It seems like Richard Anderson is behaving like a corporate CEO and his philosophy, attitude, proposals, and decisions are made towards reducing losses and increasing "profits", running Amtrak like a company, as if Amtrak was like the airline companies he used to run.
No transportation company truly is "profitable". Amtrak every year does brag about its "cost recovery" and I have talked about it on occasion. Last fiscal year (2017), Amtrak covered "94.7 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues". This number was a record and it seems to be higher almost every year, trending in the right direction.
While I don't think Amtrak should be fully profitable, I think it is a reasonable goal of Amtrak for that number to be 100%. If it isn't 100%, guess who is paying the difference. Remember not everyone in the country has access to Amtrak or the same level of access. You're telling people in Las Vegas or Nashville to pay taxes so people in Thurmond, WV can ride trains that they can't. IMO Amtrak and Anderson have a responsibility to America and the American taxpayers to get that number as close to 100% as possible and make decisions to achieve that goal.
The question then becomes what is the best way(s) to do so? It's clear Anderson is doing it the wrong way so what is the right way?
I have no problems with the Woody "best cure for more Amtrak is more Amtrak" approach or "you have to spend money to make money". Of course the big question is convincing Anderson that expansion and extra trains are worthwhile. In the meetings with RAILPAC, Anderson did mention the future is corridor trains. The current "750 mile rule" would require states and not the federal government to fund additional trains. Either Congress would have to repeal the 750 mile rule or states would have to get together and approve funding for these trains/equipment for the trains. There's also getting the host railroads to play nice.
As for the food issue, is there a way to make food and beverage service cost neutral while keeping it satisfactory to AU/RPA customers? If not, you are again expecting taxpayers to pay for your "Amtrak steaks".