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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Serendipitous Flaw: Could Bad Brakes Lead to Fundamental Reform of Amtrak?

From the Heritage Foundation:

When President Bush proposed to end Amtrak's billion dollar annual subsidies and force it to reorganize in bankruptcy, critics charged his plan would derail most passenger service for good.

Nobody guessed that Amtrak's own ineptitude, along with an unexpected equipment failure, would cause the plan to gather steam. Since the railroad stopped its Acela service due to faulty brakes, its losses have mounted. Amtrak could be insolvent as soon as mid-August.

This an unprecendented opportunity to improve rail in America, writes Ronald Utt. But there is still "the risk that Congress will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and attempt a bailout before the end of the fiscal year."

As things now stand, Amtrak loses $80 million per year selling food and drinks--more than its revenues on those sales. With this sort of chronic mismanagement, concludes Utt, giving Amtrak more money is a mistake.


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