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January 06, 2011

Stimulus Interviews on NPR and Fox Business

"Nothing in America is shovel ready" was the phrase from my Confessions of a Stimulator post which led to the most discussion in interviews both on the Willis Report on Fox Business News and on To The Point produced by NPR-affiliate KCRW and syndicated to other NPR stations.

Here's KCRW's lead:

During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt put four million people to work in four months. In two years, President Obama's $787 billion stimulus has failed to reduce unemployment as promised, and much of the money hasn't even been spent. When it was enacted in 2009, it was advertised as a fast-track program for hiring the unemployed as well as creating new jobs, and was to focus on projects called "shovel-ready?"  So-called stimulus watchdogs in Vermont and California say there is no such thing. What about the money that has been spent?  Has the Reinvestment and Recovery Act been a victim of false advertising as well as red tape?

Guests:

Laura Chick: former Inspector General of Federal Stimulus Dollars, State of California

Harold Meyerson: Editor-at-Large, American Prospect

Gary Burtless: Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Tom Evslin: former Chief Recovery Officer, State of Vermont

On both the left and the right, our inability to get projects done in a reasonable amount of time is seen as a national problem. Years of reaction and over-reaction to environmental and other abuses have led to a system where almost anyone can impose a delay of almost any length and almost any expense on any significant project at no risk to the delayer. Even with piles of federal (our) dollars, we could only do patch-up and maintenance projects during the height of the recession – the time when counter-cyclical spending would make the most sense. My guess is we would have an unprecedented building boom funded purely by private dollars if permitting were reasonable and predictable.

Related Posts:

The Tyranny of “No” – A Small Example

Blocking the Sun and the Wind

Removing Obstacles to Obama's Job Growth Plan

Confessions of a Stimulator

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