Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stimulus petering

The so-called stimulus was legislative pocket lint in the first place—pork projects lying around Congress that could never get through—then, wham.

They were never going to create jobs or certainly not a lot of jobs—unless some college kid got a temporary job counting minnows by a dam or something.

The big infrastructure things—highways, bridges about to fall into rivers—were not really shovel-ready. Most of the money has not even been spent.

Gary Fields wrote about this in the WSJ Dec 1, 2009.

At recovery.gov, the White House website of successes, some of the stimulus effect was made up—it was in all the papers, citing Congressional districts that didn’t even exist, etc.

Now the big construction cos that were going full steam are winding up and looking for their next groundbreaking. We need something to bid on, said one exec.

Unemployment in the construction industry (which is not all housing) is at 19%,up from 10%.

A big highway bill was being considered but would have required gas taxes to pay for it. People seem to have noticed we are spending and borrowing our guts out.

Sure, a new freeway would be great in your neighborhood or widening the one you get stuck on, but the phone, as one guy said, ain’t ringing.

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