The AMTRAK-ing of CitiGroup

After the first $45B epic-failed to help CitiGroup, the Treasury Department, under the direction of incompetent tax-dodger Tim Geithner, is poised to take over 36% of CitiGroup. The Government will accomplish this by converting its common shares of stock in CitiGroup to Preferred Shares, and appoint its own representative’s to Citi’s Board of Directors.

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1971, the year the Federal Government took over Amtrak. As with CitiGroup, this was accomplished by purchasing preferred shares of stock. All of Amtrak’s preferred stock is owned by the U.S. federal government. The members of its board of directors are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

How well has this worked out for Amtrak. Amtrak’s first year subsidy in 1971 was $40 Million. Under the latest “Rail Safety Improvement Act” signed into law in 2008, Amtrak will be subsidized at the rate of $2.6 Billion per year through 2013.

The taxpayer benefit? I checked on this. A roundtrip airfare from Washington DC to Providence Rhode Island can be had for $98 and four hours of travel time. The same roundtrip fare on Amtrak? $139 for a seven hour ride. A mid-week flight from Washington DC to Denver? $180 for a six-hour, one-stop flight. On Amtrak, $310 for a 35 hour flight.

The politicians wrap their continued subsidization of Amtrak with language about the romance of railroads, and the supposed environmental benefits, but the truth is, they are bailing out cushy union jobs and pensions. The same is true of CitiGroup. The politicians are bailing out the bankers, as they always do. The government thinks it has a bottomless pit of money and it can just keep throwing money at every problem, with no consequences, forever!

How long can we afford this crap. Jonah Goldberg says…

I Don’t Want To Pay For It [Jonah Goldberg]

That is, by far, my driving attitude in all of this. I just don’t want to pay for it. It’s not that I don’t want government to do nice things for deserving people in certain circumstances. It’s not necessarily that I’m hostile to this group of beneficiaries or that (though I am in fact hostile to some). It’s that I think most of Obama’s ideas will not work, will be a waste of money and will hurt the economy. And, flatly, I don’t want to pay for it. I don’t want to break the law. I don’t want pull a Geithner or a Daschle or anything like that. But I don’t want to pay for it. I will look for every means within the boundaries of the law to minimize what I pay in taxes and I make no apologies for that whatsoever.

Exactly. The hard-working taxpayers should not be stuck with the bill for the failures of Congress and the banking industry.

Congress prepares to waft some hope and change on the taxpayers again.

Congress prepares to waft some hope and change on the taxpayers again.



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2 responses to “The AMTRAK-ing of CitiGroup

  1. Amtrak provides a useful public service. Its’ officers make well under $200k and there are no golden parachutes. Congress nit-picks every route and every dime spent – right down to dining cars.

    Amtrak makes plenty of mistakes. How well would any company operate under such constant political pressure?

    Ease up on Amtrak.

    Check out Trains for America.

  2. OK, tell you what. Privatize AMTRAK, end the $2 Billion annual taxpayer subsidy, end congressional “nit-picking” and I’ll lay off. Fair enough?

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