The writer explains that Stumble Joe’s Amtrak upgrade cannot honestly be described as an “investment” because there is no possibility that adding new operations will increase “profits” from which taxpayers will earn a return. Instead, adding new operations will only increase the cost that taxpayers pay for Amtrak.
Ideally, an investor trades a sum of money for the promise of getting more money back at some future time. Many factors influence the transaction, but the main consideration is the probability that the enterprise will make profits through effective management. Only by making profits is the management able to give back more than the investor contributed.
To me, it just seems weird for government to be in the investment business.