Pontificating on Rail

Joe Gregorio

Edward L. Glaeser, an economics professor at Harvard, has a blog at the NYTimes and has published one blog post in a series that looks at President Obama's high-speed rail plan. The article in question, "Running the Numbers on High-Speed Trains" in theory does a simple analysis on the President's high-speed rail plan, because, you know, numbers don't lie. As you could expect from a fresh-water economist the entire analysis is load of bunk, staring with the premise of using an imaginary 240 mile link between Dallas and Houston, which avoids using any of the proposed routes which have been studied and approved for high-speed rail, but instead connecting two cities with some of the worst suburban sprawl in the United States. It only gets worse as it only looks at the upfront capital costs and fails to do a comparitive run of the numbers for road and air travel. There are many more flaws and they're all pointed out in the comments, plainly obvious to many readers, all of whom we suppose are not economics professors at Harvard, to which Professor Glaeser never responds, neither in the comments nor in later blog posts in the series.

Professor Glaeser, I presume, being an economist with a degree from the University of Chicago, is not accustomed to letting reality interfere with a perfectly good analysis, which is his right, but let's drop the facade and take this kind of writing over to the editorial page or maybe print it in a column, because placing it on a blog sets the expectation of interaction, a conversation, something the Professor seems uninterested in.

comments powered by Disqus