Pres. Trump has proposed a $1 trillion boondoggle. He wants to spend this money on infrastructure. This is going to put Obama’s shovel-ready, anti-recession boondoggle to shame.
Only it isn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen for Obama, either. Here is what happened — or didn’t happen.
Back in 2009, former President Barack Obama made some lofty promises about the infrastructure overhaul that his $800 billion economic stimulus plan would provide. Obama used the phrase ‘shovel-ready projects’ in reference to construction projects that could begin right away. In the end, however, only $98.3 billion of the $800 billion stimulus was dedicated to transportation and infrastructure. Of that $98.3 billion, only about $27.5 billion was actually spent on transportation infrastructure projects. Why?
‘The problem is that spending it out takes a long time, because there’s really nothing – there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects,’ Obama said in a 2010 interview with the New York Times.
When it comes to economic stimulus, local governments may take years to begin actual construction even once they receive funding. The reason why such a small portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ended up spent on infrastructure is that the projects are simply too slow to get off the ground to provide meaningful near-term stimulus.
That was Obama, who had a majority in both Houses of Congress and an electorate in panic mode over a recession. Here is what Trump has.
First, he is so tied up with special prosecutors and investigators that he is never going to get anything through Congress. For the next 3 1/2 years, there will be no major Trump political victories. Count on it.
Second, bureaucracies at the state and federal level are going to see to it that not one of his projects is launched, let alone completed. Even if he gets this boondoggle through Congress, which he won’t, it will do his legacy no good. Another President, probably elected in 2024, will get the credit. But I may be too optimistic. Maybe it will be the President who is elected in 2032.
Trump is frustrated. I can hardly blame him. In a recent post on the White House website, he offered this cry of woe.
This post was published at Gary North on June 17, 2017.