Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jonathan Krause thinks Trains Will Ruin us All!

Today Jonathan Krause has decided to scare his readers with -- seriously -- a real think piece he read in Parade on the national debt. Krause decided to lay the reasons for the mounting debt on three causes: heath care, high speed rail (?), and high taxes. Let's look at these straw men, shall we?

Krause wants to scare people with "the cost" of health care, especially future cost of Obamacare, which he clearly believes will pussify America until we're all limp-wristed fags like those pansies in Europe or those anime-fiends in Japan. The fact is that the countries he references spend less on health care as a percentage of GDP than the US does ... in most cases much less:
United States: 17%
France: 10.7%
Britain: 8.4%
Japan: 8.2%
Canada: 10%
Even more importantly, the current US health care system is the one that has ballooned beyond financial sustainability:
When measured against GDP, it appears that increases in the cost of healthcare are not uniquely a Canadian phenomenon, but happening in virtually all healthcare systems. Moreover, these increases are more moderate in Canada. For example, in the U.S., healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP increased from seven percent in 1975 to 15.3 percent in 2005. In Canada, the figures rose from seven percent to 9.8 percent over the same time period, remaining constant at about eight to 10 percent of the nation’s GDP for the last 20 years.
What Krause doesn't take into account is the expansive welfare states in European countries that don't exist in America, nor the lethargic economy that has stagnated Japan much of these last 20 years. Health care ain't cheap, but it's not the only meal on the bill.

Next -- and this is just demonstrates how the guy has no consideration for the facts whatsoever -- Krause wants to blame high speed rail on the national debts of Britain, France and Japan:
Another similarity: high speed trains. Japan, France and Britain all have federally-subsidized high speed rail lines. Japan's system loses 20-billion dollars a year. Britain subsidizes a now-private system with about 8-billion bucks annually--while French taxpayers pick up about 10-billion dollars worth of rail line debt every year. These numbers do not include the billions that were spent in development and construction of the original high-speed rail lines. To their credit, Canadians have not wasted money on any high speed rail systems.
I don't know where he's getting these numbers, but we're going to roll with 'em:

In early 2009, the national debt of England was estimated to be about £2,000,000,000,000 (or $3,029,660,000,000 using today's exchange rate). That means the annual $8 billion Krause claims the British government spends on high speed rails accounts for about 0.0026% of the cumulative national debt. Even if we assume that figure has remained unchanged for the last two decades and multiply it by 20, it would still only represent 0.052% of the British debt.

In France, the national debt is about $2 trillion dollars. That means annual high speed rail subsidies account for 0.005% of the total French national debt.

Japanese national debt is expected to reach ¥973 trillion (or $10.8 trillion) by the end of the year. That means the $20 billion Krause claims the Japanese are losing on account of high speed rail this year accounts for 0.00185% of national debt.

Basically, Krause is completely full of shit in this claim. He pulled high speed rail out of his ass because that's a topic of conversation in Wisconsin at the moment and he's trying push a square peg into a round hole.

What Krause also fails to mention is that the cost per gallon of petrol in these countries is exceedingly expensive:
Britain = $6.66
France = $6.89
Japan = $5.19
Those are prices that we'll see in the US sometime in the near future.

Lastly, Krause mentions taxes, but his reason for doing so is never made clear. Are we to expect high taxes like those abroad because of those countries' enormous debts or will these taxes lead to said debts? He doesn't say. That's because he doesn't really care. Krause just wants panic his readers with the impending socialist creep.

MORE: Here's Steve Prestegard lapping up this bullshit.

1 comment:

CJ said...

Parade magazine? *LOL*