City Journal Winter 2016

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Victor Davis Hanson
California’s Promethean Past « Back to Story

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Kevin...I once proposed using prison workers to do the high speed rail track and pay them in enhanced foods...

VDH...attracting everyone to an oasis in the desert by providing significant infrastructure is now going to be an interesting social experiment regarding needs and wants. That said you imply that getting rid of regulatory processes will recreate the conditions of early on growth in the USA. Supposedly we don't do that anymore because we all know that John Galt is a fictional character and without the gov stepping in for the railroads back in the day, Huntington would have been at a loss of money to play the game he did.
One dollar invested in dams typically returns five or six dollars in net economic benefit. Benefits include: irrigation, flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, water navigation, lake fisheries, recreation, water and energy storage, etc.

By contrast, a dollar spent in high-speed-rail only returns about ten cents in net economic benefit.
Marie Ann Thaler May 02, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Bravo--once again, an excellent article!
Interesting to read VDH extolling of the development of the hydro-electric infrastructure in City Journal and lamenting why we couldn't do it today. I literally just finished reading Claire Berlinski in the same publication lamenting that Turkey is trying to build a hydroelectric damn and condomning them for doing it...or at least how, and where they're doing it.

But they're doing it.

I would love to read VDH's commentary on Claire's article, and Claire's commentary on VDH's. I'm sure they could gloss over how Huntington did it 'right' and Turkey is not. CB even highlighted a series of small hydroelectric facilities similar to this complex would be better than the one 'big one' Turkey is building. But it interesting to see the juxtaposition in the same publication.
Love the gloss over of this VDH statement, "We overlook the intelligence and good sense of Big Creek’s engineers and workers, who struck reasonable compromises between progress and conservation."

60 miles of dry river, the San Joaquin River re-wetting is causing the Ag boys to cry 'Wolf' over allowing 15% of its water to flow again.

Droughts never made the Salmon extinct, but the loss of spawning habitat behind the on-river habitat destruction VDH extols in the above cherry picked blather has done the trick.

National Marine Fisheries Service says 70% to 90% of all original Salmon habitat is gone in California, behind the concrete idiocy VDH praises.

Get real Vic, propose that the next hundred years creates water projects off-river & return the wild rivers to our other, original occupiers of our environment.

How much did the Stuie Resicknics that Di-Fi parties with pay you for this slanted verbiage, eh VDH?
Vic, you missed the point of the article.
Absolutely true about the plan of California High-Speed Rail to employ homeless, high school dropouts, and convicted felons. And single parents too.

See Section 1.8 of the union Project Labor Agreement for the first 29-mile initial construction segment of the high-speed passenger train, from Madera to Fresno:
Mr. Hanson, you don't have to go back to the 19th Century to find public works projects that helped California growth. During the 1950's and 1960's the partnership between the public sector and the private sector worked pretty well to develop California.