Thursday, June 14, 2012

Atrios is wrong about California's HSR and liberal spending priorities

I think Atrios is right to keep pounding away at the idea that our elites love to bail out banks and leave austerity to the poor masses. But I think he's wrong that liberals should love California's High-Speed Rail project, even though there are massive cost overruns and questions about its utility: "My point is, on the rare occasion that the government is considering giving us some nice things, we should probably just stand up and applaud, even if we can imagine even nicer things that the government should give us but won't. The choice isn't between HSR in California and What Atrios Wants To Spend Money On, the choice is between HSR and, you know, more high tech killing machines, money for war contractors, and tax cuts for rich people."

Not really. There will always be money for high-tech killing machines, war contractors, and tax cuts for the rich. So liberals really need to prioritize what they want to do with a not-limitless pot of resources—particularly if we want to have credibility with that taxpayers providing those resources. "Spending lots of money is awesome!" isn't going to win many political campaigns. Unfair? Maybe, but also reality.

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