Flashback: 'Shovel-Ready' From Lauded To Laughter

June 17, 2011 - 9:08 AM

(CNSNews.com) - What was once a serious part of President Obama’s roughly 800-billion dollar American Recovery Act - ‘shovel-ready projects’ - now seems to have become a laughing matter.

‘Shovel-ready projects’ was a buzz word used to pitch the Recovery Act. President Obama used the term to describe how a third of the federal money would be spent.

“Now, the last third of the Recovery Act is for investments that are already putting people back to work.  There are almost 100 shovel-ready transportation projects already approved in Colorado which are beginning to create jobs,” Obama said during a speech in Grand Junction, Colorado on August 15, 2009.

The ‘shovel-ready’ theme was repeated a multitude of other times, including at a July 15, 2010 speech in Holland, Michigan.

We've aimed to grow our economy by harnessing the innovative spirit of the American people,” Obama said. “Because we did, shovels will soon be moving earth and trucks will soon be pouring concrete where we are standing.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.9 million fewer Americans currently have jobs than at the time the president signed the stimulus bill.

On Monday the tone of ‘shovel-ready projects’ changed from serious spending to some lighthearted chuckles in Durham, N.C.

At a Jobs and Competitiveness Council meeting, a member was explaining how the federal permit process can delay construction and infrastructure projects by “months to years and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned,” Obama interjected, “Shovel-ready was not as, uh, shovel-ready as we expected,” creating laughter among several council members including General Electric Chief Jeffery Immelt.