Taking Taxpayers for a Ride...

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

Last week we told you that your tax dollars, 24 billion of them every year, are going to people who illegally enter the United States.  Now, once again, it seems the American taxpayer is taken for a ride, a train ride.

That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

President Bush will give Amtrak another $200 million in loan guarantees because the train is going bankrupt once again.  Since 1971, Amtrak has not had one profitable year.  And that has cost us more than $35 billion.  The crack Department of Transportation oversees Amtrak, and Michael Dukakis is on the board of directors.  I confronted the governor about Amtrak last August.


This is what The Boston Herald said this week, governor, "Cadadon (ph) as the silver bullet that would save Amtrak from the chronic financial problems, the high-speed Acela Express is suffering from a growing number of empty seats on the New York to Boston leg, a new federal report shows.  That's just one factor that would make it virtually impossible for Amtrak to meet its federal mandate to be self-sufficient by 2003."

Can't you get the Japanese in here to figure this deal out?  I mean, come on!  How much money...

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, AMTRAK BOARD OF DIRECTORS:  Well, for one thing, every board is run, Bill.  We will be operationally self-sufficient by the year 2003.  And you're not going to privatize this thing...


O'REILLY:  All right.  Well, that's not going to happen.

As opposed to the running of the railroad into your wallet, once again the taxpayer is taking a massive hit, something that doesn't seem to bother Chuck Schumer, the senator from New York.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  We are today demanding that the administration put up the $200 million that is needed to keep Amtrak going.  Just as the federal government subsidizes our highways and subsidizes our airports and air travel, they should be doing the same to rail.


O'REILLY:  So he's demanding $200 million more.  So here we go again, more government spending on a doomed proposition.  The Department of Transportation simply can't run anything.  The only thing it can do is spend our money.

Ridership has not significantly increased in 10 years, and Amtrak continues to hemorrhage money.  While it is true the nation needs trains, they must be modeled after the Japanese bullet trains.  They must be quicker and easier to use.

The only solution here is to let somebody like Donald Trump buy out Amtrak.  I'd even let Trump put casino cars on board the trains so he'd make money immediately.  In return, he'd have to upgrade the whole system.

I repeat, that is the only solution to the Amtrak mess.  But the government will not endorse creative action, they'll continue to spend our tax money on Amtrak as they have been doing for 30 years.  And if the federal deficit grows, people like Chuck Schumer will raise our taxes and waste even more money.

Talking Points sees now light at the end of the train tunnel here, and knows we are being railroaded by the Feds once again.  Sorry for the puns, but few are working effectively on the railroad.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Gary Condit spreading around the cash.  According to the newsletter, "Roll Call", Condit significantly improved the salaries of three key staffers in the days following the Chandra Levy scandal.  Condit doubled the pay of his secretary in Modesto, California making Jackie Mullin one of the highest paid secretaries in Congress. 

Now, cynics might say that Condit could have been buying some silence.  But hey, like the Ghostbusters, we are ready to believe you, Gary.  Just come on The Factor, explain all of this generosity, paid for by your campaign fund and everything will be OK.  More ridiculous stuff attached to a ridiculous man.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com