2008 was worth an average of $15,000; in 2011 it would fetch around $23,000.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “It’s possible to buy used cars and avoid average costs but at the macro level not everyone can buy used cars.”

    Indeed. There are entire countries which buy used cars, but you can’t have the entire *world* do it.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “What’s your depreciation?”

    It’s always huge. Cars need major repairs intermittently. Even if you get something with a sterling repair record like a Toyota Corolla. Routine repairs, all very well, but then suddenly you have to replace all the belts, or the gas tank, or the muffler, or something…. and it just happens with usage. Then, whoa, you have to buy a new car.

    “What the opportunity cost of having money tied up in a car instead of in a mutual fund or even a savings account at a bank?”

    Not much right now, given extremely low interest rates and low rates of inflation. That’s a result of the Second Great Depression, which will hopefully end sometime.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Another way to make this point is that cars are really not designed to last more than ten years.

    The list of parts you’re supposed to replace at the 10-year service is very large, and that’s without considering any body damage or accidents or anything odd.

    I just discovered that in NY you’re not even required to tell a buyer if your car’s odometer is broken if it’s 10 years old.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    putting $20,000 dollars into a CD paying 1% is better than stuffing $20,000 in the mattress.

    Andy M Reply:

    “Not much right now, given extremely low interest rates and low rates of inflation. That’s a result of the Second Great Depression, which will hopefully end sometime.”

    come again …

    We’re coming out of a huge depression. My personal stock portfolio made 16 percent plus during 2012 on top of about 7 percent during 2011. It’s up another 4 percent so far this year. And believe me, I’m not one bit talented when it comes to picking the right stocks.

    BTW, I don’t have a car and I rent my appartement. This gives me more cash in hand to invest.

    TomA Reply:

    Check out the stock market returns in 1932-1937 – they dwarf those – the Dow went from around 40 to almost 200 in those 5 years. And I don’ think anyone would say those weren’t still part of the Depression.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How much is your stock portfolio up compared to 1999?

    Andy M. Reply:

    The nasdaq and such indexes are actually skewed to give too much weight to high volatility stocks. Many mainstream stocks recovered from that crash within 12 to 18 months.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Compare to broad indices like the Fortune 500 or the Wilshire 3000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S%26P500_%281950-12%29.jpg

  3. Loren Petrich
    Apr 16th, 2013 at 07:01
    #3

    That looks welcome, but let’s hope that Obama doesn’t bargain it all away. I think that what he needs to do is dangle some pork in front of some big-name Republicans, money for some projects in their districts.

    In any case, likely recipients of HSR money are nearly all in “blue states” and “purple states”. Though if politicians in Florida and Texas become more HSR-friendly, we could see some “red state” HSR.

    VBobier Reply:

    The US Senate version of His proposed budget is the better one, neither one is expected to pass in the Repub controlled House, since Repubs passed another dufus budget bill that will never pass in the US Senate….

  4. John Burrows
    Apr 16th, 2013 at 08:56
    #4

    One way to downsize the Republicans in the House Of Representatives—More young voters. In 2012, 58% of voters age 18-29 voted for House Democrats, only 37% voted for House Republicans. And in the 2010 Republican blowout in The House 57% of voters 18-29 kept it from being even worse by voting Democrat.

    More young people are voting—Voter participation for 18-29’s is now over 50%, but that is still way short of the close to 70% participation of my age group (over 65). Too bad a way can’t be found to really fire up young voters in 2014 because they could send a lot of Republicans on to other pursuits.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Young voters become old voters and let’s keep in mind that the Obama administration is doing a terribly good job of disenchanting young voters.

    Travis D Reply:

    Really? Because that isn’t my experience.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In 1980 I could not believe the early 20-somethings who were gung-ho about Reagan. They hated Carter and the Iran hostage thing in particular. So strange things can happen and a sudden turn to the right can happen out of nowhere.

    But here’s a genuine challenge to the Cheerleaders and if they take it seriously maybe they might momentarily grasp my thinking. To wit:

    Why in hell does the Amtrak bus linking Bako and LA travel via Tejon? It should be immediately re-routed via Tehachapi to benefit from the bustling passenger market at Tehachapi, Mojave, Palmdale, etc.

    Now while you are formulating your set of excuses for this policy, the Cheerleader Party Line, really think about what you are saying and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of what I assert the DogLeg is an unqualified turkey.

    synonymouse Reply:

    why I assert

    Nathanael Reply:

    The Reagan era was strange and horrifying. I, however, was a 0-something and 10-something during that period, so I can’t explain the psychology of people 20 years older than me. The shift away from Reagan started roughly speaking with people born in 1974.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People born in 1974 weren’t old enough to vote for Reagan. Or Bush.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    No, but they would become old enough to vote in 1994, and would have seen some of the effects of Reagan and Republican policies and outlooks. The latter, with what has become more and more extremely loud, obnoxious, and toxic language on things like same-sex marriage, gun control, abortion, and the general attitude of “USA No. 1!!” all the time is a big turn-off for those who see same-sex couples as people, for those who see birth control pills as a health issue, for those who see how we are slipping behind from our position of preeminence. Hell, I should be a Tea Party person, being Catholic, pro-life, real conservative in a lot of ways, but those bozos turn me off with their insulting language (“Do you miss George W. Bush yet?”), hypocritical behavior (“family values” not even honored in the breach), and just plain factual goofiness (“Obummer is a Muslim terrorist out to destroy America”). Who needs that bunch? Why would anyone listen to such a bunch of insulting, scolding people?

    I just hope that crowd doesn’t actually turn dangerous; a lot of their talk is frightening if they’re at all serious about things like “Second Amendment solutions.”

    Speaking of hypocritical people, I couldn’t help but recall Ray Stevens and his “Mississippi Squirrel Revival”–still funny (and supposedly based on an actual incident!), even if Stevens has taken to the Republican side of late:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K16fG1sDagU

    datacruncher Reply:

    Amtrak’s Thruway bus service operates over both Tehachapi and Tejon from Bakersfield.
    http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/158/578/California-Thruway-Map-2012.pdf
    Following Amtrak’s example then California needs two HSR lines south of Bakersfield, crossing both Tehachapi and Tejon.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks for the map. But the bus via Tehachapi is not shown going to LA.

    Peter Reply:

    No need for Amtrak Thruway Bus between Palmdale/Lancaster region and LA because there is already Metrolink service along that corridor. Contrast that with no rail service between Bakersfield and LA, or Bakersfield and Palmdale/Lancaster, hence the need for Thruway Buses. *shrug*

    Eric Reply:

    Not that I support Tehachapi, but the extra distance is a lot more tolerable at HSR speeds than bus speeds.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As Syn said, young voters in the 1980s voted Reagan from the start.

    Obama’s disillusioning of people in my generation isn’t really leading to a rightward turn. It’s just depressing turnout. Ezra Klein had it right in 2005 when he wrote about why young people don’t vote much: their main experience with government is being harassed by cops. He doesn’t mention it in his article, but the structure of local government encourages young apathy as well: people who write zoning codes often explicitly complain about students moving in, and people are invariably told that if they haven’t lived in the same place for decades their opinion doesn’t count. Middle-class 20-somethings, who move around for college and early jobs, are excluded this way; working-class 20-somethings are similarly excluded by seniority-focused union governance. When you sign a two-tiered wage structure, you can expect zero loyalty from the people at the bottom tier who you’ve screwed to avoid taking a wage cut yourself.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I don’t think there is as much conflict with students in California – it is more renters(students)and, shall we say an animal house lifestyle conflicting with homeowners in the same neighborhood, who are not necessarily much older but working and struggling with payments and their own student debt. Most of the conflict is not so much about parties but about parking. Some parking problems abound when you have a lot of people and/or families packing into the same house.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No they didn’t. He got 44 percent of the vote among people under 30. It was the old rich straight white guys who put him into office.

    http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/how_groups_voted/voted_80.html

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Bleh. Yeah, sorry.

    That said, Reagan underperformed his national share by 7 points among under-30 voters. Romney did by 10.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Romney was about the single worst collection of stereotypes you could possible put on as the RNC candidate.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    True. But those stereotypes made him less popular overall, and did not necessarily make him less popular with younger people.

    thatbruce Reply:

    He got some help filling out some other stereotypes with Paul Ryan’s help.

    Walter Reply:

    Alon, do you have a link to the Ezra Klein article?

    Nathanael Reply:

    The apathy isn’t going to last. It’s also not going to be replaced by loyalty to organizations which betrayed the youth.

    This means we’re going to see new organizations. We’re ripe for a new party system at the national level.

    Andrew Reply:

    The 2013 Obama would be disenchanting to the young Obama himself. But he knows better now. It’s not that his views have simply *shifted* horizontally; rather, they have *developed*. His way of knowing the right decision to make both encompasses and transcends his earlier way of knowing. But he still has a way to go. There is very good reason for heads of state to be in their late 50s or above. Compare Nelson Mandela’s leadership (which began in his late 70s) to what it might have been like in his 40s. It is unfortunate that our system generally does not produce leaders of the caliber of a granda-age Barack Obama, so that in 2008, even a middle-age Barack Obama was the top candidate. We didn’t have the luxury to wait for him to develop further, a luxury we should have had. With all due respect to Hillary and McCain, even in their fully developed states they were not of the same caliber as a still-growing Obama. It was obvious.

    Andrew Reply:

    grandpa-age

    joe Reply:

    My beef is Obama and Bill Clinton have daddy abandonment issues. Can we have a Dem President who father was around during his childhood?

    TomA Reply:

    I would argue that George W’s Daddy issues got us in alot worse trouble.

    joe Reply:

    You’d win that argument.

    I’d just say it’s ANOTHER example of not selecting presidents with Daddy issues.

    Andrew Reply:

    Mitt came closer, but was still not fully his own man. He was still someone trying to prove himself, as you could see from the way his message shifted so radically according to his audience (witness the 47% video). He is still not truly his own man, because he is not a self-authoring person.

    McCain might seem self-authoring because he often goes against the majority, but as we learned this is fundamentally just something he does to draw attention to himself as being unorthodox (Palin selection, etc.). This is in fact the *opposite* of authentic self-authorship. Hillary and Mitt are also attention-seekers.

    The disenchanted young voters should learn to appreciate the fact that the president is not such a person. His mind is not pushed around by the need for attention and approval, and he can withstand the young voters’ disenchantment if he must in order to do what is right.

    Andrew Reply:

    This is why I voted for Obama over Mitt, even though Mitt had a less partial, more-developed understanding of some very critical issues.

    Andrew Reply:

    The strongest recent candidates on the cognitive metric I’m using above are (1) Ron Paul, (2) Jon Huntsman, (3) Gary Johnson, and (4) Barack Obama. I could be forgetting some.

    I wouldn’t vote for Paul as *President*, but I would have picked a 2008 Huntsman over a 2008 Obama. Would have to learn more about Johnson.

    It’s no coincidence that the above candidates are either centrists (2 & 3), not aligned with orthodox party platforms (1), or disillusioning to partisan-minded people who voted for them (4).

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I saw a little bit of Huntsman, and was impressed. How come he didn’t get his party’s nod?

    As to No. 4 (“disillusioning to partisan-minded people who voted them in”), I’ll still say I’m impressed with Obama, and the greater disappointment is in his party, who have been wanting him to be more extreme. No, no, no, no, you need someone with a delicate touch for that art called compromise. And again, this also shows up the clumsy, ham-handed Republicans. . .

    Nathanael Reply:

    “No, no, no, no, you need someone with a delicate touch for that art called compromise”

    It is moronic to attempt to compromise with people who refuse to compromise.

    I mean, sure, do it long enough to demonstrate to the public that the Republicans refuse to compromise. This was done by mid-2009. Now, trying to compromise with Republicans is simply bull-headed stupidity.

    FDR knew that there was a time for compromise and a time for all-out opposition. So did Teddy Roosevelt. So did Jefferson. So did Lincoln. Apparently Obama does not realize this.

    It’s a serious character defect — actually a sort of mental illness. And it’s *disastrous*.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Making the Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains permanent (work is for suckers!) was unforgivable.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Nathanael: perhaps connect your point with the point about lack-of-father issues; a slightly neurotic need to make peace, to win acceptance, etc.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Huntsman turns out to be a bit of fraud; investigate him more closely.

    Andy M Reply:

    I’m with you on Mitt, but not 100% on McCain.

    I believe that there are times when as a party you face an election you can’t possibly win. What then is the best strategy? Put up a chameleon candidate who’s going to say what people want to hear, whose going to try and be a carbon copy of the popular guy he’s running against, but will lose anyway? What’s the value in that? Or you can put up in such a situation a candidate who under normal conditions you wouldn’t want to see running for office, but who will say radical things that need to be said and provoke all sorts of deabtes that many years down the line people will remember that you supported a guy who said that. You will lose all the same, but with that strategy you may have sowed seeds that ony day may reap some benefit.

    It was foolish of the GOP to rally behind Mitt. Losing with somebody more original might have been a better strategy. It was also a wasted opportunity to lose with Sarah Palin. In the same way that the Dems tjhrew away an opportunity with Kerry. Quite possibly, history will show that McCain may have fitted that role.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Young voters become old voters”
    But they don’t change their views. (This is pretty well documented.) They remain left-wingers socially and whatever-they-are economically and supporters of rail — and they continue to detest Republican politicians.

    “and let’s keep in mind that the Obama administration is doing a terribly good job of disenchanting young voters.”

    He’s disenchanting young voters by acting Republican. The young voters will vote Democratic… or they’ll vote Green or Socialist Worker Party or something. NOT Republican.

    I actually have a theory that the Republican Party (which is now a fascist party) will die off, the Democratic Party will become the right-wing party, and a new left-wing party will arise. *It’s happened before* with the Whigs, Democrats, and Republicans in the 19th century.

    joe Reply:

    In 1980 the youth vote was following Anderson. He was an independent in the election. I liked him but stuck with Carter.

    Look at wikipedia
    “By the end of the campaign, Anderson’s support came mostly from college students.”

    And Carter was a fluke:
    In 1976 the Christian and Southern Voter had a choice between Michigan’s Gerald Ford (president) and Southern Christian Baptist Jimmy Carter. Many selected Carter.

    Reagan gained working class union Dems “Reagan democrats” and took more of the Christian, Southern voter. And it was close – also Anderson from Rockford IL ran as the third party candidate and took left voters.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..just to be a gadfly I vote Working Familes Party whenever the Democrat is also on that line….. .They keep hitting the ballot access threshold…

    Andy M Reply:

    “But they don’t change their views”

    or do they?

    Winston Churchill famously said, if a young man isn’t a socialist he has no heart, but if an older man isn’t a conservative he has no brain.

    Of course one can debate whether it’s really as simple as that, but as one’s experience and responsibilities change in life and as one has more to lose and less to gain, one’s political attitudes adapt accordingly.

    If the GOP continues to melt down and vanish, this opens up entirely new perspectives on a more conservatively minded party (but without the craziness) maybe 10 or 20 years down the road and one that could make considerable inroads into present-day Dem support. I wouldn’t count my sheep just yet.

    TomA Reply:

    No they don’t – Churchill was generally wrong. They might moderate their stances (I can think of some relatively egregious things I uttered in my early 20s that would be utterly embarrasing to say aloud in my early 30s), but young people who start out liberal tend to stay liberal.

    I would also say that young people tend to care alot more about social issues than economic issues. So alot of people who you think just suddenly became economic conservatives (because they had espoused lots of socially liberal views, and no economically conservative ones) really were tending that way all along.

    I think people also underestimate the number of young people who actually are conservative around the country. When I lived out in Champaign for a couple of years it was amazing to talk to all of these native downstate Illinoian students who were conservatives.

    Andy M Reply:

    Well, I’m now in my early 40s. I was quite an oustpoken leftie in my early 20s but have come to re-think many opinions since then. Whereas I wouldn’t say I’ve turned around 180 degrees, I have come to see things in a more nuanced way and have come to see the positive sides of many things I once despised. There is a difference between being young, full of idealism and having nothing to lose, combined with a certain naive trust of people and philosophies you haven’t fully understood, and having built something up with your own seat and labor that you need to protect.

    Andy M Reply:

    sorry that should read “sweat and labor …”

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I have come to see things in a more nuanced way and …

    Aka “senility”.

    It happens to all of us.

    The difference is that some of us recognize the symptoms, even if we are powerless to arrest the degeneration.

    To a good first approximation, “nuance” and “balance” and “compromise” and “civility” are code words for “I’ve got mine; screw you!”

    joe Reply:

    Since someone mentioned self-awareness…

    Do you wonder when people see a book like this, http://www.amazon.com/Asshole-Rule-Civilized-Workplace-Surviving/dp/0446698202 that they might possibly think of you?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sure, let’s all be balanced. The truth lies somewhere between goldbug austerity and Obama-level stimulus. It lies somewhere between Saddam having WMD and Saddam not having WMD. Etc.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Winston Churchill famously said, if a young man isn’t a socialist he has no heart, but if an older man isn’t a conservative he has no brain.

    Oscar Wilde famously said, “quotation attributions on the Internet are often wrong.”

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Georges_Clemenceau

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