Minnesota High-Speed Rail Is Welfare Handout to Crony “Capitalists”

The proposed Minnesota high-speed rail system is supposed to connect Rochester and the Twin Cities.

If people really need a fast connection between Rochester and the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, then someone would invest in the land purchases or easement rights, build the rail, and profit from the sale of tickets. If there isn’t enough money to be made to support such a venture, then there is not enough demand for the high-speed rail to justify its construction. More importantly, a rail system done on the profit motive doesn’t force innocent third parties to be plundered in order to pay for other people’s transportation. If you don’t live between Rochester and the Twin Cities, why should you be shaken down to improve their lives.

And before you respond that I am being selfish, think about the economic disparities here. Many rural residents will be poorer, as measured by several metrics, than the people who would profit from the new rail system (assuming it really gets built). So you have here an elite demanding that the peasants subsidize their desires and ambitions.

Crony Capitalism is medieval when you think about it.

Besides, why is it selfish to want to keep your money to use for yourself, but not selfish to want to take other people’s money to use for yourself?

Remember, crony capitalism is actually anti-capitalism. In real capitalism, people work to produce goods and services in order to trade with others in order to procure their needs and wants. Crony capitalism induces politicians to give the cronies their needs and wants by deciding in the name of the populace what goods and services the people should have. The politicians then tax the populace to provide them what they have decided the populace needs.

The Minnesota Bureau of Watchdog.org provides us with a story of one instance of such cronyism: “Too big to derail? Opponents fear high-speed rail a done deal.”

Actually, the story mentions several instances:

Dueling multi-billion-dollar proposals for a high-speed passenger rail line between Rochester and the Twin Cities generated a standing-room-only crowd, but an equally galvanizing force was at play among many a recent meeting of the Citizens Concerned About Rail Line.

“We’ve lost control of government,” John Donovan, a rural Rochester auto body shop owner seated in the front row, said during Thursday’s meeting. “They no longer seem to work for us. They don’t represent the people or they don’t have the power to make it change. It just goes through like a big train. This thing sounds absurd.”

Opponents tick off several recently subsidized government projects that could pave the way for the proposed Zip Rail line or the North American High Speed Rail group’s private venture.

Tops on the list of politically connected projects too big to derail: A new Minnesota Vikings stadium under way with $500 million in taxpayer funding, the Destination Medical Center plan to redesign Rochester with $585 million in subsidies and a $34 million interchange for the stalled Elk Run bio-business center, derided locally as Pine Island’s “bridge to nowhere.”

The group met in response to a report that the Minnesota Department of Transportation is secretly negotiating with the privately-owned developer, North American High Speed Rail. Naturally, the company sent a PR expert to this meeting:

“Rail’s never going to be built in Minnesota without the citizens weighing in. It’s not,” said Wendy Meadley, a public relations consultant for NAHSR. “I know you’re laughing, but (there) isn’t any infrastructure project without people being for or against it. It will never by 100 percent. So people will be able to weigh in, but when you go to a privately funded model, this is new in America.”

But being permitted to “weigh in” on plans that have already been secretly negotiated doesn’t mean the people have any say over their lives. It just means the powers that be will let the people express their anger and then do what they want for their own reasons to serve their own interests. I’ve seen my own local utility raise rates a number of times. They always invited “the public” to attend “a hearing” about how they’ve decided to shake us down more this year.

I don’t bother to go. I’m not going to pretend that anything is decided in such meetings. The decisions have already been made by those with the power and influence. They have the meeting and then they twist the screws in further. Nothing changes.