The Voice for Industry
November 3, 2010
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Digging Deeper

The best quote of the election season was the comment by President Obama in the New York Times that he has discovered "there's no such thing as shovel-ready projects."

We are not rehashing this to fire one last spitball in a campaign season that was clouded by them, or to fire one more potshot at the ill-fated stimulus plan, but the President's discovery provided a good, highly constructive lesson that should not be forgotten.

Shovel-ready projects do not exist in the United States because of the ever-growing environmental review process and the other ever-growing government regulations that have turned the ever-growing government sector of the US into the largest barrier ever erected to building or doing just about anything.

President Eisenhower is lauded for bringing us the interstate freeway system, but Ike died in 1969. The Environmental Protection Agency was born in 1970, and in the 40 years since then the only thing that's grown faster than the Chinese economy is American red tape.

Does anyone believe that Ike could build the interstate system today? Not us.

Here's one tiny reflection of the trend.

In 1994, the entire environmental science consulting sector of the Washington state economy generated just $8 million in gross business revenue. In 2009, the sector created revenues of $147 million, an increase of 1737% and these figures do not include the billions of dollars of environmental impact money churned by traditional engineering firms or government agencies.

Let's hope the President and others take his shovel-ready lesson to heart.

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