The Conversation

America disappoints her President once again

On Friday, President Obama returned to one of his favorite topics, infrastructure spending, in a move widely interpreted as the latest pivot to job creation.  As transcribed by the Weekly Standard, he used his rather grating "America can do better" formulation to insist on more money for roads and bridges:

"We still have all kinds of deferred maintenance.  We still have too many ports that aren’t equipped for today’s world commerce.  We’ve still got too many rail lines that are too slow and clogged up.  We’ve still got too many roads that are in disrepair, too many bridges that aren’t safe," said the president.

"We don’t have to accept that for America.  We can do better. We can build better.  And in a time of tight budgets, we’ve got to do it in a way that makes sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely."

Obama announced today his plan. "I’m expanding on a proposal I made in the State of the Union.  I’m calling it a Partnership to Rebuild America.  It’s a partnership with the private sector that creates jobs upgrading what our businesses need most -– modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children," he said.

America just can't seem to stop letting Barack Obama down, can it?  I'm sure we could compile a bipartisan history of political leaders urging Americans to "do better" in one area or another, but it seems like a particularly constant verbal tic of Obama's, since he's unwilling to concede the tiniest smidgeon of government responsibility for the unsatisfactory state of national affairs.

And what about the past four years makes anyone think this Administration is capable of ensuring that "taxpayer dollars are spent wisely?"  Let's be sporting and make that critique bipartisan, too: what about the Great Society federal system would lead any skeptic to believe it spends money wisely?  Since I was old enough to follow the news, I've been listening to politicians promise to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse.  I've heard them assert time and again that they can manage billions of dollars more prudently than the people who earned it.   But there are still billions of wasted dollars for them to promise they can save, and I've seen scant evidence that Big Government is a more canny investor than private interests, to say nothing of the value lost when property is taken from its rightful owners and re-distributed.

What in the world is Obama talking about when he speaks of a "time of tight budgets?"  This government is spending over three and a half trillion dollars a year, and Obama anticipates spending a trillion dollars above revenue indefinitely, save for a couple of years when the deficit might get down to $800 billion or so.  His Party hasn't passed a budget in four years, and the President himself is months past the legal deadline for submitting his own proposal.  What tight budgets?  What budgets?

A White House spokesman added that "we need to make smart, targeted investments to create jobs and boost our economy."  You know who should be making those smart, targeted investments?  Investors.


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