One of the Council's recommendations to President Obama was to streamline the federal permit process for construction and infrastructure projects. It was explained to Obama that the permitting process can delay projects for "months to years ... and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned ... I'm sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act your staff briefed you on many of these challenges." At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, "Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected." The Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter.
The Obama administration promised the Recovery Act ("the stimulus") would prevent the jobless rate from going over 8%. It now stands at 9.1%.
Also, from USA Today:
While meeting with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council today in Durham, N.C., President Obama cracked wise about one of his administration's early catchphrases.
Remember "shovel-ready projects."
Those were construction projects in the 2009 stimulus bill that were supposed to get moving right away -- but jobs council members told Obama today that some got held up because of elaborate government regulations and permitting procedures.
"Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected," Obama said.
In both the jobs council meeting and in his speech later to employees at a Durham lighting company, Obama said regulatory change is a major part of his new jobs push.
"How do we deal with making sure our regulations make sense, so that we start eliminating ones that don't work, aren't making consumers better off or aren't improving our quality of life?" Obama told the employees.
Oh, you mean increasing the reach of organizations like the EPA to the point where they bankrupt energy companies with coal fire plants? Like you are doing to Ohio companies, Mr. President? See related WMD post here.
Well, Speaker of the House John Boehner's office did not think Obama's little joke was funny:
Republicans said Obama's "shovel-ready" comment is more proof of the shortcomings on his economic policies.
"He's a couple of years behind the rest of America," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "But it's refreshing that the president himself is now acknowledging the failure of his stimulus program."