Let;s not pick on Ben Cunningham. The columnist for the Tennessean must be a fine fellow, and he certainly makes a few salient points about the current federal trend to bail out everything in sight. We must, however, part company on Amtrak.
Here is the specific offending portion and a link to the entire essay.
The result: The U.S. auto industry will become just another bloated, politicized, semi-governmental blob producing a mediocre product that fewer and fewer people will choose — think Amtrak, Fannie Mae or the Postal Service. And Congress will have created yet another source of temptation for themselves. Expect many more future Duke Cunninghams and Ted Stevenses to go to jail over illegal bribes from auto-industry lobbyists.
Where to begin?
Duke Cunningham made his money on Defense Department contracts. Does Ben propose doing away with the Air Force?
Amtrak is, from the beginning, corporate welfare. It was designed as a mechanism to pay labor protection for the rail industry, which was all too willing to ditch the passenger trains they promised to run when they took all those taxpayer breaks to build them in the first place.
Amtrak pays loads of payroll and local taxes.
It is political, just like interstate highways and airports. Amtrak is part of the transportation system. It provides the sole intercity service for many rural communities. It is exactly what government should be doing.