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Old 10-13-2010, 01:57 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Fact is California once was the golden state. I've lived a good chunk of my life there but its full of self centered people who passed things like Prop 13 that led directly to its current state of decline.
Thats a very creative rewrite of history. I'll give you credit for that. The only thing that lead to fiscal issues in California was a political system that allowed spending the issuance of debt to go unchecked. Blaming it on prop 13 because our poor, thrifty politicians couldn't jack up property taxes to finance their hopes and dreams is foolish to say the least.

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Old 10-13-2010, 02:36 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I have to agree with nmgolfer on Prop 13. When it passed, it rolled back house values to 1975 levels and taxed them at 1%, and allowed assessed values to increase no more than 2% per year. That means that a house in, say, Manteca, which was sold in 1976 for $13,000 is now assessed at no more than $25,000, even though the market value is over $200,000 (and was over $450,000 at the peak of the bubble.) Meanwhile, my modest $113,000 house is assessed at full value because I bought in 2003. I pay $1,130 in taxes on a house that is worth less than half of a house that pays less than $250 in taxes because it's grandfathered in. Had Prop 13 not passed, California would be in much better fiscal shape.

Corporations have it even better. If a corporation is sold and the new owner retains the same "shell corporation" to hold the real estate, they keep their taxes at Prop 13 levels, something private citizens don't get to do.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:54 PM   #33 (permalink)
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This has what to do with high speed rail?

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Old 10-13-2010, 10:57 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
This has what to do with high speed rail?

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In a one-word answer: politics. This is an election year in America with three weeks to go. People are getting edgy and contentious.

To SVOBoy, who proposed the topic of discussion: Your bias is showing in the way the proposition is phrased, and it is a loaded question. "We" in the U.S. are not "bad" at this. And just because we don't have it here, that does not make us "bad" as a people or a nation. We (the majority of taxpayers who ultimately would foot the bill for it) simply don't WANT it. If we had wanted it, we would have built it!

This is a cultural and economic issue, as well as a political one. Assuming that a select few countries wanted a high speed rail system, they built it in that which is their relatively small country; may they enjoy it and their way of life there.

For you socialists out there who think America should be forced to emulate France or other similar countries in imposing a national rail system of mass transit, I suggest that you go live in France for a while, or better yet, permanently. If you think that any European society is Utopian or ideologically superior to America please stay and enjoy living there (including the high rate of taxation and relatively more limited freedom) without trying to impose what might be appropriate for one culture on another.

BTW, when the SNCF (French National Railroad) goes on strike, virtually the whole nation grinds to a halt, as they are highly dependent upon that one mode of transportation. France has a long history and tradition of strikes and social protests. I'm sure the socialists and unionists in France don't mind wielding the power implicit in that situation, but the cultural heritage of America is not one of socialism. (Perhaps our Belgian participant won't mind my pointing out that Belgium might hope to avoid the social and political policies and problems of neighboring France, as well.) France might be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:13 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Wrong.

You might read the E3T link.

Transportation without fuel carrying vehicles, without any aero drag, that no present method of transportation can compete with.

Simple, effective, cost effective.

Want to make it political?

Make it profitable and let those who are smothered with their political agendas move to France.

Giffard proposed vacuum tube transportation before the US Civil War, so we use it to shoot our deposits to the bank teller, or a lizard in a TV ad.

The Chinese have no problems with long term thinking and no political quagmire to destroy innovation. They will hand us our collective arses in the next century, while we endless debate our political rubbish.

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Old 10-13-2010, 11:48 PM   #36 (permalink)
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The Chinese have no problems with long term thinking and no political quagmire to destroy innovation. They will hand us our collective arses in the next century, while we endless debate our political rubbish.

regards
Mech
And the Chinese will be buying gasoline and enjoy driving cars while we in the Western world will be cajoled to ride bicycles or walk - all in the name of 'global equality', 'sharing resources', or some such other saccharin phrase to entice support from guilt ridden do-gooders and useful idiots.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:51 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Thymeclock View Post
BTW, when the SNCF (French National Railroad) goes on strike, virtually the whole nation grinds to a halt, as they are highly dependent upon that one mode of transportation. France has a long history and tradition of strikes and social protests.
But this is because of unions, not because of the fact that France has a high-speed train network. But yes, you are right about the French being addicted to high speed trains, mostly because they are the best choice for distances of a few thousand kilometers. Same for the Swiss and Germans. But are Americans not addicted to flying? Wouldn't a sudden halt in air traffic partially paralize America? Having both high speed rail and air transport would always leave an alternative in case one of them should suddenly stop operating.

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And the Chinese will be buying gasoline and enjoy driving cars while we in the Western world will be cajoled to ride bicycles or walk - all in the name of 'global equality', 'sharing resources', or some such other saccharin phrase to entice support from guilt ridden do-gooders and useful idiots.
The way things are going, the Chinese will be buying gasoline because they will be able to afford it.
Yes, China has the funds to build a super fast railroad. But whose money are they spending on it? Which country has the largest debt to China? Who is paying China 40 bucks for a pair of pants that cost $3 to make and $1 to ship?
The answer is: we are. Mainly the North America and Europe, but other countries are following. Democratic, socialist, capitalist, whatever. We are all in the same boat. China could make us all go bankrupt just by sneezing. The reason they haven't done so already is because they want us to keep paying.
We gave China its money, now all we can do watch how it gets invested. And it gets invested by buying up the economy of the countries that sponsored it.

BTW: The evacuated tube idea reminds me of a mid-20th century plan the Soviet Union had to connect Moscow with each larger city by underground tubes. They wound not curve just under the surface of the Earth, but instead would go straight as an arrow deep through the crust, like the chord of a circle. This would (other than shortening the distance to the minimum) allow the use of gravity to accerate, then decelerate, between both ends. Of course, even today this would be technologically almost impossible.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:10 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Thymeclock View Post
BTW, when the SNCF (French National Railroad) goes on strike, virtually the whole nation grinds to a halt, as they are highly dependent upon that one mode of transportation.
If only public transport services are going on strike, it causes serious inconvenience and more traffic jams, but France or Belgium are not really grinding to a halt.

Personally I avoid public transport like the plague as it's utterly unreliable.
At work we change over to road transport when the railroad unions go on strike again. Trouble is, 2 railroad cars are replaced by 5 trucks.


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(Perhaps our Belgian participant won't mind my pointing out that Belgium might hope to avoid the social and political policies and problems of neighboring France, as well.)
Oh, it's almost as bad here as it is in France.
We have very similar social and political issues.
Some 40% of the Belgian population actually speak French.
Much of our legislation is still based on Napoleonic origins.
Our railroad company is called SNCB (in French) - not a lot of difference there


Before anyone on your side of the Atlantic thinks Europe is Utopia, 15% of the Belgian population lives in poverty.
Well, at least officially.
There's also a lot of social profiteering going on.
The national debt is 28000 EUR (39400 USD) per capita.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:46 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Has anyone else noticed that discussions about rail transport almost always raise a surprising amount of passion? What is with this phenomenon?

Imagine trying to build hundreds of miles of near air-tight chamber. Imagine maintaining vacuum over that distance. Yikes.

I think it is more likely that humanity will migrate to immersive reality than that we will build very many evacuated-chamber-mag-lev-train class super structures.

That said, I would feel substantially more pride in an American firm or government action that produced an effective, sustainable, profitable, pleasant form of mass transit than I would feel if we won the race to mars.
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:43 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Has anyone else noticed that discussions about rail transport almost always raise a surprising amount of passion? What is with this phenomenon?
Surprising?? If a new airport or highway was being built in your town there would be passion.

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