Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Obama's MIssed Opportunity

From Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture blog, Invictus writes:
Obama had one shot at a stimulus package when the economy was reeling from the near economic collapse of 2008. Some members of his team argued it needed to be bigger (it did), but for whatever reasons they did not prevail. What was needed then — as now — was to put money to work in such a way as to get the best bang for the buck and put as many people to work as possible. It’s been my long-held contention that infrastructure would have been an ideal use of stimulus funds. ...
  • More than 150,000 miles—or 45 percent—of federal highways and major roads in the U.S. are not in good condition, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

  • More than 71,000 of the nation’s bridges—12 percent—are rated as structurally deficient. More than 78,000 are rated as functionally obsolete.

  • More than 20 states this year will likely reduce transportation investments because of federal inaction on a new surface transportation authorization bill.

I wrote in June 2010: “And, for the record, I’ll state here that I think Obama and his team badly misallocated the stimulus in ways that did little to create jobs, unarguably its most important objective. And that will cost him dearly (as evidenced by yesterday’s third defeat of an unemployment benefits extension?).” Nothing that has happened in the past 14 months has caused me to waver from that position.
Obama was touted as a "quick learner". You would think 2.5 years is plenty of time for Harvard graduate to learn some Economics 101. But apparently that is a task that is just too challenging for Obama. He's smart when it comes to politicking, but when it comes to doing something useful, to helping the bottom 90%, or showing some intelligence about how to govern effectively, Obama comes out as a slow learner, something that when I was a kid was called "a mental retard".

From a different post, Barry Ritholtz summarizes the frustration of the American political system:
I keep saying I am not a Democrat because I have no idea what their economic policy is, and I am not a Republican because I know EXACTLY what their economic policy is. That is our policy choices: Inept cluelessness on one side, and hapless fantasy-based lunacy on the other.

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