From today’s Jolt:
Live, Spend a Ton, and Learn
The New York Times’s Peter Baker tells us of the latest “teachable moment” from the Obama presidency: “During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called ‘tactical lessons.’ He let himself look too much like ‘the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.’ He realized too late that ‘there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects’ when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead ‘let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts’ so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise.”
Look, we know Obama wasn’t elected for his foreign policy experience. The one area of public policy that a former Illinois state senator might know a thing or two about is spending money. And yet Obama was caught unaware by how slowly the gears of government turn and how long it takes for the money to get out the door.
Somehow, all of the stimulative flaws of giant federally funded infrastructure projects escaped Obama’s attention during his eight years in the state legislature or four years in the Senate. He just figured government knew how to do this stuff, suggesting he never looked that hard at how the bureaucracy worked, or in some cases, doesn’t work. Not a detail man after all, it seems.