Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Choo Choo Index

I was watching CNBC while I ate lunch, and saw something that gave me a boost. Years ago, I moved within half a mile of a double, double RR crossing. Every train that crosses both crossings in either direction blows its horn 4 times for each crossing. Suffice it to say, I have an ear on the economy. I can gauge how well we're doing economically, just by what my ears tell me.

Now, I've never been afraid to spill my "secret" economic tell to friends in casual conversation, but that news report told me bona fide economists pay attention to similar things, albeit a bit more scientifically and accurately. They watch the number of truck drivers actually working on the road and the number of vehicle miles travelled to gauge how the economy is doing. BTW, it's quiet around here, and the economy is not doing well!

The long and short of all this: from now on, I won't be so quick to doubt my perception of how the economy is going. I might not be able to count on the Bureau of Economic Analysis to give me the straight poop, but I have an ace in the hole in the infallible Choo Choo Index!


  1. I come from a three-generation railroad family, and you are right on. I've lived closer to the tracks, but I wouldn't recommend it.

    The recovery rhetoric is not to be believed. One of the bloggers that I follow pointed out that recently one of the biggest trucking companies in the country went out of business. The drivers were mostly independently contracted and in some cases were literally left needing to buy gas to get home.

    Once again, it's the Lord who is our provider...not Uncle Sam. PTL

  2. The U.S. needs to start producing something other than debt.

    We live in the "breadbasket", and a lot of farmers are being paid not to grow anything. It's called CRP, and it's pretty popular. As people get older, they can put the land in CRP, make money, and not deal with farming, or passing on the farm to someone who will. (Your tax dollars at work.)

  3. You're right, Cindy, about the need for the US economy to produce something other than debt, and I would add services as well. But then the liberal elites don't like pollution in the least, nor the use of natural resources at all, have drunk to the dregs the koolaid of anthropologic climate change, and generally can't stand the unwashed masses (of which, in their Malthusian philosophy, there's far too many). Their ilk not only hate America, but they hate Americans (and Africans, Asians, and everyone else for that matter but themselves).

  4. Spot on. The Georgia Guidestones couldn't have spelled it out better :).

    Once again, I'm so glad God is in charge - Psalm 2!

  5. Got to wonder, is Ted Turner connected to that somehow?

  6. Either that, or he's not the only one...;j

  7. An excellent indiator. An economy is recovering if people are making stuff or buying stuff. Those who make the stuff are almost always not in the same place as those who buy the stuff, so there is a need to move the stuff. Steel rolling on steel is the most efficient, and thus most cost effective, form of conveyance known to man, and so would be used as the preferred low cost option for moving that stuff.

    No stuff to move, no trains moving it, no economic recovery. brilliant, but only in hindsight, which is why the academics are always gonna be behind us "flyover yokels" on the "wisdom" curve...

  8. Gerald,
    You mean the great mass of the unwashed listening to the likes of Johnny Cash?

    "I hear no trains a-coming, not coming round the bend. Been no economic sunshine, since I don't know when..."


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