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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Giving back the high-speed rail "free pony" anchor baby

Government / Bureaucracy, TAXES, Transportation, WISCONSIN, United States

Most people know there is no such thing as a free lunch or a free puppy. Someone always has to pay for the free lunch (which often has some strings attached for the diner), and the free puppy has all sorts of long term costs. But these two freebies pale in comparison to the entanglements involved in getting a free pony.

When my other half was a teen, he loved horses. (We both still do.) He rode any chance he got and helped at an area stable for riding privileges. Seeing this interest, his great uncle offered to buy him a horse of his own. Wow, that was quite a gift: a free horse!

But like the free lunch and free puppy, there isn't such a thing as a free horse either. Yes, the free horse would have been fun. It would have been nice to have. The son really wanted it. Yet his parents had to be the grownups and tell the generous uncle, no.

Why? Because they couldn't afford to board the free horse. The maintenance cost of a free horse for boarding and vet bills was just more than a family of seven's budget could support. Before you are too hard on the parents, in today's dollars, could your family afford a $500-$600 per month boarding fee? And what about the vet bills?

Sure, the boy could have worked off some of those costs by working at the stable, but that still has a cost associated with that work, since he wouldn't have the time to do chores at home or work for his spending money. The only fiscally responsible decision the parents could make was to give the free horse back.

And that was the only rational decision Wisconsin could make. Like the free horse, free high speed rail was not needed, it would benefit only a small percentage of the people, and it cost too much to maintain. Governor Elect Scott Walker had to be the grownup and say, no, to the uncle. However, unlike my husband's uncle, our Uncle Sam can't afford it.

Wisconsin isn't the only state with a grownup governor, Ohio's Governor Elect John Kasich also opposed high speed rail. So between Wisconsin and Ohio, $1.2 billion of free money was taken back by the Obama administration. The money should go back to pay down the US debt; instead it is going to 12 other states for their rail projects. And maybe that is why this take back occurred now, before legislation requiring the monies go back to the Federal Treasury could be passed next session.

"In a joint statement, U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri and Paul Ryan wrote: 'We support Governor-elect Walker's effort to put the brakes on the high-speed rail budget boondoggle, which is why we introduced legislation, today, that would give states the ability to return federal funds obligated to high-speed rail projects, and instead use this money to reduce our nation's $1.6 trillion deficit and $13.8 trillion debt. This high-speed rail project is a bad investment for taxpayers and our state simply cannot afford it.' "

And how is the Milwaukee to Madison rail line in effect an anchor baby? Because it was the foot in the door. Like illegal alien anchor babies, the short Milwaukee/Madison run would do the same. (Babies born in the US to illegal aliens often are rationale to bring in the whole family.) Take a look.
We dodged a big budget deficit bullet here in Wisconsin by giving back the free pony (anchor baby) high-speed rail. The short Milwaukee to Madison line was just the beginning when you consider the size and scope of the whole proposed rail projects in the works for Wisconsin. (Map from Vicki McKenna 11-30-2010 post.)

See how additional rail lines to Green Bay, La Crosse, Eau Claire/Minneapolis are outlined on the map?

If we are in doubt as to how we could afford the short 70 mile Milw./Madison run, how would we ever afford these?

We aren't out of the woods yet, the pro-trainers are not going to give up easily. Plus, Wisconsin's commuter line between Milwaukee and Chicago is still to get $2 million, but for now, at least we have one less thing to worry about.

More reading: Wis., Ohio high-speed rail money goes elsewhere
Use rail funds for deficit?

Past Posts: Email Aldermen & Mayor re: Brookfield train station, Walker rally in 3rd Ward
STOP the Obama & Doyle waste-of-money train.

Links: 

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Brookfield7, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News, Breitbart BigGovernment

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