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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail

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Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Alternatives to the HSR

High-speed rail was well-intentioned but the reality is, that HSR is extremely expensive and it is obsolete technology. We must look at new innovative ways and look to future technologies of the 21st century not technology from the 1970s.

If we want an alternative to the HSR, there are two promising technologies that might be the future of transportation in California. The first is HyperLoop. Speeds-up to 700 mph, more affordable to build and operate, and could be used to transport cargo cutting down traffic congestion on the roads. This could be ideal for long distances.

 

 

The second alternative that is ideal for larger metropolitan areas and fast enough at 200 mph for longer work commuting trips is the skyTran. This is also much cheaper and better than the HSR.

 

 

Regardless, of what we do and decide, we must look beyond the current paradigm and have a vision that looks to solve the problems we have now and will face in the future. It’s time we dump the HSR and look to the future, not the past.

 


Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at cacontroller.com, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Culture and Religion

Liz Wheeler on Ilhan Omar: Chant ‘vote her out’ and then do it

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Liz Wheeler on Ilhan Omar Chant vote her out and then do it

One America News host Liz Wheeler was in rare form yesterday as she hammered Representative Ilhan Omar over a plethora of bigoted statements, horrible policy proposals, and anti-American perspectives. Her worldview is not one that should be in Congress, but Wheeler also made an important point about how that worldview needs to be removed. Instead of calling to “send her back,” Americans should be chanting, “vote her out.”

This is America. As ridiculous as it is that someone with the radically unpatriotic ideology that Omar demonstrates is sitting in a chair on Capitol Hill, we must respect that she’s an American citizen and a duly elected representative of her Congressional district. It makes no sense, but that’s the way things are for now. As much as we would love to see her replaced, we must do it the way that makes the most sense – at the ballot box.

If it’s proven that she broke immigration laws or committed fraud of other kinds, then we can talk about other measures. But until then, she is innocent until proven guilty. At this point, there isn’t even an investigation into her past actions, let alone charges filed. We must respect due process rights from start to finish, even if we disagree with someone. We expect people on the left to disregard the Constitution. As conservatives, we must not go to that low level with them.

Here’s the transcript from the video of Wheeler’s final point on her show, Tipping Point:

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is a bigot.

She supports the anti-semitic BDS movement that does not think Israel has a right to exist.

Ilhan Omar compared Israel to Nazi Germany just yesterday she spoke at a conference this year sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic relations who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror financing prosecution in US history.

Ilhan Omar once tweeted that Jews and Israel have hypnotized the world.

Omar claimed that any U.S. politician who supports Israel was bought off by the Jews. She says their support for Israel is “All about the Benjamins.”

Ilhan Omar laughed about al-Qaeda during an interview and asked why we don’t talk about the U.S. the same way we talked about al-Qaeda. You know, the terror organization that waged the 9/11 terror attacks against us and killed 3,000 people.

Ilhan Omar then dismissed 9/11 as “some people did something.”

She supports Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro. In fact, Ilhan omar blames the U.S. for Maduro’s tyranny and oppression as the Maduro regime murders dissidents in the street if they dare to protest or criticize him.

Ilhan Omar is also pushing the Green New Deal in Congress which would transform the United States into a socialist state and force you to pay for other people’s universal basic income if they don’t want to work. It would also ban fossil fuels and force you to retrofit your house to be green and prohibit or penalize air travel.

Ilhan Omar supports Medicare-For-All which would force 150 million people off their current health care plans, cost 1 million Americans their jobs, and forced tax hikes on the middle class. In fact, Omar wants to force you to be a part of Medicare-for-All because she thinks she knows what’s best for you.

At the same time she’s introducing a bill in Congress pushing the BDS movement that literally says what’s best for Israel is for Israel not to have the right to exist. Imagine this woman having power over your health care.

And speaking of the right to exist., Ilhan Omar glorifies abortion without restriction up until the moment of birth and after all this, when Omar was asked if she regrets her vile anti-Semitic comments that even drew condemnation from Nancy Pelosi, Omar says “nope.”

This is why Ilhan Omar only has nine percent approval rating among swing voters in our country, because Omar’s views are bigoted and racist and socialist and radical and utterly antithetical to the values on which this nation was built – freedom and liberty and justice for all. So chant, “vote her out.” Do not chants “send her back.” She’s a citizen of the United States. This is her home. Do not distract from her bigotry. Chant “vote her out” and then do it. Vote her out of office before she imposes her disgusting bigotry on our nation.

And that’s is my final point.

Wheeler is absolutely correct. The time to vote Ilhan Omar out of office is coming next year. In the meantime, let’s keep the focus on her bigotry and failed socialist ideology. The left has no defense against the truth.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

The real reason Kamala Harris and others keep dodging on Medicare-for-All funding

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The real reason Kamala Harris and others keep dodging on Medicare-for-All funding

Arguably the first major “dumb” moment for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was when she replied to a question about paying the $32 trillion price tag associated with Medicare-for-All. She said, “You just pay for it.”

Conservatives were laughing at the response while many Independents and even some Democrats were scratching their collective heads. But she meant exactly what we said. Let’s put a pin in that for a moment and move on to an interview Kamala Harris did with CNN.

Even the Democrat-friendly CNN reporter couldn’t help but press Harris about how she plans to pay for Medicare-for-All without raising taxes on the middle class. Bernie Sanders has acknowledged he’d have to raise taxes to pay for Medicare-for-All. What strange math does Harris know that Sanders does not? Is it simply artful dodging of the question over and over again as the Senator kept calling it an “investment”? Is she just pandering, knowing darn well she’ll have to raise taxes on everyone in order to fund socialized medicine but pretending like she won’t? Or is she being absolutely serious?

I’m going with that. She’s saying what she means. In essence, she’s saying what AOC said. Harris is just going to have the U.S. government pay for it even if tax dollars won’t cover it.

At this point one might be thinking that both Harris and Ocasio-Cortez are delusional. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be too worried. But they’re not delusional, at least not to the point that they don’t really know what they’re insinuating by saying the government is going to “invest” in Medicare-for-All and we’re just going to pay for it. There’s only one way to do this without drastic tax increases. It’s called Modern Monetary Theory and AOC has been on board with the disastrous concept since before she was elected. Now, it seems Harris is going to invoke the same methodology to pay for her version of Medicare-for-All and whatever else she has up her sleeve.

In essence, Modern Monetary Theory erases the fear of budget deficits and skyrocketing national debt by printing money. And more money. And again. Rinse. Repeat.

It’s the precursor for hyperinflation, though its proponents claim otherwise. They’ll tell you we’re already running trillion dollar deficits and nothing bad is happening, so why not keep going? Why not run five trillion dollar deficits? Or more? The government and the Fed have the power to keep printing as much money as they want, and as long as the U.S. Dollar is the world reserve currency, there’s really no way for hyperinflation to set in.

But it will. There’s no possible way to avoid it once the world takes note because they’ll instantly seek other avenues to replace the Dollar. That includes OPEC and the designation of the petrodollar being shifted. Nobody wants to rely on a currency that is being devalued by its own government. They’ll bail. And when they do, hyperinflation will set in.

When radical progressive politicians give strange responses about how they’re going to pay for their huge projects, take them at their word when they say they’ll just pay for it. They have a plan in mind that’s more dangerous than anything our economy has faced.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Socialist revolt: Sanders campaign staff union ‘fighting for $15’… for themselves

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Sanders campaign staff union fighting for 15 for themselves

Senator Bernie Sanders has marched with McDonald’s employees. He’s called on Walmart and other large corporations to pay their employees a “living wage.” He’s pushed legislation to make the national minimum wage $15 per hour. But as it turns out, he’s not only underpaying his own staff, but his leadership team is using the same arguments against the union that businesses have used against Sanders’s own rhetoric.

The Sanders campaign issued a statement Thursday from campaign manager Faiz Shakir. [Emphasis added]: “We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, as is shown by the latest fundraising reports. Every member of the campaign, from the candidate on down, joined this movement in order to defeat Donald Trump and transform America. Bernie Sanders is the most pro-worker and pro-labor candidate running for president. We have tremendous staff who are working hard. Bernie and I both strongly believe in the sanctity of the collective bargaining process and we will not deviate from our commitment to it.”

According to union members, many on the staff are working as much as 60 hours per week, which brings their hourly compensation well below $15 per hour. Yet the work they do out in weather conditions, talking to people about policies, and memorizing said policies is arguably more skill-intensive than the entry level jobs the campaign says deserves to be paid higher.

The real minimum wage should be zero

In a free market economy, businesses negotiate deals in order to acquire the resources they need, including human resources. This is why setting an arbitrary minimum wage is philosophically ludicrous, especially at the national level. Businesses and employees should be allowed free and open negotiations. If a job is worth $5 per hour and there are people willing to do the work for that wage, so be it.

Then, there’s the real-world challenges with a national minimum wage that Sanders and other Democrats never tackle. For a small-town store in West Virginia, $15 per hour may be enough to force it to shut down. Meanwhile, it’s hard to get anyone in a city like San Francisco to do any challenging work for $15 per hour. When the national government sets mandates for states based on a universal criteria, it’s bound to fail. The United States is too economically diverse when it comes to labor for Washington DC to get involved.

Then, of course, there’s the non-partisan CBO’s report that raising the minimum wage would kill 1.3 million jobs.

Socialist politicians rarely have the stomach to turn their policy proposals towards themselves. But they’re not interested in equality for all. They want to be part of the ruling elite while the rest of us are equally miserable.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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