Government bureaucracies do not exercise power by allowing activities to occur - they only have power, and thus have reason to justify their continued funding and jobs, when they say no. Every incentive that they have is to say no. When a government agency allows progress to proceed smoothly, it is doing so because some person or small group is fighting against the very nature of the organization. Anyone who believes otherwise about government agencies is challenged to go build and open a new restaurant in Ventura County, California. Here is the latest example:
The [weatherizing] program was a hallmark of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a way to shore up the economy while encouraging people to conserve energy at home. But government rules about how to run what was deemed to be a ''shovel-ready'' project, including how much to pay contractors and how to protect historic homes during renovations, have thwarted chances at early success, according to an Associated Press review of the program.
''It seems like every day there is a new wrench in the works that keeps us from moving ahead,'' said program manager Joanne Chappell-Theunissen. She has spent the past several months mailing in photographs of old houses in rural Michigan to meet federal historic preservation rules. ''We keep playing catch-up.''
And of course, even in a skeptical article about a "stimulus" project, no one ever mentioned what productive activities the $5 billion was being used for by private individuals before the government yanked it away for this little catastrophe.
By the way, the overblown rhetoric award has to go to this:
''This is the beginning of the next industrial revolution with the explosion of clean energy investments,'' said assistant U.S. Energy Secretary Cathy Zoi. ''These are good jobs that are here to stay.''
Given that the first one was about steel mills and railroads and oil and electricity, if this new industrial revolution is all about caulking, I think I am getting nostalgic for the first one.