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(National Post)   Munich, 1158 AD, rich guy with a bridge screws peasants. Detroit, 2012 AD, rich guy learns from history   (news.nationalpost.com) divider line 81
    More: Asinine, Detroit, Michigan, Ambassador Bridge, U.S., Governors of Michigan, loves, Michigan voters  
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5095 clicks; posted to Business » on 24 Oct 2012 at 2:39 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-24 08:52:52 PM

Blairr: tomnardone206: Here is how I see it. The ambassador bridge was built with private money and operates as an independent business. Over the last 50 years the city of Windsor didn't plan well around it. Now, Canada wants to build a bridge that has more direct access to their freeway, but in doing so the new bridge will directly compete with an existing private business here in Detroit. I say that this isn't fair. I don't favor any government entity that wants to compete directly with private business. I'm not surprised that the bridge company has pulled off the gloves. I would too and you probably would too.

Pretty much. Anyone who thinks the Canadian government is being altruistic with this bridge is pretty naive. We're just trying to circumvent a private American business and the profit they accrue. The construction of the bridge will mean less cash deposits in American banks (that's what happens to the money of rich people, they don't keep pools full of gold) and thus higher interest rates for Americans seeking capital as the banks will have less capital themselves.


This isn't really directed at you, but for the edification of others.

The Moroun bridge no longer has the capacity to handle trade / traffic volume. He hasn't really tried to update it, because he's making money with it. Were you ever have to use the bridge on a regular basis, you would see how badly a new crossing is needed. There's a reason the Chamber of Commerce (which normally would kiss Moroun a$$) wants this new bridge: because it might hurt the Morouns, but it will help more rich people. Those rich people (in trickle down theory) will get more money than the Morouns lose and create more jobs. The union workers like it because it means more union jobs. Basically, it's a win-win except for the Morouns.

Morouns lose, other rich people and union workers win. Morouns win, everybody else loses.
 
2012-10-24 09:10:09 PM
sure, 'free' bridge bought and paid for by canadia. america uses the bridge and pays tolls to canadia. after X amount of money is paid for X amount of years, will there be anyone alive to remember the 'promise' to turn over half the bridge and tolls to america? and with inflation, compounding interest and upkeep, will there be a balloon payment required?
even if american steel and american labor built the bridge, it still isn't in our best interest to back it, no matter how 'free' you think it is...
besides, detroit is a dieing city being bulldozed back into countryside...
at least roebling's erection was humorous as well as practical in it's day, this bridge will serve no-one...
 
2012-10-24 09:28:14 PM

bullsballs: will there be anyone alive to remember the 'promise' to turn over half the bridge and tolls to america?


Let us assume that no one ever writes down this agreement, and we all forget that the US gets half interest in the bridge after it's paid off or a period of time expires. SO WHAT? We still have a bridge that increases trade with Canada. That's good for all of us. As the article pointed out- 25% of all US/Canada trade passes through that region already.

The only loser in this arrangement is the guy who already happens to own a bridge in the area. Well, to farking bad.
 
2012-10-24 09:32:54 PM
What a hateful greedy evil fark.

And holy CHRIST, are Michigan residents really that farking retarded? And why won't the feds get involved?
 
2012-10-24 09:37:14 PM

bullsballs: sure, 'free' bridge bought and paid for by canadia. america uses the bridge and pays tolls to canadia. after X amount of money is paid for X amount of years, will there be anyone alive to remember the 'promise' to turn over half the bridge and tolls to america? and with inflation, compounding interest and upkeep, will there be a balloon payment required?


So you think Canada's brilliant plan is to build a bridge and then wait for every American over the age of 21 to die so no one will remember to ask for payment? Contract law, how does it work?
 
2012-10-24 09:50:44 PM

Barricaded Gunman: FTFA: The officer who answered was a friend of "Danny's". He assured me he would pass along my message and chuckled when I mentioned the free bridge. "You mean the bridge to nowhere?" he said. "If you believe that it's free I've got some swampland down in Florida I can sell you."

Ahh, the smug self assurance of the utterly misinformed. As soon as I saw the first "Let the people decide" ad I knew we were in trouble. And I've seen exactly zero ads from the other side, so it looks like Michigan is poised to eff this up. The day Matty Maroun dies should be a national holiday.


Couldn't agree more! I have seen countless "The people should decide" ads - making ridiculous and insane claims, and flat-out lying in some...

- "Building a bridge without our consent means fewer cops and teachers."

Makes me ill because I'm certain that there are clearly no massive special-interests paying for the "NO" vote, which means Michiganders will undoubtedly follow their stupid-sides at the polls.
 
2012-10-24 10:45:59 PM

Satanic_Hamster: And holy CHRIST, are Michigan residents really that farking retarded?


Having grown up in western Michigan, I can say with authority that yes, Michigan residents are that farking retarded.

Not all of them.

But there are enough impressionable low-information conservatives to let you buy an election with a few million dollars of TV commercials.
 
2012-10-24 10:56:07 PM

Barricaded Gunman: FTFA: The officer who answered was a friend of "Danny's". He assured me he would pass along my message and chuckled when I mentioned the free bridge. "You mean the bridge to nowhere?" he said. "If you believe that it's free I've got some swampland down in Florida I can sell you."

Ahh, the smug self assurance of the utterly misinformed. As soon as I saw the first "Let the people decide" ad I knew we were in trouble. And I've seen exactly zero ads from the other side, so it looks like Michigan is poised to eff this up. The day Matty Maroun dies should be a national holiday.



What's really funny is how they got that idiot to mentally leverage the "bridge to nowhere" from Alaska, even though this bridge clearly goes somewhere.

This new phenomenon of blathering idiots believing, or even "knowing" they are smarter than everyone else, is annoying as hell. Everyone should be forced to take an IQ test and the results should be tattooed on your forehead, written in reverse, so you see your score when you look in the mirror. The stupid need to be reminded to shut their stupid yaps. 

/shutting up now
 
2012-10-25 12:10:23 AM

ricewater_stool: Moroun has got to be in the top 50 worst people on earth. He owns a ton of rotting real estate in Detroit, including the train station mentioned above, which he lets rot because it has a tunnel to Canada underneath it that he doesn't want anyone to use. He also wants to build his own, 2nd bridge to Canada but the Canadian government won't allow it. He's a billionaire and gives nothing of note to any charities. He seems to think he's going to be able to take it all with him when he croaks, which hopefully will be in the near future.


what a sad man. greed does horrible things to men, power too. Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' airs on TV every year yet some never learn its age old lesson.
 
2012-10-25 12:44:44 AM
Turns out it's not enough for Moroun to make a mint selling duty-free gas: he sold low-grade as high-test, too.
 
das
2012-10-25 12:59:21 AM
Why don't "they" buy the bridge from him and upgrade it???
 
2012-10-25 01:05:34 AM

das: Why don't "they" buy the bridge from him and upgrade it???


It dumps its traffic into central Windsor, not onto a freeway. Supposedly, the only stoplights a trucker must encounter from the Mexican border to Toronto are on the stretch of surface road in Windsor from the bridge to Canada's highway 401.
 
2012-10-25 01:11:30 AM
In reality, could the Canadian government make a law saying private crossings are a threat to national security and refuse to allow crossings in from them?

/knows it won't happen but just interested in the legal ramifications
 
2012-10-25 03:42:23 AM

tomnardone206: I don't favor any government entity that wants to compete directly with private business.


Better points have been made, but nonetheless I'll add that for all intents and purposes only Canadians could argue your point. You as a Michigander could just as easily view it as competition from private business since it's not your tax dollars. Where do you care where the money comes from. It's not yours.
 
2012-10-25 03:50:00 AM
You know, there was a time that the government used to tell people like this to go fark themselves.
 
2012-10-25 04:12:38 AM

tomnardone206: Here is how I see it. The ambassador bridge was built with private money and operates as an independent business. Over the last 50 years the city of Windsor didn't plan well around it. Now, Canada wants to build a bridge that has more direct access to their freeway, but in doing so the new bridge will directly compete with an existing private business here in Detroit. I say that this isn't fair. I don't favor any government entity that wants to compete directly with private business. I'm not surprised that the bridge company has pulled off the gloves. I would too and you probably would too.


HOW DARE ROBIN HOOD TRY TO GIVE US MONEY. THAT GOLD BELONGS TO THOSE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN STEALING AND OPPRESSING US FOR DECADES
 
2012-10-25 07:42:32 AM
from the wiki:
"His father ran two gas stations in Detroit, which Matty helped at before and during his high school education. During his sophomore year of high school (1946), his dad bought Central Cartage Company"

so much for the "self-made-millionaire"

Everytime I read these words, I look up, and almost every time, BINGO:
it don't mean from poor or middle class to rich, like one would assume, but from upper class to rich.
 
2012-10-25 08:51:50 AM
I am ashamed that my state's voters will believe the blatant lies being told by the Morouns just because they're on television.
 
2012-10-25 09:25:15 AM

Dwight_Yeast: You know, there was a time that the government used to tell people like this to go fark themselves.


When was that? They certainly didn't say that to JP Morgan.
 
2012-10-25 09:31:28 AM

doczoidberg: I am ashamed that my state's voters will believe the blatant lies being told by the Morouns just because they're on television.


Same here. I've been ranting about this jackass for a long time. I'm glad this is getting a little more attention, but I'm afraid the prop is going to go through, and fark us all...
 
2012-10-25 10:38:19 AM

Blairr: tomnardone206: Here is how I see it. The ambassador bridge was built with private money and operates as an independent business. Over the last 50 years the city of Windsor didn't plan well around it. Now, Canada wants to build a bridge that has more direct access to their freeway, but in doing so the new bridge will directly compete with an existing private business here in Detroit. I say that this isn't fair. I don't favor any government entity that wants to compete directly with private business. I'm not surprised that the bridge company has pulled off the gloves. I would too and you probably would too.

Pretty much. Anyone who thinks the Canadian government is being altruistic with this bridge is pretty naive. We're just trying to circumvent a private American business and the profit they accrue. The construction of the bridge will mean less cash deposits in American banks (that's what happens to the money of rich people, they don't keep pools full of gold) and thus higher interest rates for Americans seeking capital as the banks will have less capital themselves.



Who said anything about altruism? Why would anyone imagine that we should build a bridge as a favour to someone? Trade with the United States is the life's blood of our economy, and is therefore a matter of highest national security. Screw your private business...who placed a cap on the number of bridges across the Detroit River? The Bluewater 'competes' with this jack-off too, should we close it?

Someone earlier said $127-million a day crosses this bridge, which sounds like a lot, but is inaccurate. It's closer to triple that.

After the new bridge is built, the Canadian government should promptly close their customs plaza on our side of the Ambassador Bridge...good luck collecting your tolls from a bridge to nowhere.

tomnardone, the Canadian government reserves the right to build public infrastructure vital to our national interest, if you can believe it - despite some guy in Detroit. Fair? Who cares.

And not for nothing Blairr, but your analysis of the impact on American banking is blindingly stupid.
 
2012-10-25 11:19:58 AM
Does this highlight the problem of private ownership of public travel, at least on the roadways?
 
2012-10-25 02:24:39 PM

tomnardone206: Here is how I see it. The ambassador bridge was built with private money and operates as an independent business. Over the last 50 years the city of Windsor didn't plan well around it. Now, Canada wants to build a bridge that has more direct access to their freeway, but in doing so the new bridge will directly compete with an existing private business here in Detroit. I say that this isn't fair. I don't favor any government entity that wants to compete directly with private business. I'm not surprised that the bridge company has pulled off the gloves. I would too and you probably would too.


That doesn't mean that you change the goddamn state Constitution to do it.
 
2012-10-25 02:27:50 PM

PatoDeAgua: Barricaded Gunman: FTFA: The officer who answered was a friend of "Danny's". He assured me he would pass along my message and chuckled when I mentioned the free bridge. "You mean the bridge to nowhere?" he said. "If you believe that it's free I've got some swampland down in Florida I can sell you."

Ahh, the smug self assurance of the utterly misinformed. As soon as I saw the first "Let the people decide" ad I knew we were in trouble. And I've seen exactly zero ads from the other side, so it looks like Michigan is poised to eff this up. The day Matty Maroun dies should be a national holiday.

Couldn't agree more! I have seen countless "The people should decide" ads - making ridiculous and insane claims, and flat-out lying in some...

- "Building a bridge without our consent means fewer cops and teachers."

Makes me ill because I'm certain that there are clearly no massive special-interests paying for the "NO" vote, which means Michiganders will undoubtedly follow their stupid-sides at the polls.


Most disgusting one I saw was one which was a direct mailing from what appears to be a fiscally conservative group mailed out to people who had supported Republican candidates and groups in the past. It was a "voting guide" which basically was just straight up "vote Republican" EXCEPT had all kinds of stupid, misleading bullshiat about the bridge amendment. Honestly, it's been a complete pooch screw.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-10-25 03:23:31 PM
You Are All Sheep

I see this as straightforward "rent seeking" rather than a specifically transport-related problem.

Historically (until the last few decades) private toll roads were severely regulated. In the 19th century the legislature would charter a company to build a road, granting eminent domain and monopoly in return for limits on amount and duration of tolls. These companies were overall not very successful. In the end railroads won. (See The Turnpikes of New England for details.)

Those older toll roads were seen as a way to improve transportation. The state didn't make money. The state saw long term value in having long distance roads. Politicians talk about "investing in the future" now when they mean "spend money on a cause I like." Back then they really did invest in the future.

Starting in the mid-20th century toll roads were run by quasi-public agencies instead of private corporations. Some of the agencies' charters had a fatal flaw. The toll authority could extend its lifetime by adding new debt. The bosses didn't want to put themselves out of business.

More recently legislatures have seen roads as a way to get short term cash. Chicago sold parking meters. Illinois sold the Toll Road. In 50 years people will still be paying to fix the 2010 budget deficit.
 
2012-10-26 02:43:13 AM

KWess: And not for nothing Blairr, but your analysis of the impact on American banking is blindingly stupid.


It's true. The money has to go somewhere. It probably goes into a bank. Probably an American bank. Banks use one person's deposit as a loan to another. By Canada building a bridge, the toll generated from Canadian users that formerly went stateside will stay provinceside. If maximizing capital in American banks is the name of the game, this bridge is a bad idea for America.

KWess: ...who placed a cap on the number of bridges across the Detroit River?


Canada refuses to let Moroun build another bridge. On what grounds, I don't know. Perhaps they don't want another era of Moroun monopoly.

But the fact that Canada refused his offer nullifies many of the arguments I've seen in this link. The degenerating infrastructure or insufficient infrastructure.

KWess: the Canadian government reserves the right to build public infrastructure vital to our national interest


And American's can rightly deny access, also in the name of national interest.
 
2012-10-26 09:11:06 AM

Blairr: It's true. The money has to go somewhere. It probably goes into a bank. Probably an American bank. Banks use one person's deposit as a loan to another. By Canada building a bridge, the toll generated from Canadian users that formerly went stateside will stay provinceside. If maximizing capital in American banks is the name of the game, this bridge is a bad idea for America.


No, the money will go to various companies hired to do work on the bridge, who will then put their profits in the bank. Due to the structure of the bridge being half American and half Canadian, companies from both sides of the border will be hired (this is in the agreement). At the time when the bridge starts making a profit, the tolls revert to being 50% split.

All the while the Moroun bridge is still up and running and he's doing what he wants with that money.

What this bridge does is prevent trucks from driving up to Port Huron and going across the Bluewater Bridge because the backup at the Ambassador can sometimes exceed half a day. Thus the cost of transporting goods is reduced since 130 miles of driving distance are removed. That benefits both sides by making trade easier. Losing 50% of toll revenues off one bridge is not a big deal.
 
2012-10-26 03:02:45 PM

Blairr: KWess: And not for nothing Blairr, but your analysis of the impact on American banking is blindingly stupid.

It's true. The money has to go somewhere. It probably goes into a bank. Probably an American bank. Banks use one person's deposit as a loan to another. By Canada building a bridge, the toll generated from Canadian users that formerly went stateside will stay provinceside. If maximizing capital in American banks is the name of the game, this bridge is a bad idea for America.



The money generated by tolls on a bridge is a pittance when considering the context of the amount of capital in American banks. It's about what the US-military spends per hour. The US money supply in 2009 was about 8 million-million.


KWess: ...who placed a cap on the number of bridges across the Detroit River?

Canada refuses to let Moroun build another bridge. On what grounds, I don't know. Perhaps they don't want another era of Moroun monopoly. But the fact that Canada refused his offer nullifies many of the arguments I've seen in this link. The degenerating infrastructure or insufficient infrastructure.


Perhaps we don't want more monopoly. Perhaps we don't feel that something so vital should be in private hands. It seems like it was a mistake in the first place, so why repeat it? The wait at the border is too long, and maybe what he proposes, or his timeline doesn't meet our needs. Maybe it's our damned country and we can do what we want.

KWess: the Canadian government reserves the right to build public infrastructure vital to our national interest
And American's can rightly deny access, also in the name of national interest.


Yes they can, but that's the thing, they're not. All of the duly elected officials in the region want the bridge, and most people, if they knew they were getting it for free, would also say 'why not?' This is about a monopolist who doesn't want others in on the game, lying to people and trying to frighten them into voting against their own interests, because it lines his pocket. We should just expropriate the part on our side of the river.

For that matter, please describe what issue of national interest would prevent the governments of the United States or Michigan from accepting a free bridge at a vital trade link. The money flows both ways, you know...it's good for Michigan too.
 
2012-10-26 05:33:27 PM

KWess: The money generated by tolls on a bridge is a pittance when considering the context of the amount of capital in American banks. It's about what the US-military spends per hour. The US money supply in 2009 was about 8 million-million.


US money supply was 8(10)12
And Moroun's accumulated wealth is 1.5(10)9

Not exactly negligible.

The only reason I'm here is because I hate rabblerousing against the rich whilst screaming about "free-stuff"

There are reasons for American's to be sceptical. It starts with:

Is Canada being altruistic? (Y/N)

No. It's in Canada's interest to build this bridge.

If it's in Canada's interest to build this bridge, is Canada's interest at America's expense? (Y/N)
 
2012-10-26 05:41:30 PM
The trade across Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan alone is equal to all the trade between the United States and Japan.

And by having it as a privately held bridge, which charges a toll, which is effectively a tariff, America circumvents NAFTA and takes capital from Canada and places it into the American system.

A publicly owned bridge would be subject to NAFTA.

It's not in America's interest to allow this bridge to be built.
 
2012-10-27 06:15:13 AM

Blairr: The trade across Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan alone is equal to all the trade between the United States and Japan.

And by having it as a privately held bridge, which charges a toll, which is effectively a tariff, America circumvents NAFTA and takes capital from Canada and places it into the American system.

A publicly owned bridge would be subject to NAFTA.

It's not in America's interest to allow this bridge to be built.


You had some constructive posts until this utter nonsense. You trying to tell me that the US would deliberately circumvent NAFTA to line one guys pockets? This isn't a trade dispute we're talking about. They're tolls, which are not effectively a tariff. Canadian and US traffic both ways pay a toll to a private enterprise. To the extent that that enterprise pays US taxes as an American corporation there's your gain. To the extent that an inefficient bridge impedes traffic i.e. trade on a bridge responsible for 25% of trade between the US and Canada there is your cost.
Which is more important to Canada is painfully obvious. However what is more important to the US - what is in their interest - should also be painfully obvious.
 
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