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monsoon

Bush builds trains in Iraq, but not North Carolina

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US money has been thrown overseas for MANY years, not just under Bush administration. We need to keep that in mind, as well as the fact that building trains in Iraq is much cheaper than here. The US economy may also benefit from exporting materials to Iraq, so I don't really see the problem. Iraq can become an important ally to the US, much better than most countries the US has been "feeding" for over 50 years now. Sure, I prefer to keep the funding for the domestic transportation (and not only) projects, but if Americans are so attached to their cars, how do we expect to maintain such projects? It isn't just the building of infrastructure... it is also the maintenance. I can see us benefit from helping Iraq more than by funding public transportation in mid-size US cities... seriously.

As far as receiving some support from the US government, I am pleased with the outcome. Lots of people were concerned that Bush's administration may not recognize the need for good public transportation, but so far I am happy to see that the feds are willing to help. As long as local governments demonstrate that they can deliver their end of the bargain, the feds will help. That's fair enough and I hope that the Triangle and Charlotte get pro-active and deliver the goods. I am optimistic for both metros and I believe that North Carolina can become a leader, not just a follower in the area of public transportation.

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So you believe it is better for Iraq to get the trains than for Raleigh at taxpayers expense?

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Some decisions have to be made based on what's best for the US, not just for Raleigh. Yes, I like to see taxpayers' money staying INSIDE the US, but since we are in the craphole, we have to dig ourselves out of here. Whether the war in Iraq was justified, or not, we should not be discussing here, but helping the rebuilding process in Iraq is (in my opinion) necessary, just like we did with Germany in the Second World War, when taxpayers' money was used to destroy German cities and rebuild them afterwards.

(As a side note: I always drive American cars and I refuse to buy foreign ones. Not because I am fanatic, but because I want the American workers to benefit from me. Keeping our money in this country is crucial right now. Ask yourselves the same question: How much have I done for my fellow Americans? If the answer is "little", or even "nothing", then you shouldn't be bothered by the US spending money overseas. Personally, I want the money to be kept here.)

Now, keep in mind that the largest expense isn't necessarily the cost of building the rail system, as much as it is to maintain it. If TTA cannot handle the additional expenses, then it will haunt me, the taxpayer, forever. Not to mention that all major investments, as related to the regional rail, will fail, thus set the tone for future developments. Yes, I do prefer to have the train here, but only if we can manage the expenses and make it successful. My biggest concern is the complete lack of cooperation with *some* important players. To be precise:

* Developers - Sure, there is commitment by several, and every day there is more and more interest, but we still have many key developers who refuse to support the regional rail, either by bashing it, or simply by refusing to throw their support behind it.

* Morrisville - OK, this is a little town that represents one stop, but their refusal to have a station in Morrisville makes me sick. How would a station hurt? Instead, Cary offered to host a Morrisville stop, right before the borders with the latter.

* RDU Airport - They do not want a rail stop. Now, I understand why (loss of revenue from parking), but they don't seem to see the long-term implications... Many travellers WANT that stop. If not a stop, RDU should be happy to have a small rail system (like the one at Atlanta's airport, although ATL's rail is underground) to connect the airport with a rail station and make an additional 50 cents/$1 from that.

* Duke University - They don't want a stop near the Duke Hospitals. How could this possibly hurt them?

If we cannot solve these issues successfully, then how do we expect to compete with areas where the infrastructure can be built easily? Whether the rebuilding of Iraq is directly related to oil prices, it is VERY doubtful, as oil could have been obtained easier and cheaper, without a war, or additional expenses. The Europeans had more to gain from having Saddam to power, but it would be to OUR best interest to help Iraq become not only a democratic country, but a role model in terms of economic development. Helping them with their infrastructure is a big step forward. After Iraq, I expect the US to focus ENTIRELY on domestic issues and try to solve its many problems. You know... the ones we've been having for many years, long before Bush became the president.

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(As a side note: I always drive American cars and I refuse to buy foreign ones. Not because I am fanatic, but because I want the American workers to benefit from me. Keeping our money in this country is crucial right now. Ask yourselves the same question: How much have I done for my fellow Americans? If the answer is "little", or even "nothing", then you shouldn't be bothered by the US spending money overseas. Personally, I want the money to be kept here.)

Although I completely agree with you on rebuilding Iraq, and that I understand that some of my money is going to benefit other countries. I have to whole heartly disagree with you on this one.

Cars are one of the worst ways to "try to save American jobs" by buying American. Many of the most popular Japanese cars (including all 3 of my Mitsubishi's) are built in America, with American workers. In fact, as American car companies scale back US jobs and operations, Japanese and even Korean car makers are expanding and investing. Secondly, many of the foreign name plates are owned by or heavily invested by American car makers. This means even the end result profits return to America.

Don't want to get too far off topic, but I can't stress enough to take a long look at whether the car and the car company you are buying from is REALLY benefitting American. Just because the CEO sits in Detriot, doesn't mean your helping Americans.

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You are right donaltopablo... I was afraid that my statement may be taken literally, although I do not agree 100% with what you said about non-US and US car manufacturers in the US... but that is another topic. My goal was to demonstrate that I am all for US dollars to stay INSIDE the US, and I used a "silly" example to explain that I can go as far as not buying a non-American car, just to keep my money in this country. Maybe not as a good example, but that was the best that I could think of at that moment; that's why it was a side note and not an important paragraph. Thanks for correcting me, though.

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Raleigh,

I assume then you were referring to a car assembled in the US, regardless of name plate, as opposed to Detriot American vs. Japanese name plate, based on the HQ of the company. Sorry if I took you too literally then.

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Not exactly... I am referring to American cars built in the US (and/or Canada), with US parts. Currently, I drive a Chrysler 300M, but given the purchase/merge by Mercedes, my next car is NOT going to be a Chrysler. Not that I don't like Mercedes... I love it, but whenever I can leave my hard earned money in this country, I will do so without second thought. On the other hand, if you really want to buy a foreign car, it would be nice to have an option to buy one that has been assembled in North America, leaving [at least] part of your money here. This is not an anti-[anything] attitude; it is pure economics and describe my own behavior with money. This is not to bash foreign cars, as we all know that great quality vehicles have been built by Germans and Japanese (especially), as well.

No need to say sorry... I am the one who made the whole paragraph unclear and I apologize for it. Not to mention it was off the topic.

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I heard that Jason Lewis butthole ranting about the transit money problems yesterday. of course he's thrilled anytime something negative happens with rail. He said, 'how can you fund a project that cant pay for itself - the government doesnt pay for my gas". No Jason, but it pays for the roads you drive on. We're trying to take steps forward in this city and he's looking for Mayberry.

For those of you who dont know, Lewis is an ultra ultra ultra conservative talk radio guy that recently moved here from minneapolis.

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A Mazda 6 is more domestic than a Chrysler 300M.

The Mazda 6 is assembled in Flint, Michigan, and about 89% of its parts are from the US.

The 300M is assembled in Ontario, Canada and about 87% of its parts are from the US.

Mazda's parent company is Ford, based in Detroit, USA.

Chryler's parent company is Dalhmer-Chrysler based in Germany.

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Crazy, the Mazda 3, the Ford Focus and the new Volvo V40 will be on the same platform.

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Uptownliving: the 300M is not less "American" than the Mazda 6... or any other Mazda. However, it will be when the merger between Mercedes and Chrysler gets completed. Crossfire is a true hybrid (Chrysler/Mercedes) but I am not interested in it, anyway. The bottom line is who makes the biggest profits, both short-term and long-term. If you are in the IT field you know what is going to happen to your job in the not-so-distant future. It has been happening for the last 6-7 years, but it's now becoming more evident. Same thing with cars; the minute we abandon the American cars, we abandon control over the rules the game (car manufacturing) is played. I do not advocate buying a "lemon" just because it is [mostly] American, but I will consider carefully which model I buy. My Chrysler, for instance, is made in US/Canada. Since I am not caught into the whole Canada vs. USA conflict, I do not care if some of my money goes to our neighbors. Things are going to get a little bit tricky with all those acquisitions and eventually I will have to make a "tough" decision, but whatever I will do will be based on what's best for the US... and me, of course. I prefer that my money goes to the pockets of an American company rather than a foreign one.

Sorry if the discussion took a different turn. I did not mean to let it become THE topic for discussion.

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Chrysler and Mercedes merged quite some time ago...to form Daihmler Chrylser with their HQ in Stuggart Germany. So the Mazda 6 is more "American" than the Chrysler 300M (or and LH car for that matter).

Every Mazda 6 goes to the bottom line of Ford...which is a US company....every 300M you buy goes to the bottom line of a German company Daihmler Chrysler.

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I know that Ford and Mazda work together, but isn't Mazda still an independent Japanese company? Using Ford's plant doesn't really qualify Mazda as a Ford company. The big chunk of the profits still leaves this country. The research and development still takes place in Japan, and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong; I can't claim I know everything about where each product gets designed, developed and built.

By the way, I am not the original owner of my 300M, so I don't feel as bad. Chrysler sold itself to a German company, that's a fact, but my money was technically kept here. The previous owner and Carmax took it. However, I won't get another Chrysler, as I believe I stated earlier in this thread. The toughest part for me (and for most buyers, I believe) will be to make a decision based on what's American and what's not. Eventually, people like me will have to make some "sacrifices" and swallow their pride.

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In today's Global Economy it is very hard to find stuff that is 100% American.

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Uptownliving: the 300M is not less "American" than the Mazda 6... or any other Mazda. However, it will be when the merger between Mercedes and Chrysler gets completed. Crossfire is a true hybrid (Chrysler/Mercedes) but I am not interested in it, anyway. The bottom line is who makes the biggest profits, both short-term and long-term. If you are in the IT field you know what is going to happen to your job in the not-so-distant future. It has been happening for the last 6-7 years, but it's now becoming more evident. Same thing with cars; the minute we abandon the American cars, we abandon control over the rules the game (car manufacturing) is played. I do not advocate buying a "lemon" just because it is [mostly] American, but I will consider carefully which model I buy. My Chrysler, for instance, is made in US/Canada. Since I am not caught into the whole Canada vs. USA conflict, I do not care if some of my money goes to our neighbors. Things are going to get a little bit tricky with all those acquisitions and eventually I will have to make a "tough" decision, but whatever I will do will be based on what's best for the US... and me, of course. I prefer that my money goes to the pockets of an American company rather than a foreign one.

Sorry if the discussion took a different turn. I did not mean to let it become THE topic for discussion.

heres an idea...how about buy the best car for your money, regardless of where its from? capitalism?

thus, the maker of the mediocre product, not naming names here, is forced to upgrade its product when its sales dip. isn't that how it should work?

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uptownliving: you are right, and that's why I said that in the future I will have to make "sacrifices" and swallow my American pride. Needless to say, I buy things that I like, regardless of the country of origin. It is ONLY when it comes to cars that I try to be more aware.

kickazzz2000: you make a very good point. If it wasn't for the reaction by the consumers on all those rotten 80's [uS] cars, the the American car manufacturers would not have paid attention. Sure, it makes a lot of sense to look at your wallet and make a decision based on what's best for you. Here is the other side: suppose you are a competent US programmer, and your job gets shipped to India, China, or wherever the labor is really cheap. Now, do you get the most out of your money? No, unless you are a major investor in the company that exports the jobs and you have someone cutting you a check for the rest of your [unemployed] life. That is what worries me the most. Personally, I prefer to leave here as much of my money as possible, not because I hate other countries, but because this is the only way I can possibly help the local economy. Uptownliving brought up a very interesting point when he mentioned that his Japanese car is actually built here. I could not disagree with him on this, and part of his money actually goes to some American worker's pocket. I admit that there are two sides of the story, so I can't preach to others... unlike when I discuss urbanity :)

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