17 April, 2009

What is this Euroenvy our government seems to have?

Over the past several years, there seems to be a growing sense of Euroenvy in our country. Many people look at the way things are going in Europe, and wish it would happen here.

Most recently, the Dictator in Chief announced plans to establish a high speed rail system in this country. He claims that it will help to link the people of this country together. No doubt, this is based on the rail system in Europe.

Here is why it won't work. First of all, all of the tree huggers won't let it. But assuming they do start building it, there is no way it will ever cover the costs of operation.

Part of the reason that it works in Europe, is that the entire continent of Europe is more than double the population density of the US. Europe has a population density of 70 people per square Km, while the US comes in as the 177th most densely populated nation in the world at 31 people per square Km. Several European nations register in the high triple digits, and host the world's most densely populated nation, Monaco, which tips the scales at a staggering 16,905 people per sqkm (just under 32k people live in its just under 2 mile borders). All in, 24 European nations register densities of over 100, including 3 (Monaco, Vatican City (2045) and Malta (1258)) over 1000.

If people live close together, it makes it more efficient to take the train.

As part of the announced plans, they intend the UPNY corridor between Buffalo and Albany. That's all well and good, except that a report came out today, that Thru-Way usage is down. That would suggest that there is less demand for transit between these cities.

Another problem that we are going to run into is the complete lack of experienced rail workers. The high speed trains would require a different type of track than standard trains, so it's not going to create any new jobs, since all of the workers would have to come from Europe or Asia, where they use the high speed trains already. Didn't we learn the lesson from Springfield with the Monorail?

I've taken a train ride. It was fun, but I'm not sure I would do it again. When I was living in Sacramento, I needed to get to Salt Lake City, UT. The train tickets were only about $50 less than it would have been to fly. It took 11 hours to take the train (it takes about 9 to drive), and when we got there, we still didn't have a car.

When it comes down to it, mass transit works in densely populated cities, not in the spread out expanses.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we fight a war to not be a European nation? Wasn't this country founded by people not wanting to live in Europe, for whatever reason?

16 April, 2009

Another step down the Red path to comunisim.

Recently, Time Warner Cable announced plans to restructure the way they bill for their RoadRunner internet service. To sum it up, it would be more of an a la carte type of thing where they would be billing based on usage rather than having blanket unlimited price plans.

As part of this price restructuring, they established a few markets as test markets to see how it would work. They then moved it to the next step by testing other markets. One of the markets slated to be in the next round of testing was to have been Rochester, NY.

There was a groundswell of dissatisfied customers when this came through. Facebook groups started, websites were created all to express dissatisfaction with the proposed rate changes.

All this despite assertions from Time Warner, that a majority of customers would end up saving money, because the caps set would be higher than the typical internet user uses on a monthly basis.

In a measure of full disclosure, I am torn with this issue. As a consumer, I am not excited at the prospect of services that I use having higher rates, I cannot find fault in Time Warner for looking for ways to increase revenue and increase shareholder value. After all, that is what they are in business for. And if this change was made, I most likely would have exercised my right as a consumer to switch to a competitor with no such usage caps.

Enter our knights in shining armor, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep Eric Massa (D-NY). They came in to our rescue in a sweeping comunistic measure. They (mostly Schumer) bullied a privatly held corporation into suspending the use of Rochester as one of their test markets.

Gone are the days where the government didn't have the right to step in and dictate how businesses operate and how they deturmine how they bill their customers.

Maybe next, Schumer can go after those evil restaurantures that charge so much for their meals. It's unfair that they are allowed to charge as much as they like for the food they serve. Not everyone can afford to spend $30 for a steak, let alone as much as $100 or more for a meal if you want an appatizer and desert. We should have the government do something about it. When they have fixed that, they should go after luxury car makers. After all, most working Americans can't afford to pay $70,000 or more for a car. They have already gone after those who had the audacity to forclose on mortgages taken out by those who couldn't afford $500k houses.