The other day a coworker asked me jokingly, “Soon you are going to have that shiny new public train running almost from your doorstep and straight to the office. Don’t you feel bad that drivers on the parallel public toll way are paying higher tolls to finance that train for you?”
To which, I replied to his surprise, “No. They choose to have a public train instead of a private one, so it is correct that they suffer the consequences of their bad judgment. It is their own premises that are coming back to bite them.”
It is an interesting contrast. I did not support the public train, because I thought it should be privately constructed and owned; just as there was a private train that ran a parallel and longer route before the public turned that graded train track into a bike path, d’oh! In addition, to the public capital outlay for construction, I can expect that every time that I ride the train that I will pay a discounted fare subsidized by the voters, who support politicians who attack private ownership and demand publicly owned transportation.
To say that it is publicly financed is a bit of a misnomer, as local property owners will be paying higher taxes, which is an interesting shell game. Previously, the county building codes restricting construction of taller building, which depressed land values; now, the county has eliminated that restriction to finance the train. Hence, the private property owners were capable of financing better local transportation independent of government, but local government regulation of property forbade it.
Meanwhile, the federal government is also subsidizing the construction of this train, which helps to offset the higher costs the feds impose upon human development with environmental and labor laws. Think about that for a minute; all the feel good legislation, which is inconsistent with reality, increases costs to an extent that the federal government chooses to spend money to overcome the obstacles to human development created by the government. Instead of waiving those costs at no additional cost to taxpayers, the obstacles are maintained and human development is held hostage to political approval and subsidy.
This situation reminds me of a fictional train from the novel Atlas Shrugged. As the train approaches its doom, a head on collision with a munitions train in a tunnel running through a mountain, Ayn Rand, the author, explorers how the premises, values, and choices of the individual passengers led to their eminent deaths; those soon-to-be-dead passengers were not victims, but co-conspirators in the disaster. Similarly, with this new public train in reality, the public expenses and subsidies are the consequence of the voters support for politicians, both Democratic and Republican, who attack private property and impose a crippling regulatory burden on business. If those voters suffer the consequences of their choices, then I have no sympathy for them.
Perhaps, you expected gratitude for the shiny new train; no, from me, you will receive only contempt and an “I told you so” related to its financial drain on the public.