Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner explains why California’s now-abandoned high-speed rail line was not a total failure (at least in the eyes of its major advocates).

California high-speed rail was never anything more than massive corporate welfare ripoff. Anyone who said otherwise was either a dupe or a shill.

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t initiate the San Francisco to Los Angeles high-speed rail, but he made it the centerpiece of his latest stint in Sacramento. It was going to be his monument to what government can accomplish. …

… Gee, who could have guessed that a huge public-works project would turn into a boondoggle for politically connected consultants?

This is, of course, the tale of nearly all major government undertakings. Every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich. It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Left and for the press, both of whom see government as the noble counterweight to evil Big Business. But the truth is that Big Government is always a home game for the guys who can hire the lobbyists.

Every time these progressive projects turn into corporatist boondoggles, the media reacts with shock. Somehow Obamacare became a boon to the big hospitals. Somehow tobacco regulation benefited Philip Morris. Somehow the permanent war machine became a military-industrial complex.