US Can't Build Things Anymore

Don't blame conservatives for bureaucratic nightmare, writes Jonah Goldberg
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2010 12:25 PM CDT
US Can't Build Things Anymore
We've been working to rebuild Ground Zero into what Goldberg calls "some kind of remorse theme park" for a decade.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

It took just 410 days to build the Empire State Building, and a mere two years to build the Pentagon. “These days it takes longer to build an overpass,” observes Jonah Goldberg of the LA Times. “This country can’t build stuff the way it used to.” Just look at the decade-long attempt “to rebuild the World Trade Center as some kind of remorse theme park,” or the 20-year debacle of Boston’s “Big Dig.” Even Barack Obama recently admitted (in this interview) that there’s “no such thing as shovel-ready jobs.”

Liberals love to blame conservatives for this kind of stuff, but “the simple reality is that Uncle Sam’s arteries are hardened.” Years of regulations (not all of them bad) and an ossified bureaucracy have made these projects impractical. The right generally opposes them not out of “anti-government ideological dogmatism,” but out of pragmatism. “The white elephants are just too expensive to build, and they often seem to be aimed at disguising wealth distribution, either to favored unions or to favored donors. There are projects perfectly ready for the shovels. It's the bureaucrats, activists, and politicians who aren't ready to hand them out.” (Read more infrastructure stories.)

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