It’s about AmTrak, Not Ideology
Or at least it should be! Whether or not we should prop up an economic sinkhole is open for discussion, but making one’s case devoid of facts should not be the preferred method. This from my new favorite punching bag, the Times editorial page:
The sudden firing by the Amtrak board of David Gunn, the best president in years of the nation’s only passenger railroad, was a body blow to anybody who cares about long-range passenger trains.
Mr. Gunn has done a masterly job in the last three years of holding down costs without dismantling the railroad. That, apparently, was his problem. Mr. Gunn was trying to save Amtrak, but the Bush administration wants to privatize it, bit by bit….
For Amtrak’s 25 million passengers, this should be a call to arms. Amtrak should be a public transportation trust. It will never be self-sufficient, nor show a conventional profit, any more than the airline industry can fly without federal help. The Bush administration long ago threatened to disassemble Amtrak. Yesterday it began at the executive suite.
Assertion: Bush is firing a good president of an inefficient business that will never ever break even because he wants to privatize it.
1. The AmTrak president was good.
2. Anyone who would fire him doesn’t care about long-range passenger trains.
3. “Privatization” is bad.
4. AmTrak “will never be self-sufficient”.
5. “Public transportation trusts” are necessary and good.
I’m admittedly not the authority on this topic, but I did write a brief something about it a few months ago addressing a few of these issues. In my opinion none of these five claims are categorically true, but the Times seems to think it can make such statements without evidence and expect the world to just nod and approve.
I may have to stop reading the Times editorial page altogether. I thought it would give me some additional insight into the newspaper’s methods or something, but the more editorials I read the more blatantly single-minded and irreverent to logic I think they are and the less respect I have for them.