State of the Union

I’ve been dithering about writing on the State of the Union, as I’m not sure I have that much to say, other than: if you want to go to heaven, do not use circles to compare the magnitude of something unless you are prepared to deal with the hassle of pi. US GDP is not five times bigger than Chinese GDP. It’s a bit less than three times bigger.

The major message from the White House on the infrastructure front is high speed rail, and oh, by the way, the Federal government, even though America is rich and has the dadgum biggest big circle among the big circle crowd, is (like California) brokity broke broke.

I honestly think that the emphasis on HSR is counterproductive for him politically. It adds fuel to the fire that he is fiscally irresponsible even if you are an arm’s length sympathiser like me. Everything he wants to do, with LaHood, could be accomplished on the down-low through the FTA if he can swing the budgetary resources. There’s a reason that high-profile Republican governors have turned down HSR money, and it’s because the Republicans are lining up on it at the party level–and it’s not a bad bet to throw down on right now with everybody freaked out about the costs of healthcare reform and the economy, and the shortage of funds at the state level. The Feds are expecting the states to pay, the states are expecting the Feds to pay, and everybody is wishing and hoping for private sector miracles. I think it’s too messy to try to win on right now.