Mr. President, we told you so 20 months ago.
After interviewing President Obama the New York Times reports that he “realized too late” that, quoting the President:
There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.
In February, 2009 four days after Congress voted to pass the giant Obama stimulus, that we were told would employ millions on construction projects, I wrote “The Stimulus Hoax: Flimflam & Spin. We had just endured weeks of endless chants from the political-media establishment about “shovel ready projects.” Here’s an excerpt from that article:
Obama Advisor David Axelrod…was asked how Americans would know if the so-called stimulus package was working and how to measure it. Axelrod responded…
Well, I think that there’ll be signs of activity very quickly. As you know, the package will help fund infrastructure programs and other programs that are ready to go around the country.
Let’s deal with the myth that there are infrastructure projects that are “ready to go” or “shovel ready.” The first step in a government infrastructure project is to appropriate the funds to pay for it. After funding is secured the following steps begin:
- Complete the Environmental Impact Report (EIR): 6 to 24 months.
- Respond to protests and lawsuits from so-called “environmental groups” that always attempt to derail every construction project before it gets started: months to years.
- Complete planning and engineering and in some cases acquire land: Months to years
- Conduct the convoluted government bid process to select a contractor to do the work: Up to a year.
Steps 1 – 4 cannot possibly be completed in less than 24 months and usually take a lot longer. These steps rarely begin until Congress appropriates funds for the project because there usually is no money to pay for them before the appropriation.
Axelrod predicted “signs of activity” rather than listing any construction projects because he knows no workers will be hired and no work other than paperwork will begin for a long time.
If there were any “shovel ready” projects, where workers could be hired immediately, the Obama Administration and the media cheer-leaders would be telling us about them – over and over. Camera crews would be sent to project sites to interview the contractors and the smiling workers, excited about getting started.
Having been right back then doesn’t feel particularly triumphant today. This was not top secret information 20 months ago. Anyone who had ever worked for either government or a government contractor – millions of people – knew “shovel-ready” was a fraud, intended to deceive. Apparently Obama was deceived right along with naive Senators, naive reporters and naive citizens.
The Presidency has become a Trillion dollar on-the-job training program, slowly dragging a reluctant Barack Obama from blissfully ignorant, narcissistic, community organizer and petulant complainer, toward an elementary understanding of how the real world works.
One wonders what other ignorant or naive assumptions we’ll eventually learn this President brought to his self-assigned agenda of “transforming America.”