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HSR in America: Hope We Can Believe In

MSNBC 'Hard Ball' host Chris Matthews' oped on high-speed rail in America.

Published: 20-Jul-2010

By Chris Matthews

Today we learned the consumer confidence number fell nearly ten points since last month.

It's not hard to figure why. The unemployment number for May showed a dismal growth of just 41,000 in American civilian jobs. And people got the word.

All this -- the bad June unemployment number expected Friday, the bad consumer confidence number, the drop in the Dow -- working together, and we're looking at the plausibility of that "second dip" we've been warned about.

I hear this all has the folks in the White House looking past a big defeat in November to what they can do going into 2012.

It's a brutal conundrum. Countries in Europe just made clear at the G-20 that they're in no mood to boost spending to create markets for American goods. They're tightening their belts, trying their best not be accused of doing what Greece did (living beyond their means). So we've got everybody in the world cutting back -- and what's that do to the prospect of an economic expansion? It kills it!

If you're looking for good news, I have one suggestion. Stop listening to Europe, stop listening to the conservatives, do what has worked in the past.

What got us out of the Great Depression was production: massive industrial production to support the allies in World War Two.

We need production for this country now. We need to build rapid rail to catch up to those allies from World War Two. France has the TGV. China is building its rapid rail system. It's time we joined the movement. We need to go back to the future and become a country that builds things. It'll create jobs. It'll catch us up to the rest of the world. It'll cut our reliance on oil. It'll give us hope you can believe in.

Look, Lincoln built the continental railroads even in the midst of the Civil War. Ike built the inter-state highway system in the supposedly do-nothing Fifties.

President Obama... Just do it!

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