"Is this a shovel-ready project?" Mr. Biden asked Scott Christie, the state transportation official charged with deploying economic stimulus money.
"It's ready to go," Mr. Christie answered. "I literally have the plans in the car right now."
It turns out, though, that shovel-readiness is in the eye of the beholder. Soon after his visit, Mr. Biden found out that his model stimulus project wouldn't see a shovel for almost four more months, possibly longer, knowing how such timetables slip. In North Middleton, [Pennsylvania] a White House eager for action had run up against locals eager to avoid disruption. The locals won.
So begins a piece by The Wall Street Journal's Michael Phillips on a flubbed photo op at a decaying bridge in Pennsylvania. While the Obama administration was eager to put a quick muscular public relations shine on the stimulus bill, the mundane reality of filling potholes means a much slower and much more pedestrian approach. Although Obama was depending on the public works aspect to provide a burst of cash coursing through the economy, the reality is that these projects will take more time, and will therefore have less economic impact. The town featured in the article wanted to put off the bridge project because the construction would disrupt a school bus route. So they did. The reality on the ground trumped the airy Washington propaganda needs.
In fact, the stimulus itself is a bit of a fraud. Most of the $787 billion goes to the states to prop up increasingly onerous state entitlement programs. When this amount of cash runs dry in two years, then what will the states do? Oh rats, I forgot the Obama groupthink line. It goes like this: In two years the economy will be better and state coffers will overflow with plentiful tax receipts. Never mind that some, like Obama supporter and Depression era Investor Seth Glickenhaus (he's 94), believes this economic swoon will last five years. Of course, if the imagined recovery doesn't take place, yet another stimulus bill will be required. Billions more will be thrown around. To what effect, we can't be certain. This is looks to be another spot for sunny rhetoric to fall to the hard ground of reality.
Near me, the stimulus money is repaving a stretch of road. While there are many such spots around here, the obvious need is two ancient massive bridges nearby. While tossing a few thousand on a road to make the local news works for some transitory positive spin, the greater needs are unmet. Building two huge bridges would take years. By the time they're built, Obama might not even be in office. No short term propaganda gain to be made there.