The shovel-unready presidency

They were wrong.

They were wrong not just about the effect of infrastructure spending – even an analysis by the Associated Press found no evidence unemployment was significantly improved by the Recovery Act’s public-works projects – but they were wrong about the existence of shovel-ready jobs in the first place. (They were also misleading, since only a tiny, tiny fraction of the stimulus went to any infrastructure at all. The bulk went to social programs.)…

The point is that the president and his team came into office insisting that they were on top of things and above mere ideological considerations. When confronted with skepticism about the existence of “shovel-ready” projects, they in effect rolled their eyes and scoffed at the backseat drivers.

But they were the ones who were blinded by ideology. One need not be an ideologue to understand that public-works contracting has become bloated and inefficient. Indeed, one must be an ideologue of a certain kind not to understand that. Or one has to be incredibly naive. Or both.