That's the comical subhed on an editorial by my former colleagues at the L.A. Times, pledging in the face of massive contrary evidence they know perfectly well to keep on supporting bankrupt California's bullet train boondoggle. Give them an A for consistency, since their original endorsement, back in 2008, contained this classic formulation:
The projections by the measure's opponents, led by the libertarian Reason Foundation in Los Angeles, are much less sanguine and more persuasive [than those by supporters]. If voters approve Proposition 1a, it seems close to a lead-pipe cinch that the California High-Speed Rail Authority will ask for many billions more in the coming decades, and the Legislature will have to scrape up many millions of dollars in operating subsidies.
And yet, we still think voters should give in to the measure's gleaming promise, because it's in their long-term interest.
This is interesting not because people care overmuch about unsigned newspaper editorials, but because it's a window into a still-prevalent mindset. Accurate numbers and good science matter, except when they don't. Official lies are untenably outrageous, unless they're merely the product of understandable over-exuberance. And logic, well, here's your logic:
Bullet trains have been successful in places with even bigger financial problems than California (notably Spain), and we'd like to think that the home of such visionaries as Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, D.W. Griffith and Earl Warren is at least as forward-thinking on transportation as, say, Japan or Turkey. The state is in a fiscal jam right now, but bonds are repaid over the course of decades, and the train is a major public work whose value to future generations could be compared to that of the California Water Project. […]
It's a gamble, and not one to be taken lightly. But gasoline isn't going to get any cheaper in the future and the freeways aren't going to get less clogged. We think California can find a way to get the train built. We think it can. We think it can….
I submit that this mindset is part of why we are broke at every level of government that the L.A. Times still covers. When the costs of Project Moonage Daydream just don't matter, when we react to elected officials who brazenly lie about misspending our money by giving them more money, then we get precisely what we deserve–intellectual bankruptcy, followed by the fiscal variety. What'll the next headline be, "Yes, the price tag has grown tenfold, and it won't be finished until the year 2100, but we think it's still worth it, because of Mark Zuckerberg and Spike Jonze"?