September 28, 2011

Obama's Infrastructure Stimulus — designed to build masculine pride.

Here's a fascinating passage from Ron Suskind's new book "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President" (pp. 18-19)(boldface added). Obama and his advisers are plotting campaign strategy in August 2007 and the subject turned to the problem of jobs for 10 million low- to moderately skilled male workers. What "sunrise" could the government subsize and stimulate. The advisers hit on health care:
That was where the jobs would be: nurse’s aides, companions to infirm seniors, hospital orderlies. The group bandied about ideas for how to channel job-seeking men into this growth industry. A need in one area filling a need in another. Interlocking problems, interlocking solutions. The Holy Grail of systemic change.

But Obama shook his head.

“Look, these are guys,” he said. “A lot of them see health care, being nurse’s aides, as women’s work. They need to do something that fits with how they define themselves as men.” ...

As the room chewed over the non-PC phrase “women’s work,” trying to square the senator’s point with their analytical models, [Alan] Krueger—who was chief economist at the Department of Labor in the mid-1990s at the tender age of thirty-four—sat there silently, thinking that in all his years of studying men and muscle, he had never used that term. But Obama was right. Krueger wondered how his latest research on happiness and well-being might take into account what Obama had put his finger on: that work is identity, that men like to build, to have something to show for their sweat and toil.

“Infrastructure,” he blurted out. “Rebuilding infrastructure.”

Obama nodded and smiled, seeing it instantly. “Now we’re talking. . . . Okay, let’s think about how that would work as a real centerpiece.... Don’t even get me started about potholed highways and collapsing bridges,” Obama said....
Isn't it strange that collapsing bridges are exactly what Obama is back to talking about in September 2011?
And just like that, a policy to repair the nation’s infrastructure was born. The federal government, in partnership with the private sector, would call upon the underemployed men of America to rebuild the country, and in doing so restore their pride
Obama wanted to rebuild masculine pride!

But what happened? Why didn't the original stimulus, in early 2009, rebuild America and America's men? I seem to remember some pushback. There was this NYT op-ed in December 2008, by Linda Hirshman:
Mr. Obama compared his infrastructure plan to the Eisenhower-era construction of the Interstate System of highways. It brings back the Eisenhower era in a less appealing way as well: there are almost no women on this road to recovery....

The bulk of the stimulus program will provide jobs for men, because building projects generate jobs in construction, where women make up only 9 percent of the work force....

Fortunately, jobs for women can be created by concentrating on professions that build the most important infrastructure — human capital. In 2007, women were 83 percent of social workers, 94 percent of child care workers, 74 percent of education, training and library workers (including 98 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers and 92 percent of teachers’ assistants)....
And then what happened? Did Obama ever openly express his enthusiasm for masculine jobs? The terminology became "shovel-ready jobs." He couldn't say "manly jobs" or "men's work." Not only did Obama's abandon his dream of lifting up men, we didn't even get the construction work done.

And now here he is, last week, posing by a bridge that's — what? — falling down and getting accused of using the bridge as a "prop."

Oh! The masculinity!

97 comments:

Carol_Herman said...

Please remember the RULE:

Congress doles out the money!

The president, if he decided he needed a printing press in his office, would go to jail for counterfeiting. (/S)

Congress is held in low regard.

And, over at the senate ... where there's a spread of five chairs ... And, 24 democrapic seats, versus 12 republican ones ... are up for grabs ...

There's great "perception" worries.

I think the whole show is just waiting for the European theater to go and plotz.

Greece defaults. All the bond holders get shafted. And, they get pennies on the dollar.

So, what's really going is is for the European bankers to figure out a way to have a Nafi Diallo moment ... where they get satisfied for FREE! No money for her! And, none for you, either!

But this time there's real panic!

My guess? The 6 week "hedge" before the G-20 ... or some such nonsense ... is just to allow different countries to print new bills ... where each country calls a dollar by some other name. Gesundheit.

chickenlittle said...

Althouse has her dowds about masculinity.

pm317 said...

Althouse, you're late to the game. Ah the disdain, 'women's work', no stimulus for you. This was discussed on other blogs (esp. as evidence of his attitude towards women) at least a week or so ago.

Bruce Hayden said...

Why didn't it work?

A lot of reasons that have been hashed out here before. Keynesian economics is a massive fail, and always has been - though it has gotten far worse through time.

As the President discovered so much later, after blowing most of a trillion dollars on his "stimulus" bill, there is no such thing as a "shovel ready" project. There probably never could be, but it is far, far, worse now because of federal laws and regulations. Davis-Bacon massively drives up the costs. Federal procurement regulations require competitive bidding, etc. Then, you have to worry about the snail darters, etc.

Then you have to combine this with the crony capitalism/pay-to-play mentality that the Obama Administration seems so fond of. Infrastructure money was not spent, and rarely is spent, where it is needed, but rather, where those with the best political connections can divert it to (which is why Harry Reid family got an unneeded bridge built across the Colorado to his family's land around Laughlin). So, we have a near infinite need for infrastructure spending, because so little of the money goes where it is needed.

Salamandyr said...

The problem with the President's "vision" (if it's not all just after the fact image rebuilding) is that it runs smack up against all of the other interest groups that make up the Democratic party. Feminists want government attention paid (exclusively) to women. Environmentalists want to block any and all further development. Labor Unions want to make sure that anyone not in their union is shut out of the pipeline. All of those groups are invested in taking as much as they can from the moderately skilled, underemployed men that the President supposedly wanted to help. By the time everyone in the line had gotten their share, their wasn't a whole lot left over to do the actual work.

Chip S. said...

The unemployment rate among men always goes up by more than among women in the recessions since 1982, but this time the gap was much bigger.

So I'd say Obama was fully justified in worrying about this issue. Unless you think it's more important to correct men's antisocial attitudes through extended joblessness.

Richard Dolan said...

Suskind's narrative is too neat and tidy, too much like a closing argument. Before rendering a verdict, it's always best to hear the other side's closing too.

glenn said...

Ahhhh ... The perils of identity politics. Pander to group A, group B complains. Pander to group B and group X complains. Try tp pander to all of them and you run out of other peoples money.

pm317 said...

Politicians are liars and Obama is a master. You have to read between lines to see what he is made of and how he will operate. These little tidbits give a window into a seriously deficient and rather pedestrian character for the presidency of the United States. In that sense parts of Suskind's book should actually be very damaging to this Obama character. I am amazed everyday that Obama is the best you guys could do with all the advantages you have in this world. Blame it on democracy, right?! But this time, you guys have turned the phrase 'anybody can rise to presidency of the US' on its head.

alan markus said...

Man, back in the day a politician would have been crucified for that kind of thinking, at least a Republican.

Takes me back to this YouTube posted here:
Anti-Scott Walker Bully with a Bullhorn (Male Nurse)

Bruce Hayden said...

So I'd say Obama was fully justified in worrying about this issue.

What this whole thing screams out to me is that Obama, and his cronies, were extraordinarily unprepared for the jobs they won in the 2008 election. They had no clue what they were doing, and, as a result, we have $4 Trillion in new debt, a downgraded credit rating, massive deficits as far as we can see, and record unemployment.

And, yes, they engaged in wishful thinking economics. They wished for me to be employed, so they listened to the academic "economists" who told them that any government spending would be greatly enhanced by the magical Keynesian multiplier. It is this magical thinking that I think most bothers me. As long as their hearts are pure, it was ok to blow all that money, because, somehow, magically, it would all work out just fine in the end.

Bruce Hayden said...

Typo in my last post:

They wished for men to be employed, so they listened to the academic "economists" who told them that any government spending would be greatly enhanced by the magical Keynesian multiplier.

lemondog said...

re: shovel-ready, seems to have been channeling FDR and the Great Depression when most men of the time, rather than being white collar drudges, were experienced in one form or another of manual labor. Today while the shovels may be ready, which probably they were not, the majority population of working males were definitely not ready and skilled in operating backhoes or driving a bull dozers.

bagoh20 said...

Oh the machinations needed to avoid accepting, as Gordon Gecko once said, "Greed is good." Let Americans pursue their own ideas without impediment by the government, and the rest will not be necessary. And the really good part is: IT WILL WORK. Now that's a novel criteria now days.

Barry Dauphin said...

Well, the process is interesting. First let's find a way to spend money as a self esteem exercise for an aggrieved group. Then let's find a project that can accomplish that. As opposed to the idea that there is a problem (state of infrastructure) for which Dems believe there is a role for government (pay for the fixes). It seems as if failure was built into the effort from the point of conception, since self esteem propping is a dubious role for government and could be at cross purposes with fixing infrastructure.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

For anyone who thinks that growing up without your father around is no big deal, this is what it leads to.

pm317 said...

Chip S. said...
-------------

I don't think it is about helping women more than men that is an issue for him with the unemployment situation. It is more about him saying men won't do 'women's work' like healthcare nurse and he should provide more non-girly options to men.

Pastafarian said...

If only there were some automatic mechanism, some unseen hand, that could efficiently and equitably distribute work to workers, to meet needs.

Just for the sake of discussion, we'll refer to this mythical governing automaton "the market."

Oh well, good thing we have puppet masters like Obama, Geithner, et al back there pulling the strings, deciding what millions of people's jobs will be for the next several years.

Lucius said...

If Obama's mind can actually think and speak in these categories-- out of public view, of course-- then that makes his failures as President more inexplicable.

Of course the NYT has no shame over the giant female edge in social work. Not that it should-- what kind of human being wants to do social work?

pm317 said...

Barry Dauphin said...
----------

You're absolutely right. There are all kinds 'appearance/marketing/PR' related considerations but nothing toward real problem solving.

Revenant said...

It is an admirable goal, really. But there are too many government obstacles to quickly creating those sorts of jobs, especially at the government level.

traditionalguy said...

Intentional Waste is a real harm done to the arrogant World Hegemon.

Obama has his principles, guys.

A benefit to the USA's future is off the table when it is doable. When it has become too late to come up with the money it is suddenly doable...provided that a triple tax Increase is thrown in to divide the GOP House.

Demolition by Barack. That is a real socialist man's work.

ricpic said...

What's manly about alerting us that bridges are about to fall down all over America and then standing back ala Mussolini with his chin in the air and doing nothing about his own Obama manufactured to scare the pants off us infrastructure crisis? At least Mussolini made the trains run on time over bridges that held. Obama's not manly, he's a vicious prick.

bagoh20 said...

The work programs of the New Deal era got a lot done, but what we have done to our country and it's work force since then makes that entirely unrepeatable. Those men were willing to take any job at any pay, with no benefits, no OSHA, no EEOC, no EPA, no ridiculous union rules, no ADA, and on and on. And the men then knew how to do things, they were raised by mothers and fathers - not by the state.

The Empire State Building was built in less than a year and a half and was the tallest in the world for 41 years. Today, we couldn't even do the paperwork in the time or money it took for the entire project. This is our problem more than anything else. Nothing can be done at worthwhile time or cost.

Big Mike said...

And now here he is, last week, posing by a bridge that's — what? — falling down and getting accused of using the bridge as a "prop."

Ah, but is it falling down? Or is its problem that it doesn't carry the current traffic load? If the bridge is still sound, as I understand it is, then the solution is to build a second, parallel bridge to split the load.

The other problem, of course, is that under Obama's own rules the bridge he posed on will not be eligible for funds under son-of-stimulus. So, yes, Professor, it's a prop. No need for quotes.

Chip S. said...

It is more about him saying men won't do 'women's work' like healthcare nurse and he should provide more non-girly options to men.

I understand this. That's what I was referring to when I wrote, "So I'd say Obama was fully justified in worrying about this issue. Unless you think it's more important to correct men's antisocial attitudes through extended joblessness."

Why don't women understand men???

Dust Bunny Queen said...

“Infrastructure,” he blurted out. “Rebuilding infrastructure.”

Once I built a railroad

Trooper York said...

They did some infrastructure work on my block about three weeks ago. They dug up the sewer in the middle of the block to fix some shit...I think it was the gas company. Anyway they put this these two huge metal plates over the hole. And everytime a car rolls over it going down the block they rattle and bang and it sounds like really really loud thunder. It will wake right out of a sound sleep. It sucks to hear it all day long but it really sucks when some drunk fuck is speeding down the block at three in the morning and it sounds like God is bowling.

Fuck the infrasturcture.

ndspinelli said...

My future son-in-law, who is a helluva of a basball player and craps player, just passed his RN boards.

I assume our enlightened prez also considers cooking "womens work."

Trooper York said...

Yesterday we had to go to Long Island and we went to take the railroad. So we jump in a cab to go to the Station on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and F4th Avenue. I always tell the cabbie to go to Atlantic and 4th Ave as they always know where that is and don't give me any shit because if you tell them Flatbush Avenue they get all huffy. Usually when we get there I tell them to go one more block to Flatbush. As we got there the guy goes "Where do you want me to turn?" You see they are doing some gas work there too and they closed off the short block. And diverting all the traffic causing a massive tie up with blaring horns and cursing drivers who don't know where to go.

Fuck the infrastructure.

Baron Zemo said...

My dear lady, you must realize that the President thinks that womens work is collecting welfare.

bagoh20 said...

This is what I hate about people thinking we need higher taxes. Is this the best group of people you can think of to give your money too, really?

The freaking "Patriotic Millionaires" that want their taxes raised are people who don't know shit about spending money. You got an extra million dollars you don't need, and you want to give it to congress to spend? Are you a complete idiot. Use it to burn in the fireplace if you are too stupid or lazy to find a charity or worthwhile business to invest in.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Absent political influence, you need in order to buils a bridge:

A traffic study showing the need for one.

A location study determining the best place to build it.

An environmental assessment study.

Overcome local opposition (not in my backyard).

Obtain financing.

Select design engineer.

Engineer designs project.

Advertise for bids and select contractor.

Build the damn thing.


The worst thing about Democrats is that they do not distinguish between productive and unproductive work. To them a job is a job is a job, and a job preventing anything from getting built is just as valuable as one involved in getting it built.
I think there is some sort of total failure to understand how money works.

TosaGuy said...

"That was where the jobs would be: nurse’s aides, companions to infirm seniors, hospital orderlies. The group bandied about ideas for how to channel job-seeking men into this growth industry."

Then Obama killed any growth that industry may have had. The first to go in any hospital system under Obamacare will be any of those mentioned above. It certainly won't be the politically connected $250K "diversity outreach coordinators".

Paddy O said...

The trouble with a lot of marxist leaning politicians is that much of the literature comes from the early to mid 20th century.

The trouble with so much of the infrastructure funding is that it goes against Obama's own rhetoric about jobs American's won't do.

Men really don't want to sweat anymore, not for the salary of most manual labor jobs.

It's not like being a CEO or stock broker or programmer or engineer involves significantly more manual labor than a nurse's aide. I'd say a nurse's aide involves a lot more physical action than most jobs these days.

Obama is intellectually in a very, very different era, which is why his policies don't resonate like he assumes they would.

michaele said...

You know, all this blather about needing stimulus funding to build or rebuild bridges and roadways really ticks me off. Where the hell does all the money collected from the state and federal fuel taxes go? Those taxes are actually designated for transportation projects and they add up to a hell of a lot of money. Plus, back in 2005 Congress passed a $300 million dollar highway spending bill. We taxpayers are such saps.

PaulV said...

It is a mancession, not just a recession. Men suffer the most.
Megaphone guy is a noise polluter and seems proud of it.

Dustin said...

Shovel ready is not a term of endearment. It's a term of contempt for those who 'need' the charity of crappy work from government.

Anything Bush did with a hint of masculinity was mocked. His brush clearing, for example, seems like something one might do to unwind if they love their property. But it was seen as something truly alien.

The idea here is that metrosexuals are normal, and men are not. Skinny jeans and waygu steak vs someone who actually enjoys a ranch and a truck.

Hardly just the democrats have this problem. I think this country has a really strange way of seeing men and 'authentic manhood'. An awful lot of people think manhood means putting your wishes aside and doing what women want. It's cliche. And a lot of people sneer at the idea of boys and men having problems in feminine environments, like a typical hyper planned out modern public school system, processing people instead of challenging and evaluating them for proper discrimination on their merits.

Carol said...

I think it's great that he had that thought and blurted it out in such un PC language. The more anecdotes like this I hear, the more I like him.

Too bad he's so weak and inexperienced that the same old lib establishment has to run things for him.

TosaGuy said...

The infrastructure stimulus didn't actually build anything. Historic preservationists and architectural historians still study the stuff built by the New Deal since it impacted the built enviroment of almost every town in America. There will be no studies fifty years from now of the Great Projects of the Stimulus.

Christopher said...

I'd be curious how the education services breakdown by gender and subject.

If we go by the classic "reading, writing, and arithmetic" method of determining the most important subjects then it's likely that even that is dominated by men at the higher levels.

I mean looking back on my entire public school experience once we started having classes specifically geared toward certain subjects, rather than just one teacher covering everything, math and science were generally dominated by the men.

Hell, the higher ranked English courses were evenly split at my school as well.

Peano said...

Isn't it strange that collapsing bridges are exactly what Obama is back to talking about in September 2011?

No. He's stuck on stupid.

BarryD said...

Great Progressive Woodrow Wilson had a very effective way to build masculine pride among the young and lower-income. And over 117,000 of the men were rendered shovel-ready in just over a year, plus more than 200,000 wounded, many maimed for life, thus creating jobs in the health care sector.

Wilson was quite good at making "complainers" shut up about it, too.

I'm glad the Obama is as ineffectual as he is, because Wilson got things done...

DADvocate said...

Yesterday was mood day, today is gender day.

Nice to know Obama's basing spending trillions of dollars on steriotypes of masculinity (what would he know about masculinity?) instead of sound reeasoning and facts. My daughter's current boyfriend and most recent past boyfriend plan on going being a nurse anesthesiologist and occupational therapist respectively.

These damn liberals need to get their heads out of their asses and realize it's the 21st century.

Hagar said...

The last two bridges we got built here in River City took 30-40 years to get under construction, they are both two lanes short of what they should have been built for, and we are still 12 traffic lanes short of what the Transportation Engineers in 1980said we would need across the river by 2010, but no one has the stomach to start even arguing for more bridges again, since the wounds and acrimony from the last two are still fresh in living peoples' minds.

Carol_Herman said...

Nah.

The horror of politics, today, is that in a 24/7 environment, the White House has to provide "graphics."

Ronald Reagan knew, instinctively, how to do this. But he had so many years as an actor in Hollywood; he was prepared to let it look like other people deserved the credit.

That's how he lived with the "super-stars." That's how he lived with the hollywood moguls.

That's how he lived with Hedda Hopper, and all the other gossip queens. (He learned they were all gonna pay their mortgages sucking his blood. And, making fun of him backstage.)

Obama, on the other hand has had to learn to do this "dog trick" on his own. And, at top speed.

He suffered his biggest mistakes EARLY.

Now? Most of the workers who have shitty jobs ... And, most of the unemployed ... Happen to blame the republicans for the mess we are in.

And, the worst thing that can actually happen to a politician is "SWELL TIMES." Up goes the balloon. The bubble will eventually burst ... But in the meantime ... the "drug" administered to the people ... makes them REBEL!

It's an odd quirk! Look at history! In the pits ... there are no rebellions. Things get better, and all hell breaks loose.

Then we go back to bad times.

Obama's being hit with complaints about his race. (Stupid to do this!) Then, he's being hit with the financial crisis that is GLOBAL.

And, he's learned to "stay the course." It looks like dithering ... but basically ... others at the table up their ante.

And, the GOP can't deflect it's religious lunatics from going around and doing their "litmus tests."

Do you know how many names we've seen for this? Born-again. Moral Majority. Bork. A Thousand Points of Light. Leave no child's ass behind. Oh, and Stop Immigration, Stop It, Now.

Gesundheit.

edutcher said...

Too cute.

GodZero, the Ultimate Metrosexual, is a macho man wannabe and an out-of-the-closet sexist.

Something he picked up from all that time he spent with Dad, no doubt.

As I said, this time next year, he'll be lucky if the Democrats vote for him.

PS FWIW, The Blonde never thought much of male nurses. They were handy when it came time to pick up a bariatric patient, but she always thought them a bit lazy otherwise.

ndspinelli said...

Barry D, Great point about Woodrow Wilson. However, there are more similarities. I just read a fascinating book about the great 1918 flu pandemic[that one was real!]. Wilson ignored the pandemic and obsessed on the war.

Trooper, you have the misfortune of living in a blue state. Since the stimulus I have had occassion to drive coast to coast. Blue states are flush up w/ stimulus money, road projects from border to border. Red states..virtually nothing. Like McCain said, good ole Chicago patronage.

RKearns said...

A song came to me:

We're men, we're men in tights.
We roam around the forest looking for fights.
We're men, we're men in tights.
We rob from the rich and give to the poor, that's right!
We may look like sissies, but watch what you say or else we'll put out your lights!
We're men, we're men in tights,
Always on guard defending the people's rights.

PatCA said...

The most shocking part of the article is that we taxpayers pay some guy to analyze how men think of themselves and their masculinity!

WASTE.

Rialby said...

Well at least he didn't propose that all the unemployed guys meet him in the back of a limo with a crack pipe.

By the way, how is it that last week is the first time I'd ever heard the Obama-propositioned-a-dude-for-a-cocaine-fueled-oral-session story? I only happened upon it because of a link from Insty.

Christy said...

What Bruce Hayden and others said about regulations. But Hey! Government must be able to give a bye on all those regs. After all, Solyndra built a new fabrication facility, concept to operational, in less than two years.

Does Maddow know that dam could not be built in today's regulatory environment?

Just out of curiosity, have any new transmission lines gone up in your neck of the woods in the last dozen or so years?

In the real world, men and women are drawn to different careers. Just ask Larry Summers. Let us deal with facts about career paths, not the situations as we wish they existed. And I speak as a woman engineer who loves building facilities, equipment, systems....

garage mahal said...

There will be no studies fifty years from now of the Great Projects of the Stimulus.

Because little of the stimulus was actually spent on building projects. 100 billion on infastructure, for instance. And much of it was upgrading and improving existing developments.

Fred4Pres said...

If any women suggested it first...

They may have but no one paid attention.

Real American said...

just like Obama has to pretend to know about creating jobs, he has to pretend to know about masculinity.

Tank said...

A perfect example of how economic decisions become political when made by gov't officials.

Why would we think this will work out well?

It NEVER has.

Bruce Hayden said...

Because little of the stimulus was actually spent on building projects. 100 billion on infastructure, for instance. And much of it was upgrading and improving existing developments.

Do the signs proclaiming the source of the funding count?

Lyle said...

If it's a bad thing for society that men are out of work than yes companies and the government should discriminate and hire more men than women.

Rialby said...

Hey, Garage - I assume you have assumed the guise of Robert La Follette for his anti-war views?

Roger Sweeny said...

If he had said, "Yes, most of these jobs will be filled by men. Since men have lost many more jobs than women in this recession, they have to gain many more jobs than women," maybe he would have gotten some of that infrastructure work. But to say anything like this would have required courage on his part--and my biggest disappointment in Obama is that he seems to have very little courage.

He is willing to insult his enemies--that's easy--but he is not willing to stand up to his friends.

traditionalguy said...

Structure is hard stuff that goes infra the soft parts.

But we bought our new Oakland Bay Bridge from China prefabricated.


The Chinese are really cheap men...they have no union bosses and no army of EPA rats holding them back.

The Chinese saved us about half what the Solyndra Faked Business cost us.

MadisonMan said...

I just read a fascinating book about the great 1918 flu pandemic[that one was real!]. Wilson ignored the pandemic and obsessed on the war.

What could have been done -- back then -- to prevent, or even mitigate, the pandemic? After all, not long after this, the President Coolidge's son died of blood poisoning brought on by an infected blister. Modern medicine was decades away. The book might be fascinating (what's the title?) but if it's written from a modern viewpoint....

My Dad's uncle was a Doctor in Milwaukee, and the uncle's daughter -- Dad's cousin -- is 99 and clearly recalls that pandemic and what Doctors did for it. Her Dad gave the sick whiskey.

TosaGuy said...

GM said: "Because little of the stimulus was actually spent on building projects. 100 billion on infastructure, for instance. And much of it was upgrading and improving existing developments."

Thanks for making my point. We spent money to fix stuff that was going to get fixed anyway.

DADvocate said...

100 billion on infastructure, for instance. And much of it was upgrading and improving existing developments.

And, may prove to be too little too late. The I-64 bridge in Louisville/Indiana is CLOSED due to a crack in a steel beam. The bridge Obama used as a backdrop in Cincinnati is terribly outdated. This is the story all over the country, but Omama's doing little except bailing out auto unions and financial institutions.

Bruce Hayden said...

Thanks for making my point. We spent money to fix stuff that was going to get fixed anyway.

Not so sure about that - much of the money was spent politically, with little, if any, tie to where it was really needed.

And, that is one of the big problems with the crony capital/socialist fascist type of economy - money is a good part spent based on political connections and not based on need. (I threw in "fascist" there because fascism was really the forerunner of the type of socialism that this President and the Democrats seem to be pursuing).

Maguro said...

Not only did Obama's abandon his dream of lifting up men, we didn't even get the construction work done.

Well, yeah, nothing got done because Obama and his Harvard-educated advisers understand nothing about modern construction and infrastructure work.

What you had was whole bunch of guys who were laid off from the housing industry collapse - carpenters, roofers, drywallers, etc. - and Obama's brilliant idea was to put them to work repairing bridges and building highways. Except that a guy with experience hanging drywall in McMansions isn't qualified to do structural welding repairs on bridges or grading out highway overpasses or whatever. There wasn't (and isn't) some kind of Marxian "Reserve Army of the Unemployed" with the requisite skills to do ambitious infrastructure projects standing around in the local bread line.

That's why the Dems' "Let's go spend a crapload of money on infrastructure" canard is so lame - we don't have the spare human and capital resources required to effectively double our infrastructure spending spending even if we wanted to. To pretend otherwise is either stupid or disingenuous.

MikeR said...

Fiction. The book is fiction. Don't waste your time.
http://keithhennessey.com/2011/09/23/a-past-suskind-error/

Fred4Pres said...

You live in a rat hole Trooper. That is why my family picked up and moved west...to Jersey.

Okay, not that far west.

Bruce Hayden said...

To pretend otherwise is either stupid or disingenuous.

I don't know where some of Obama's advisors would fit, but I think that his problem was naivety, which is closer to "stupid" than "disingenuous".

Kind of reminds me of Rummy's known unknowns, etc. Which is why Rumsfeld is going to go down in history as much smarter than Obama.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

The 1918 through 1920 influenza epidemic called the Spanish flu was unstoppable, and without antibiotics to cure the pneumonia, the ones who caught it died.

Today we have a pneumonia vaccine available.

I hope that evil Rick Perry is not making it a required shot just to save lives so people can have evil sex. That's not the American way!

My Grandfather, George Washington Hazel, on Mother's side, died from it in Philadelphia during winter she was born, in 1920.

Henry said...

100 billion on infastructure, for instance. And much of it was upgrading and improving existing developments.

That was going to be the status quo, no matter what. The Interstates are already built.

Maybe Obama, or his experts, should have noticed that small point.

AJ Lynch said...

Owning a pickup truck is the starting point for a young go-getter who is not afraid to use his hands and his back to make a living. We could use more pickup truck owners in poor neighborhoods. Obama would not understand what I just said.

Canuck said...

One of the classic blunders:

Austerity is not expansionary in a depression.

Also: never get involved in a land war in Asia and never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

edutcher said...

ndspinelli said...

Barry D, Great point about Woodrow Wilson. However, there are more similarities. I just read a fascinating book about the great 1918 flu pandemic[that one was real!]. Wilson ignored the pandemic and obsessed on the war.

Good point. People forget we went to war over the Zimmermann Telegram and not the Lusitania.

Woody was a very scary guy, unreconstructed Confederate that he was, and, in many ways (Godwin alert), was a junior league Lenin or Hitler, to the degree he had Americans spied on.

The stroke he had is proof God loves America - or at least He did.

Oligonicella said...

Sorry, I don't buy this. Everyone was oblivious to men's unemployment plight except Obama. Bull. This smells fabricated.

virgil xenophon said...

Why is anyone surprised that the vast majority of the "stimulus" money went to work sectors dominated by women? That's simply rewarding friends. Overwhelmingly white "Manly Men" sure as hell didn't vote for him in large numbers, but women sure did. Reward friends and punish enemies. Why, (in Obama-World) give money to people who voted against you and will do it again at the earliest opportunity. The Ship of State can founder all it wants. Obama calculates he'll be long gone and on the links w. a pension for life and all sorts of the super-rich ready to absolve their sins by throwing money at him for a chance to solidify their PC bona fides before the ship hits bottom. And if it should happen to hit unexpected rocky shoals while he's still in office? At least he's safely up in the Crows Nest drinking champaigne and eating caviar served up by WH Chefs while the people in steerage slowly drown. No Drama Obama indeed..

Oligonicella said...

I'm not buying it. Obama was the only one to think this in the room? Bull. Sounds fabricated.

Oligonicella said...

Sorry, test.

ndspinelli said...

All you flu experts need to read about how Wilson ignored some basic advice that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. First and foremost, was to treat it like a pandemic..inform people and make quarantine mandatory. People were scared shitless and Wilson IGNORED it and just focused on the war. When his soldiers couldn't fight or even be shipped to Europe because they infected each other during transport was when Wilson finally came on board, but it had mostly run its course by then. We didn't treat Aids like the epidemic it was for pc reasons. We didn't treat that flu for political reasons.

So..if you want to educate yourselves..not just have a sharing about relatives who died, I would suggest: The Great Influenza by John Barry. Click on Amazon and help the professor while you learn. It will give you some insights why public health people overreact to new flu strains. In our current culture, w/ all our mobility, a killer flu will be much more distrasous, even w/ advanced medicine.

yashu said...

Well, the process is interesting. First let's find a way to spend money as a self esteem exercise for an aggrieved group. Then let's find a project that can accomplish that. As opposed to the idea that there is a problem (state of infrastructure) for which Dems believe there is a role for government (pay for the fixes).

I wonder what kind of bull session led to the brilliant idea that one of NASA's central planks henceforth is to boost Muslim cultural self-esteem.

Scott M said...

I wonder what kind of bull session led to the brilliant idea that one of NASA's central planks henceforth is to boost Muslim cultural self-esteem.

Probably the same one led by the same person that insisted that corpsman is an odd thing to call a medic when he's supposed to be working people that are still alive.

T J Sawyer said...

"... jobs for 10 million low- to moderately skilled male workers"

The problem reflects the Obama team's lack of understanding of the private sector!

Infrastructure construction jobs are UNION jobs. Thank gov't regulations like Davis-Bacon for that.

Construction unions don't have many minorities and low-skilled workers. There are tests and training programs to become a member.

Construction unions don't bring people in off the street. Can you say seniority?

Anyone in the room with real world experience would have spoken up and explained this to Obama.

Then, if someone had said, "let's build the bridges with members of the SEIU," they would have had a program!

lemondog said...

To pretend otherwise is either stupid or disingenuous.

I don't know where some of Obama's advisors would fit, but I think that his problem was naivety, which is closer to "stupid" than "disingenuous".


Can you say 'academics'

I read that FDR started his administration loaded with a bunch of academics but as the depression continued and deepened he dumped them in favor of **gasp** businessmen.... **hisss**

Roger J. said...

Trad guy--a small nitpik on your spanish flu post--its a virus and only responds to antivirals (eg tamiflu) which were not available then. Of course you were correct with respect to antibiotics--also not available then.

Michael said...

Trooper: My son calls those iron slabs in the street "frying pans." They get awfully hot here in the summer. They are a little better in the last two years about fixing the problems under the frying pans than they were. For a few years it appeared as though they were simply going to pave the streets with them. Can it be that they are cheaper than asphalt and labor?

Loud is right. Especially when you have a lot of traffic pounding them. I like it when they put them in at an angle so as to ensure punctures by hitting the sharp edge. And people wonder why we drive SUVs!! It is like Zaire down here.

America's Politico said...

What does this show?

It demonstrates, quiet effectively, that our POTUS Obama has excellent foresight. He is the best, the greatest.

Can you imagine any POTUS wannabe (like Perry) having such insights years before?

No, way, the re-election of the greatest one is a foot!

NB: Why the GOP is even in the picture of the campaign is anyone guess? Withdraw. Now.

Jose_K said...

America´s infraestructure needs to be fixed, so because women dont like construction work bridges must go falling down, falling down. Perfect

Synova said...

"...jobs for women can be created by concentrating on professions that build the most important infrastructure — human capital."

I created four units of human capital.

;-P

Synova said...

Seriously, most important? If women didn't push babies through a birth canal we wouldn't have humans at all, but I know that's not what the NYT writer person meant.

"Fortunately, jobs for women can be created by concentrating on professions that build the most important infrastructure — human capital. In 2007, women were 83 percent of social workers, 94 percent of child care workers, 74 percent of education, training and library workers (including 98 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers and 92 percent of teachers’ assistants)."

Are these things *most important* when we're discussing the economy? This "human capital?" Are social workers among the MOST IMPORTANT contributors to the economy, building the MOST IMPORTANT infrastructure?

Or is this just another case where the thing that women do must be seen to have higher status, be better, be more positive, building, nurturing, than what men do?

Nothing at all wrong with what Obama said.

The only thing wrong with what Krueger said was "men like to build, to have something to show for their sweat and toil" as if this was unique to men. It's unique to humans. Both men and women are often trapped in tasks that have no finish line and nothing to show, but these tasks need to be done so we do them anyway.

Hagar said...

and the Interstate System is not "finished." It will still take an estimated 44 billion dollars to complete it.

Dan said...

I have been a nurse's aide for about 20 years, and teach the severely disabled where I need my nursing aide skills, I am very offended by what Obama and company said: http://lasvegasbadger.blogspot.com/2011/09/obama-says-i-am-not-man.html
And yet Obama runs around riding girl bike bicycles and he considers himself manly?

Cindy Martin said...

800 billion stimulus and only 6% went for infrastructure spending.

Carnifex said...

As a guy who has been in the construction business for thirty years let me explain some things. We who build your houses, roads bridges, etc. are not as stupid as Hollywood would leave you to believe. You better hope so!

It is very cool to take your daughter or grandson somewhere and say "See that. I built it"

The reason I haven't gotten a pay raise in 20, yes 20 years is because illegals who are younger, and work cheaper depress my wages.

The R's and the D's pander to Latinos, the largest segment of illegals, so I blame them both equally.

I don't blame the Latinos, or the guys hiring them. That's just economics.

The infrastructure of the country is declining. It has to. As soon as the work is done the degradation starts. We should CONSTANTLY be building or repairing our infrastructure.

If the administration wants "shovel ready jobs" then use the shovels on the mountain of paperwork required to replace even a light bulb in this country.

I like clean air, and water too but they have gone too far. CO2 is not a pollutant. Neither is hay.

I have a cdl a license. I can legally haul a semi-trailer full of cans of insecticide, but because it is not haz-mat rated I can't haul a tanker of insecticide.

In summation, get the lawyers outta our way and we could do some things.

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