On Monday evening I stopped by the Hasting’s bookstore here in Norman, OK. While perusing the community bulletin board, I noticed a flyer for the Tea Party to be held on the evening of April 15th at the Norman Santa Fe Train Depot. I chuckled to myself and went about my business. But then yesterday it occurred to me that the Norman Depot services the Heartland Flyer, an Amtrak line between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. How ironic, I thought, that an anti-tax, anti-spending group would be meeting in a building associated with one of their perennial targets – a railroad company wholly owned by, and operating on a $2.6 billion annual subsidy from, the federal government.
But wait – there’s more!
So today I did a little more research, and discovered that the Norman Depot was renovated in 2003 using $480,000 of federal and state funds. The station houses a performing arts studio which is partially supported by local, state, and federal funds, including the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2005, local protestors successfully lobbied for $2 million in state funds for the operation of the Heartland Flyer.
Best of all? The bill that provided the $2.6 billion in annual funding for Amtrak passed the House 311-104 and was signed by President Bush in October of 2008. So much for taxation without representation.
If it weren’t for taxes and government spending, I wonder where they would be meeting?