Patterico's Pontifications

11/10/2008

The Economy and Obama’s New Deal

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 1:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama is preparing to tackle America’s economic problems by emulating the New Deal with a national stimulus package, government sponsored infrastructure projects, and invoking the leadership of FDR.

Amity Shlaes explains why emulating FDR’s New Deal is a bad idea:

“The historical model that the Democrats are choosing to hold up as they ponder our financial crisis isn’t Harry Truman’s Fair Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. At least three economic reforms under discussion now were also central in the New Deal package. Trouble is, these reforms didn’t necessarily work well when they were first tried – and some failed outright.”

A stimulus package doesn’t work unless people spend the money but as recently as last year, Americans saved their stimulus checks instead of spending them. [Edit: Or they used the money to pay off credit cards, etc., that resulted in less actual stimulus. H/T JVW.] I suspect most Americans will be inclined to do the same this year.

As for infrastructure projects, Shlaes points out that FDR’s government-sponsored projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority displaced private businesses and thus prolonged the recovery time.

Finally, regarding the value of FDR’s leadership:

“Even more than specific New Deal projects, Obama and his fellow Democrats are evoking Roosevelt’s leadership style. In school, we learned that it was FDR’s personality that pulled the country through the Depression. If only, the suggestion is, we can have a strong enough leader, Americans will also find recovery again. We need some “bold persistent experimentation” of the Roosevelt variety.

There is evidence, however, that FDR’s very strength was a negative, because he used it to give himself a license to do true experimenting. In his second inaugural address, FDR said that he sought “an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.”

No one knew what it meant, and markets were terrified. Everyone feared FDR would regulate or prosecute them next. Businesses refused to invest. The 1930s’ second half proved frustrating for the country: The economy was always recovering but never quite recovered. The Dow didn’t get back to its 1929 level until the mid-’50s.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

— DRJ

83 Responses to “The Economy and Obama’s New Deal”

  1. Does anybody besides me remember a time when government encouraged people to save money, not spend it? What a bizarre concept.

    PatHMV (653160)

  2. The good news is that everyone who studied Art History or Queer Studies in college can now get a job swinging a pick for a highway construction crew. What’s that. . . they have machines that do this sort of work now?

    JVW (f93297)

  3. Fallacy in the statement that “A stimulus package doesn’t work unless people spend the money but as recently as last year, Americans saved their stimulus checks instead of spending with them”

    Unless they put the money under the mattress, money saved/invested does go into the economy almost as directly as if it were spent. When you put the money into a CD, do you think the bank sticks it in a vault or loans it out to someone else to spend?

    GB FL (9ee562)

  4. DRJ,

    Nonresidential construction is currently on course for an 8% YOY increase. It is one sector of the economy which requires absolutely no stimulus and the sector where the application of stimulus is sure to have the highest inflationary impact.

    Data to backup the assertion is found here.

    To date, the heaviest impact in layoffs appears to be among white collar workers with very marginal practical skills (information workers). While it would be amusing to watch them attempt to operate heavy machinery, I’m not sure that it would be a particularly wise move. That equipment is very expensive.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  5. GB FL,

    I would have easily agreed with you in the past but I’m not sure how freely banks are lending money now.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  6. (From The Hill)

    “First, we need a rescue plan for the middle class that
    invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provides relief to families
    that are watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear,”
    Obama said.

    Certainly sounds like CCC, CWA, and WPA to me. I wonder how many of them will be union jobs…??? Or the impact on those un-harmed small businesses? And I wonder how much of the investment will involve “no-bid” contracts…

    ChuckAtPodunkOutpost (6816b0)

  7. GB FL,

    I don’t know if a lot of stimulus checks were saved so much as they were used to pay down credit card debt (which is probably the next financial crisis that we will face as a nation). While this has some positive effects, it isn’t as helpful to the economy as purchasing material goods.

    As for me, I bought a big-screen TV. My patriotic duty, you know.

    JVW (f93297)

  8. While it would be amusing to watch them attempt to operate heavy machinery, I’m not sure that it would be a particularly wise move. That equipment is very expensive.

    Rick, combine Dear Leaders New New Deal with Al Gore’s Green Green Deal, and maybe we can shut down the heavy machinery and get people back to swinging picks on the highway.

    JVW (f93297)

  9. If Obama wants to emulated FDR, he should pay American car companies not to make cars, just like FDR paid farmers not to grow crops.

    We know how great that plan worked out.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  10. JVW,

    If he were serious about good infrastructure jobs he would green light Palin’s Pipeline. It’s all private money and ready to launch. He won’t though.

    He’ll go for the caulker and weather stripper corps. Although the phony windmill projects are simple bolt ups that require a minimum of skill they are well beyond the capability of the people to whom he wishes to give money. Besides, some actual work is involved.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  11. A stimulus package doesn’t work unless people spend the money but as recently as last year, Americans saved their stimulus checks instead of spending them. I suspect most Americans will be inclined to do the same this year.

    That is ok. Savings money is a good thing.

    Either way, money saved gets put in banks and banks find real investments that soak up labor capacity in pursuiot of tomorrow’s companies and technologies.

    Robert Rodriguez (54247e)

  12. I hope he goes after GATT and NAFTA. We need to start making things again.

    nk (95bfab)

  13. I’m so old-fashioned I’d like to see the steel industry come back, but that’s not gonna happen. The steel industry is too big a polluter for today’s liberals.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  14. We don’t need to make things here — we need to create things.

    More engineers, scientists and less trial lawyers…. this coming from a non-scientist.

    Robert Rodriguez (54247e)

  15. I think we need to do it all, but I also think we need a glut of every kind of energy. And I’m a lawyer so that makes me really out-of-step.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  16. NK,

    Well, he can certainly bring back Smoot-Hawley protectionism at any time – he has the Congress eating from his greasy and well greased palm.

    There is an alternative argument which holds that China suffering unemployment when the US economy hits a rough spot is better than fascist union thugs collecting checks for poor performance. There is also the small matter of the current demographic situation which precludes much in the way of growth in the labor force beyond 1% or so annual without a massive increase in immigration. I know that you are unaware of that situation but the BLS Employment Projections are not a particularly well guarded secret.

    I would be thrilled to see “information workers” on air wrenches. There’s a lot less potential for serious damage involved in letting a typist operate an air wrench in lieu of a Cat. Talk to laid off information workers around you and see how they feel about a job on “the line”.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  17. Even [horrors!] paying down credit card debt stimulates the economy, because the credit card companies turn right around and spend it themselves, on wages and other expenses.

    The whole key is to increase the velocity of money, how often a given dollar is spent. While savings leads to further spending, by the bank in which the money is saved, consumer spending is more immediate and direct, and the money gets moved around more quickly.

    Of course, the government likes it, because the more often a given dollar is spent, the more often it is taxed.

    The older Dana (556f76)

  18. I think we need to do it all, but I also think we need a glut of every kind of energy.

    That, a Cuervo and a little Jerry Jeff.

    steve (73d0d0)

  19. Mr Ballard wrote:

    I would be thrilled to see “information workers” on air wrenches. There’s a lot less potential for serious damage involved in letting a typist operate an air wrench in lieu of a Cat. Talk to laid off information workers around you and see how they feel about a job on “the line”.

    But, but, but, that would make them working class; surely you don’t think we can demean them in such fashion!

    The Dana who operates heavy equipment (556f76)

  20. I didn’t mean to imply that paying down debt was not a net positive on the economy, only (as you point out) that blowing it on needless luxuries like my big screen TV arguably has a more immediate and overall positive effect, for the velocity and tax reasons you outline.

    JVW (f93297)

  21. This is important, since GW Bush was ridiculed for saying in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks that American’s needed to get out and shop. Actually, it showed that he had a much more intuitive understanding of how the economy works than so many of his critics did.

    JVW (f93297)

  22. Glad you’re embracing this debate.

    However, there are several falsehoods above. And Paul Krugman is correct in declaring FDR as too conservative. Several things worked during the Great Depression especially the WPA and CCC that gave great works and employment to people unable to get a living wage from the private sector.

    e.g. in ’32, FDR attacked Hoover from the Right and even declared Hoover’s policies as too ‘socialistic’. After getting in office, FDR tried to balance the bucks in the middle of a downturn even taxing middle and lower class folks (again, an obvious non-parallel with Obama and Krugman).

    Then you have to deal with the legacy of WW2, a massive deficit-budgeted Public Works project of the first order…and John Kenneth Galbraith’s legacy (which IMHO is a success!)

    Otherwise extolling the values of Harding/Coolidge and Hoover’s Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon who’s excretable policies of economic Darwinism (let them starve!) which Hoover fortunately overrode isn’t going to give cheer to the millions of unemployed likely to be added next year.

    So far Obama seems to be leaning towards ‘liteness’ and ‘timid’ with his selection of policy wonks from the Clinton years…so what’s to worry for conservatives? Likely, we’ll be pissed at the economic conditions if little is done by Obama immediately after he attains office. The misery effect might just make Republicans viable again. Who knows?

    datadave (a7b605)

  23. I don’t know where you live but the first stimulous I got was offset by an explosion in gas prices, grocery prices, interest rates and escalating home taxes. The second check came on the heels of even nuclear gas prices, consumer prices and the failure of the US housing industry and now stock market. What stimulous? I don’t know who the previous guys who answered this question, but if the check when into the bank it was to pay a bill online.

    Banks haven’t needed 7-10% interest rates for homes since they were $15-20000. Banks are worse than in the 19th and 20th centuries. Home owners with a single home should never have to pay more than 4% and CD interest rates should never be allowed to fall below 4%. If rich folks and out of control gamblers want to speculate with gas, food, housing and stocks. Don’t let them loose on the middle and lower income folks.

    Free market doesn’t mean pyramid or ponzi schemes.

    Steve (a91729)

  24. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    So, who does BHO get to “sneak” attack us a la Imperial Japan?

    Ed (04ae8e)

  25. Paul Krugman is a good source of information in economics. He predicted 9 out of the last 3 recessions.

    Adriane (b8ecd8)

  26. “While it would be amusing to watch them attempt to operate heavy machinery, I’m not sure that it would be a particularly wise move. That equipment is very expensive.”

    Rick – You’re just not thinking of this one in the right ways. First, companies could sell tickets to onlookers interested in amusing themselves. Second, every piece of expensive heavy equipment destroyed by the white collar workers needs replacement. Think of the unanticipated demand pull right there! Third, every white collar worker who kicks the bucket in a heavy equipment mishap reduces the barrier to full and meaningful employment for everyone else in a tiny way. So, it’s actually patriotic for white collar workers to die in heavy machinery accidents. I think you should suggest that to Joe Biden and let him run with it.

    daleyrocks (47d048)

  27. Christ, who left the door open for datadave to sneak back in?

    The success of the WPA and CCC — if they were indeed successful and that is certainly arguable — will be hard to replicate in the modern era. Once upon a time, you could get adequate work in this country if you were strong enough to do a day’s labor (hence my snarky comment #2). Yes, the WPA found work for artists, writers, and other non-labor jobs, but the lasting legacy of the New Deal is in various bridges, dams, buildings, and other things that were built. No one reads the WPA’s 1935 Guide to New York except for reasons of nostalgia or research.

    If Obama wants to replicate this sort of program, it will call for massive retraining of unemployed people. There just aren’t that many blue-collar jobs to go around. What do you want to bet that this becomes a make-work program to create a whole new slew of government bureaucrat jobs for all the displaced middle-managers and MBAs from second-tier schools? Of course, the fact that most government workers join the federal employees unions and vote for (and contribute to!) Democrats won’t have any bearing on Dear Leader’s decisions, will it?

    JVW (f93297)

  28. if they hand out another stimulus check, i can tell you how we’re going to spend it.

    yup! another trip down to the local gun shop for either a weapon, or, more likely additional high capacity mags, ammo and reloading components…..

    think that’s what Juggy had in mind? %-)

    redc1c4 (27fd3e)

  29. While it would be amusing to watch them attempt to operate heavy machinery, I’m not sure that it would be a particularly wise move. That equipment is very expensive.

    Personally I always wanted to play around with the Bagger 288.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  30. Comment by nk — 11/10/2008 @ 3:06 pm

    GATT no longer exists as it was replaced by the WTO in the 90’s.

    Another Drew (d51d84)

  31. If the stimulous package is a bunch of major infrastructure projects that make sense–I can live with that. Debt to build things that make money in the long run, like highways, bridges, nuclear storage facilities, etc.

    Joe (dcebbd)

  32. Comment by datadave — 11/10/2008 @ 3:27 pm

    As I mentioned earlier (on another thread) you really need to read “The Forgotten Man“, by Amity Shlaes,
    for a non-Marxist perspective on the Great Depression, its’ causes, and its’ failed correctives.

    Another Drew (d51d84)

  33. daleyrocks,

    Operator Academy I – Scene I – Absent minded latte lapper sipping his machiato while looking at New Yorker cartoons backs a D-9 over a Starbucks.

    Definite possibilities.

    JVW,

    Take a look at that BLS report and consider that 1946 + 65 = 2011. It’s “Bye-bye Boomer” time and the 63 year olds are already starting to exit. Mix in the birth dearth from 1991 to 2003 and the only increase in the working age population for the next 11 years is going to come from immigration (and whipping the geezers back onto the line). It’s in the report.

    Obama wants paychecks for unemployables, not jobs.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  34. “Trouble is, these reforms didn’t necessarily work well when they were first tried – and some failed outright.”

    So we wont make the first mistakes. We’ll skip right ahead to WWII sized govenment spending. WOOO! Trains and broadband and infrastructure!

    imdw (bab994)

  35. PatHMV,
    Remember that the savings rate does not include retirement accounts. It’s a misleading stat.

    As for boldness, I like Laffer’s proposal: stop the TARP or whatever the heck it is and give every person a 50% tax reduction, which equals about the $700 billion. Government control always has been and will be forever a dismal failure.

    Talk about stimulus!

    Patricia (94c68d)

  36. DRJ #12,

    It is not as important that we make our own steel as it is that we 1) import high quality steel instead of Chinese pot metal and 2) we manufacture products, down to common nails, from it instead of having them manufactured overseas.

    I really do not care how many millionaires/billionaires we have. Or how many people making minimum wage we have. What will sustain America is people bringing home $20.00 per hour of work.

    nk (95bfab)

  37. “As for boldness, I like Laffer’s proposal: stop the TARP or whatever the heck it is and give every person a 50% tax reduction, which equals about the $700 billion. Government control always has been and will be forever a dismal failure.”

    Looks like laffer’s economics is limited to what can fit on a napkin.

    imdw (234ae3)

  38. “Remember that the savings rate does not include retirement accounts.”

    Technically, I believe that it does include the first $2,000 that I put in my IRA in 1978. It does not, however, include the appreciation of that $2,000 to $17,509.91 today, thereby understating pretax ‘saving’ in one sense by $15,509.91.

    I certainly agree that it’s pure hokum wrt accuracy.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  39. Comment by imdw — 11/10/2008 @ 4:40 pm

    Great, and accurate, solutions do not necessarily occupy large amounts of space.

    E=MC2!

    Accurate, and succinct.

    Another Drew (d51d84)

  40. Welcome to the end of prosperity. Hoover and FDR with their ill conceived programs took a recession and created a depression. Obama and Bush will take a recession and create a depression. It took 40 years to shake off some of Roosevelt’s dead hand of Government. How long and what war will it take to shake off Obama’s dead hand of government.

    I am moving back to Alberta. We still have a chance to keep the parasites out.

    not a yank (a47dbe)

  41. De-regulate.
    Cut taxes on upper incomes.
    Let the market work things out.
    Palin in 2012.

    Larry Reilly (d11f9a)

  42. Debt to build things that make money in the long run, like highways, bridges, nuclear storage facilities, etc.

    Yes, that’s what I was thinking as well; if the money goes into badly – needed projects (I’d include the electrical grid and the long – scheduled update of the air traffic control system as well), then it could prove to be worthwhile. If it’s just more makework stuff, then not so much.

    Dmac (e30284)

  43. “Barack Obama is preparing to tackle America’s economic problems by emulating the New Deal…and invoking the leadership of FDR.”

    So…we’re looking forward to a permanently depressed economy, Pearl Harbor, 400,000 American dead in another world war, and concentration camps for American citizens?

    Swell.

    I can hardly wait for the fireside chats.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  44. Comment by Dave Surls — 11/10/2008 @ 5:19 pm

    Dave, my local paper headlined an AP story of a President entering office with crises to deal with in the manner of Lincoln and FDR.
    My response was like yours:
    I contemplated a future of American citizens sitting in “internment camps” berift of Habeus Corpus.

    Another Drew (d51d84)

  45. “I contemplated a future of American citizens sitting in “internment camps” berift of Habeus Corpus.”

    I suppose, if the new messiah is going to emulate Roosevelt and the Dems force us all into a national health care program, that we can also contemplate Americans being used like lab rats as the Roosevelt administration did to the people who were part of the Tuskegee Syphillis Study.

    Dem PHS health care administrators: “Gee fellas, we’d love to give you the new wonder drug we’re producing, but we kind of wanted to let your disease progress, so we can observe how it kills you…for the greater good, of course. So, no penicillin for you.”

    Nice boys, those liberal Dems of the Roosevelt/Truman era. I’d just as soon have Dr. Mengele in charge of my health care as trust a Democrat, especially one who is planning on emulating Roosevelt.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  46. “So…we’re looking forward to a permanently depressed economy, Pearl Harbor, 400,000 American dead in another world war, and concentration camps for American citizens?”

    And a president in a wheelchair. riiiight.

    imdw (87fe55)

  47. You mean camps like Gitmo?

    Bobby (2e9cbd)

  48. It is still astonishing to see people extol the brilliance of FDR – seemingly ignorant of the fact that the rest of the industrialized world escaped the Depression at least 5 years before the US did. Because of FDR’s policies, the US economy was crippled and lagging the rest of the world in employment for many years.

    And the wilful blindness of the fact that FDR actually did orders of magnitude more to destroy liberty in this nation than the whackiest of the BDS sufferers in their delusions can describe of the Bush administration.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. “You mean camps like Gitmo?”

    No. For citizens. For that we have a navy brig where they’ll drive you insane.

    imdw (a52666)

  50. “And a president in a wheelchair. riiiight.”

    Having Obama ride around in a wheelchair, so he can look like the second coming of the great god Roosevelt, is a can-do, but I doubt the Dems and their new messiah can manage to make Michelle as ugly as Eleanor, so the illusion of Roosevelt reincarnated well never be totally perfect.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  51. Bobby, are you completely ignorant of the fact that the FDR administration rounded up people solely by their race?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Under the FDR administration, to be an American citizen and found on US territory working for our enemy meant you would be tried by military commission and killed by firing squad.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. SPQR,

    Don’t forget “at the behest of Earl Warren” a progressive Republican is just as bad as a progressive Democrat.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  54. “It is still astonishing to see people extol the brilliance of FDR…”

    Well, Roosevelt and his minions did finally figure out how to get the unemployment rates down: bungle us into a war with Germany, Japan and Italy, then draft 16,000,000 people into the armed forces.

    Voila…unemployment problem solved.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  55. “#

    #

    Under the FDR administration, to be an American citizen and found on US territory working for our enemy meant you would be tried by military commission and killed by firing squad.”

    Under the FDR administration, as soon as you invoke the leadership of a previous president, such as Lincoln, it meant you mean to do all the things that president did, like suppress the press and destroy Atlanta.

    imdw (acddff)

  56. imdw, I don’t try to ignore the history of Lincoln’s actions. Why do so many Democrats try to pretend that FDR was not many orders of magnitude more destructive of liberty than George W. Bush?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  57. “bungle us into a war with Germany, Japan and Italy”

    This is a new one.

    imdw (acddff)

  58. “Why do so many Democrats try to pretend that FDR was not many orders of magnitude more destructive of liberty than George W. Bush?”

    Same reason we pretend Lincoln wasn’t: that’s not what we’re talking about when we evoke their leadership.

    imdw (8098e7)

  59. You need to read more history then, imdw, as the US was not ready for war with Japan, and it was FDR’s actions that pushed Japan into confrontation.

    As for Germany and Italy, Surls is mistaken. FDR was trying to get them to declare war on us, since he was too cowardly to actually try to lead the US.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  60. DRJ, I don’t remember many people complaining about Bush’s stimulus package. But when Obama talks about doing the same thing, oh yeah, let’s demonize that. I guess we should just continue giving all the money to the wealthy because that’s working well – for the wealthy. None of us in the middle class work hard or deserve anything anyway. We’re just a bunch of filthy, lazy bums with our hands out.

    But as for our infrastructure, if we have bridges falling in and massive power outages because of an old, antiquated electric grid, it’s time to do the responsible thing and rebuild some of our infrastructure, dontcha think?

    Psyberian (37b2ae)

  61. Worse yet are the silly proposals to bail out the failed policies of automobile worker unions.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  62. “You need to read more history then, imdw, as the US was not ready for war with Japan, and it was FDR’s actions that pushed Japan into confrontation.”

    I’m familiar with these ideas. Whats new is the idea that FDR was doing this to solve the unemployment problem, or that we somehow wouldn’t have gone to war.

    But I do agree with the general idea that it was finally WWII level spending that got us out of the depression.

    imdw (8098e7)

  63. imdw, the US should have been out of the Depression many years before, but for the FDR administration’s incompetent interventions.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  64. “suppress the press”

    Surely, the libby wibbies aren’t going to complain about censoring the press after what their great god, Roosevelt, did in WWII?

    Don’t libby wibbies know that all war reporting in WWII was subject to the rules laid out by the Office of Censorship, and that the press wasn’t allowed to report anything that the Roosevelt administration didn’t want printed?

    Silly libby wibbies. You can’t do a thing one day, and then complain about it the next day.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  65. Psyberian,

    I think the Bush stimulus payments were targeted for couples making $150,000 or less. That’s sounds like it covers the middle class to me.

    As for the infrastructure, each state and community should have been providing for that on a regular basis, because that’s the job of the local governments. If they haven’t, their constituents should reconsider whether they’ve done their jobs correctly. (And if your falling bridge reference is to the Minneapolis bridge collapse, that was due to a design flaw.)

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  66. “As for Germany and Italy, Surls is mistaken. FDR was trying to get them to declare war on us, since he was too cowardly to actually try to lead the US.”

    I can assure that I’m well aware of the fact that Roosevelt and his crew were trying with all their might to provoke a confrontation with Germany, Japan and Italy.

    It worked too.

    It’s still bungling, though. Just like sticking your head is bungling, even if that’s what you meant to do.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  67. “It’s still bungling, though. Just like sticking your head is bungling, even if that’s what you meant to do.”

    I meant to say:

    It’s still bungling, though. Just like sticking your head INTO A HORNET’S NEST is bungling, even if that’s what you meant to do.”

    PIMF

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  68. Psyberian,

    Re: Antiquated electric grids.

    As you suggest, this is a common problem that, in my opinion, has resulted from one-sided deregulation that works to lower consumer prices without allowing utilities to raise prices to maintain and replace the infrastructure. That was a problem in Texas but most people realized t’s our responsibility to repair our infrastructure. Now our grid not only works well, it’s helping us transition to renewable energy.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  69. The I-35W bridge collapse was due to a design flaw:

    “Although the Board’s investigation is still on-going and no determination of probable cause has been reached, interim findings in the investigation have revealed a safety issue that warrants attention,” said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. “During the wreckage recovery, investigators discovered that gusset plates at eight different joint locations in the main center span were fractured. The Board, with assistance from the FHWA, conducted a thorough review of the design of the bridge, with an emphasis on the design of the gusset plates. This review discovered that the original design process of the I-35W bridge led to a serious error in sizing some of the gusset plates in the main truss.”

    By all means, lets rush projects through design review in order that they may be built by untrained dregs culled from prog hells. Because, as mentioned and detailed above, the nonresidential construction sector does not need any help whatsoever.

    The grid belongs to the utilities which are responsible for their maintenance and upkeep. The primary reason for the current state of the grid is the fact that utilities have to fight Green progs tooth and nail on every project proposed.

    In short, screw you, your horse and the stable hand who saddled it. You’re the problem – never the solution.

    Buy American! Toyota and Honda, that is. Drive them to Costco and Walmart and give a union member the finger when you do.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  70. imdw,
    You may be right. Let’s call in some Harvard lawyers to get us out of this fix!

    Oh, wait…

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  71. “Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?”–DRJ

    Unfortunately, yes.

    Obama and his minions sound every bit as bad as FDR, by far the worst president this country has ever seen, no matter what measure you use to gauge presidential performance.

    Unless, of course, you think it’s a good idea to do things like put tens of thousands of innocent American citizens in concentration camps, in which case, Roosevelt was a paragon, and well worthy of emulation.

    Dave Surls (ed05e6)

  72. Pretty spooky.

    Hillary channeled Eleanor, Barack dissed Nancy’s seances (which were actually Hillary’s), and now Barack is channeling Franklin.

    bobh (6c135e)

  73. _________________________________

    Since I believe an economy as large as America’s goes through natural up-and-down cycles, regardless of who’s occupying the White House — but within reason only (for instance, assuming that a president isn’t going to raise taxes by 250%, or nationalize — or Hugo-Chavez-ize entire industries, etc) — I’m not watching Obama as closely when it comes to his handling of the economic matters.

    However, when I see the lingering effects of good or bad judicial decisionmaking throughout America (and observe the antics of ambulance-chasing lawyers, who are big fans of the Democrat Party) — which can help or hurt the economic climate, from large businesses to shopkeepers around the corner — emanating from the Supreme Court on down to the lower courts, and know that Obama will be influencing the federal judiciary for the next several years with his multitude of appointments, that is what is worrying me more than anything else. That is what I’ll be keeping a close eye on.

    And the reason this is so critical?

    I’ve seen foolish or idiotic legal decisions — from the recent past, no less — handed down by judges who were appointed to the judicial system by Bill Clinton over 15 years ago. Even more telling and pathetic, is to witness through the years — and right up to the recent past — foolish decisions coming out of judges who were selected by no less than Jimmy Carter over 25 years ago.

    But getting back to economics again, if Americans want to know just how extreme and foolish (and irresponsibly leftwing) a nation’s economy can become — in terms of the laws therein — they should know the following about France. And there’s a very good possibility that Obama’s inner voice would look upon the following with the utmost sympathy.


    In France, employers may not dismiss employees without a legally valid cause. Dismissals may only come about on demonstrably and limited objective grounds which must notified to the employee inwriting. Dismissals are subject to stringent procedural statutory constraints. The dismissal procedure varies according to the size of the company and the number of dismissals planned.

    In 2005, the Program for Social Cohesion Act of 2005 was introduced, which sanctions collective dismissals which fail to comply with the strict procedural rules laid down for large-scale layoffs.

    Employment contracts may be terminated by employers on “personal grounds” – related to the employees acts (real and gross grounds, misconduct, serious misconduct) or for “economic reasons” –related to the business of the employer (in the case of adverse business developments). Employers must always state the grounds for dismissal in writing and follow a dismissal procedure set down by law.

    Mark (6364b8)

  74. But I don’t believe you complained about Bush’s stimulus package DRJ.

    In general, I agree with cutting back on spending. In my state for instance, we have new electric billboards on our expressways for providing traffic information – which are nice. But do we need them? I doubt it.

    If our bridges and other structures are supposed to be maintained at the state level, then it isn’t working for us. The levees in New Orleans should have been improved before it was too late.

    I’m not saying that making it a federal responsibility is desirable, but I believe it is necessary. Each state should pay whatever they can too – I’m not arguing against that either.

    Psyberian (37b2ae)

  75. “The levees in New Orleans should have been improved before it was too late.”

    The citizens of New Orleans reaped their reward for electing incompetent and corrupt Democrats to mismanage the actual levee maintenance contract system. “What buses?” Nagin teamed up with ‘Cold Cash’ Jefferson and drowned a city.

    Obama will try and do the same for the nation. He’s just exactly that kind of guy.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  76. Rick @67 – I thought it was the Jooooos who did that bridge. They can be pretty tricky you know.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  77. Careful, daleyrock. We’re dealing with drooling idiots here. Mention something like that and it will be incorporated by Axelturfers within 24 hours. If the jackasses don’t understand the bare minimum concerning the federal/state maintenance revenue flow and local and state oversight responsibility for maintenance contracts, I don’t see what would stop them from peddling a new ‘the Jews did it’ meme by tomorrow morning.

    After all, they do have a crack team of proctologists pulling out new “ideas” around the clock.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  78. Rick – We do have their first team mensa masters monitoring us here that’s for sure. For the progressives these days, though, blaming stuff on the Jooos is always a safe bet. I hear you. I don’t want to start any silly unfounded rumors.

    How about a pool for the date the first time Rev. Wright and Calypso Louis get invited to the White House instead?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  79. daleyrocks,

    My understanding is that they have already been assigned offices in the West Wing. Farrakhan has been named Director of the ObaPantherJugend. Apparently he has some experience with paramilitary operations.

    Rick Ballard (e3e91f)

  80. I think a pricipled argument can be made against any further stimulus checks by pointing out that gas prices have fallen so dramatically that families are getting sufficient stimulus that way.

    spongeworthy (c2e8fe)

  81. No offense was intended, Dave Surls.

    SPQR (72771e)

  82. “No offense was intended, Dave Surls.”

    None taken.

    Dave Surls (c04826)

  83. Well, there’s nothing more hopey-changey than revisiting a 76-year-old bad idea that served to prolong the Great Depression and was only redeemed by the occurance of a world war.

    Icy Truth (aedb2f)


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