In the movie True Grit, U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross, are no-nonsense, fearless, tough as nails characters adverse to sugar-coating problems, with a single-minded determination to get the job done. Rooster and Mattie exemplify an American virtue of “true grit”. On the other hand, Obama, in his recent State of the Union address, showed nothing but gloss.
Americans have always admired grit. Our nation, formed from audacious, ambitious adventurers and intellectuals, would not have survived without the “true grit” of generations of Americans willing to fearlessly fight foes, endure hardships, and bulldoze their way to a better life.
Americans expected the president to deliver the bad news about the economy, job creation and tough days ahead and propose tough solutions to get the job done. But, that didn’t happen.
Instead, in a weird, back-to-the-future kind of moment, Obama recommended that the nation spend more. He proposed more infrastructure spending in his plan to “win the future” and create more jobs. Didn’t he promise that two years, and $1,000,000,000,000.00 dollars ago?
No additional federal funding is needed to stimulate a federal construction boom by bbuilding bridges, roads, and other federal buildings, creating jobs and stimulate the economy. Federal construction is restricted, not by the lack of money, but by lengthy timelines caused by slow permitting processes and excessive bureaucratic regulations.
What is needed—desperately-- is no-cost, regulatory reform of the existing federal building process and a leader with girt that is willing to reduce the stifling bureaucratic process and regulatory regime that throttle all infrastructure projects in the US. To illustrate the problem, today the average cycle to conceive, design, fund and ultimately construct a federal building takes approximately 7 years. Most of that time is wasted on bureaucratic, regulatory process.
But make no mistake, a building boom is possible, and doesn't need to be stimulated by a federal handout. What is needed is dedicated leadership willing, and able, to curtail excessive bureaucratic reviews and focus more on the actual building of new infrastructure, versus a timid, rote adherence to an unsuccessful process that does not serve the nation.
What is needed is a leader with grit, to confront and refuse demands that require union involvement in construction, adherence to insanely lengthy environmental reviews, and endless wrangling on construction permits and reviews.