latest posts

Optimism About the Future

There is a lot of pessimism in the air.  As we come to the end of the first month of 2008 it seems that many are in a negative, hunker down state of mind.  The stock markets are being fueled by fear.  The commentators are speaking as though a major recession has begun. Casualties continue at too high a level in foreign combat, and of course it is cold and dark outside for much of the country.  All this in a country that seems to have optimism in its national fiber. 

Debt, Debt, Debt, Debt

Debt is one of the primary underpinnings of the economic turbulence we are now experiencing.  In the last 50 years debt has gone from something occasional to something universal, embraced and now endemic. Borrow against the future to pay for today.  Debt, debt, debt, debt is like the drip, drip, drip, drip of a faucet that slowing fills up a sink and overflows.  The four debts referred to here are personal, corporate, city and state and federal.  All of them feel as though they are beginning to come home to roost and the outlook, if not faced and dealt with, …

In the last post I suggested that the U.S. learn from Europe in the use of high speed trains as a core component of a national transportation system.  Trains are more energy efficient than cars, give off far less greenhouse emissions than airplanes, rarely get cancelled or delayed due to ‘weather’ or ‘flow control’ and depart and arrive near the central city.  Given that America is much larger than any country currently utilizing high speed trains, it can only be a part of the transportation mix.  What might the composite national transportation profile look like in 2015?

High speed trains …

High Speed Trains

High speed trains must, and will become an essential component of the U.S. transportation system during the next 20 years. This seems to be obvious, but is something that the (lack of) leadership in Washington D.C. has yet to seriously consider. A combination of lack of vision, deeply entrenched vested interests, a troubled Amtrak system and a ‘not invented here’ mindset has combined to allow the U.S. to be woefully behind the curve when it comes to both rail transport and an intelligent, integrated national transportation system.

Flying has become an extremely unpleasant and unreliable travel experience. In addition …