Monday, October 22, 2012

I wish you could hear what I heard on the train.

I heard happy talk. People connecting, anticipating their arrival at the station. There were folks waving good bye and not wanting to leave. There was talk about baby showers and getting home. There was talk about their job schedules. 

Lower income Americans having quality of life and making stronger bonds to strength their families. I heard good news. These folks are paying passengers and they have a lifestyle that works for them now. 

It was all good, from start to finish. Not one tear. Smiles were everywhere and they were moving on. They had esteem and status. It was an amazing ride.

I liked Paul Krugman's Op-Ed today.

...Why is recovery from a financial crisis slow? (click here) Financial crises are preceded by credit bubbles; when those bubbles burst, many families and/or companies are left with high levels of debt, which force them to slash their spending. This slashed spending, in turn, depresses the economy as a whole....

Personally, I do not believe the economic recovery has been slow. When one sincerely looks at where the global economy was in 2008 and where the USA is today, it has chugged right along. And it is no surprise it was a V - shaped depression and not an L-Shaped or W-shaped, but as soon as President Obama and the Democratic majority of the House and Senate took office in January 2009 the USA economy IMMEDIATELY started a turn around.

That was no accident and would not have happened at all if they hadn't taken such bold steps. I am proud of them.

It was unfortunate the Republicans were so successful in scaring the country to death in 2010. President Obama's programs work. It doesn't matter the program, they work and they work well. The country should have showed more confidence in him and the Democrats. The depression could have been far worse and unrestrained if it were for them.

...Over the past few months advisers to the Romney campaign have mounted a furious assault on the notion that financial-crisis recessions are different. For example, in July former Senator Phil Gramm and Columbia’s R. Glenn Hubbard published an op-ed article claiming that we should be having a recovery comparable to the bounce back from the 1981-2 recession, while a white paper from Romney advisers argues that the only thing preventing a rip-roaring boom is the uncertainty created by President Obama.
Obviously, Republicans like claiming that it’s all Mr. Obama’s fault, and that electing Mr. Romney would magically make everything better. But nobody should believe them.
For one thing, these people have a track record: back in 2008, when serious students of history were already predicting a prolonged slump, Mr. Gramm was dismissing America as a “nation of whiners” experiencing a mere “mental recession.” For another, if Mr. Obama is the problem, why is the United States actually doing better than most other advanced countries?...
The facts are obvious. The Great Recession of 2008 was actually headed into a far deeper depression than anyone had measured at the time. The action President Obama and the Democrats took stopped the decline and the turn around was remarkable.

President Obama has put the USA on a sustainable path of economic recovery with manufacturing returning and consumer confidence increasing with the holidays approaching. Most Americans will have a far better holiday this year than they did in 2008.

President Obama has kept his promises to us. He has saved this country from economic devastation and in doing so supported the global recovery, because when the USA does well the rest of the world does, too.

I road the Amtrak Carolina today. I was impressed.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin are joined by state and local officials as they announce the next phase of high-speed rail construction during a news conference at an Amtrak maintenance building in Chicago.  / AP photo

Posted: 10.19.2012 at 9:00 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — In a modest milestone for President Barack Obama's high-speed rail vision, test runs will start zooming along a small section of the Amtrak line between Chicago and St. Louis at 110 mph on Friday.
The 30-mph increase from the route's current top speed is a morale booster for advocates of high-speed rail in America who have watched conservatives in Congress put the brakes on spending for fast train projects they view as expensive boondoggles. But some rail experts question whether the route will become profitable, pose serious competition to air and automobile travel, or ever reach speeds comparable to the bullet trains blasting across Europe and Asia at 150 mph and faster.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are scheduled to be on board when an Amtrak train hits 110 mph for the first time in Illinois. But it will only maintain that speed for a short time, somewhere along the 15 miles between Dwight and Pontiac, before braking back to more normal speeds...

The Carolina was clean, comfortable with plenty of passengers. It was safe, too. I was greeted by a cheerful station master. She checked our ID and our ticket. Most everyone, without exception, had reservations for their seat. The fact of the matter is, if a person doesn't have a ticket the likelihood of getting a seat is very slim. I only saw one passenger in the entire care purchase their ticket on board.

There were electric outlets for laptops and WiFi that worked. Not once was my computer interrupted during the trip. It was nice.

The other passengers were nice. The passenger conductor was precise in checking every passenger's identity, their ticketing and their destination. There was a lot of diversity on the train, but, no wealthy people and that was unfortunate because it was a scenic ride. Enjoyable. There were staff that recognized regular riders and conversed with them. It was the most interesting experience I have ever had on Amtrak. I was really impressed. 

The stations are in good to excellent condition, some are newly rebuilt through the Recovery dollars. The facilities were secure, well lit. I felt very safe through the entire trip.

The Carolina did not hit 110 mph because there were stops in cities along the way, but, when there was country miles to cover the train moved along nicely. We arrived exactly on time to every stop along the way. 

Oh, and there is a Cafe Car. People like that. There was a lot of movement between the Cafe Car and the rest of the train. There was a brief stop for smokers to step outside before completely their journey.

I will do this again and again. Amtrak has improved 1000 percent under President Obama. A nice ride for a reasonable price. Thank you. Thank you for all those on board today.