When you are dealing with a stimulus of this size, there are going to be wasteful expenditures and boondoggles. There’s no way anyone can spend $800 to $900 billion quickly without waste and boondoggles. It comes with the Keynesian territory. This is an emergency; the normal rules do not apply.
From the Newsweek cover story, “Bush’s $87 Billion Mess“, November 3, 2003:
For Bush, the political challenges are growing just as rapidly. Having made one of the most fateful decisions in the modern presidency — to try to remake the Middle East, starting with Iraq — he has no choice but to press ahead with his request for the $87 billion, even if it is unpopular, reports Chief Political Correspondent Howard Fineman.
Six months ago, the Bush administration decided to cut corners on normal bidding procedures and hand over large postwar reconstruction contracts to traditional defense contractors on a limited-bid or no-bid basis. It bypassed the Iraqis and didn’t worry terribly much about accountability to Congress. The plan was for a “blitzkrieg” reconstruction. But by sacrificing accountability for speed, America is not achieving either very well right now report Correspondent-at-Large Rod Nordland and Senior Editor Michael Hirsh.
So we need strict oversight and a plodding pace in a war zone where people are dying every hour, but we need to throw accountability and thoughtfulness overboard when dealing with a program that represents just an acceleration of run-of-the-mill government spending?
Wars are just one wasteful, stupid, clusterf*ck after another and not even the strongest proponent of any particular war will tell you any different. Do we want to make this the standard for our day-to-day government spending?