Diary

Time for Joe Biden to put a little 'skin in the game'

From the diaries by Leon…

So, the great “tax cutters” and “deficit hawks” are at it again.  Obama has been telling us what a serious threat the exploding deficit is to our futures.  Interestingly enough, he continues to omit the small detail that his administration is responsible for the largest growth of the federal debt in the history of the Republic.

In the spirit of a “willing suspension of disbelief”, let’s take Obama at his word (yes, I am choking on that statement too) for a moment.  After two years, the President says he is now ready to get serious about attacking the national debt.  So, what is the target of his next ‘budget salvo’?  You guessed it: high speed rail.  For this great move, he trots out your favorite and mine, Uncle Joe Biden (a.k.a, Vice President).

VP Biden announced today that the Obama Administration is proposing spending an additional $53 billion to “help promote the construction of a national high-speed, intercity passenger rail network.”  Yes, I am still trying to figure out how spending “more” money actually reduces the deficit, but I am sure this will be part of that “fundamental transformation” of basic economic principles they keep telling us about.  Or this just the “new normal”?  I keep getting those mixed up.

I would like to commend President Obama on selecting a real expert to announce this momentous project.  VP Biden has often bragged about his dedication to the Amtrak system and his 7000+ round trip rides during his long and illustrious (okay, just long) Senate career.

As I continued to wrestle with the budgetary slight-of-hand required to sell the spending of $53 billion more of China’s the US taxpayer’s money, it hit me like a bullet train (pardon the pun).  I inadvertently stumbled upon my own deficit reduction idea.  I remembered the fact that the every time a passenger rides Amtrak, the railroad loses $32 on average, say researchers at Pew’s Subsidyscope project. Taxpayers cover that $32 per rider loss through federal government subsidies.

Without getting too deep in Timothy Geithner level IRS mathematics, if Joe Biden rode the Amtrak 7000 times (round trips remember), that means he rode approximately 14,000 times.  At $32 a ride, I believe Joe owes the American taxpayer approximately $448,000.  While some of you may shrug this off being insignificant in the scheme of the $14 trillion national debt, please remember that every little bit helps (just as the House Republicans reminded us this week with their extreme budgetary sacrifice of $32 billion in cuts out of a projected $1.5 trillion annual deficit).

It is time to get some “skin in the game” Vice Present Biden.  Please make the check out to the United States Treasury.