It began inauspiciously enough. Not even three weeks after the new President was inaugurated the democrat controlled congress passed a five hundred and fifty billion dollar economic stimulus package and named it the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
It must be quite a feeling for a college professor, or a real estate developer or a former minor government functionary or community organizer to participate in the borrowing and then spending of half a Trillion dollars of other peoples money. This is, of course, an example of the last of the four ways we spend money: spending other people’s money on other people. In this mode, cost is of no concern (because the money will come from others) and neither are the results. For them it was all an abstraction and no matter what the result, there would be no consequences.
But my main thought for the moment are the “shovel ready” projects that were touted as one of the reasons for the rushed process that included no time for detailed examination and discussion of the bill’s contents. The President would later jokingly comment that the “shovel ready” projects were not as shovel ready as they had expected. Really?
If you give these executive neophytes the benefit of the doubt, if you accept, for a moment, that they didn’t know that before the golden shovels are polished up and brought out for show many months are spent in the promotion of ideas, feasibility studies, site selection studies, environmental studies, property acquisition, engineering and design, permitting, and that none of that happens until AFTER the money has been turned on then the best you can say about them is that they were inexperienced, incompetent, naïve, or all of the above. Or you can add deceitful to the list, and say that they knew it perfectly well and simply used the phrase “shovel ready projects” as an easy way to justify the hasty approval of a hundred Billion dollars in borrowing and expenditure.
My own feeling is that they were indeed inexperienced, incompetent, naïve, AND deceitful. Not exactly the traits you might want to look for when selecting national leaders.
But that’s just what an average guy thinks.