The Corner

What Are the Top Ten Reasons There’s No Such Thing as ‘Shovel-Ready Jobs’ Anymore?

This strikes me as a good topic for the comments section. You constantly hear liberals whine about all the great public works projects of  the past: man on the moon (not purely public works, but close enough for these purposes), Hoover dam, the Pentagon, Manhattan Project etc. The speed of these projects is unimaginable today and I would venture to guess the reasons for that are overwhelmingly, perhaps entirely, due to other liberal accomplishments (to use a value-neutral word). I’m thinking Davis-Bacon, environmental impact statements, etc.

Trying to figure out how conservatives stand in the way of such things, the only point I can anticipate is that liberals might say conservatives are too cheap to pay what these things cost today and doing things on the cheap takes time. I don’t really buy that (the ground zero mess can’t be attributed to skinflint Republicans), but I can imagine Paul Krugman saying it. Even if true, it doesn’t rebut the charge that liberalism has simply made nimble, capable and even necessary public works projects too expensive, both in terms of time and money.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Have at it.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

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