I am so incredibly glad that the CA primary is over: I can link to Mickey Kaus again. I think that I’ve mentioned it before, but I wasn’t willing to risk losing the pickup in November by making him look like a viable alternative to Barbara Boxer.
Anyway, Mickey’s bringing up this quote from Jon Alter’s book The Promise:
The biggest frustration involved infrastructure. Obama said later that he learned that “one of the biggest lies in government is the idea of ‘shovel-ready’ projects.” It turned out that only about $20 billion to $40 billion in construction contracts were truly ready to go. The rest were tied up in the endless contracting delays and bureaucratic hassles associated with building anything in America. [E.A.]
Did Obama really not know this back in January, 2009? I mean, Alter’s book pretty convincincly demonstrates that the President is a very smart man. But a smart man would have to have had virtually no contact, direct or vicarious, with government not to realize state and federal construction projects are bound up with time-consuming rules (like the Davis-Bacon Act’s “prevailing wage” requirements) that undermine their Keynesian utility.