Appearing on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" last Thursday evening, MSNBC talking head Rachael Maddow gushed about her new commercial filmed amid the backdrop of the Hoover Dam and shot by director Spike Lee. "Since I was on the West Coast, it's time to shoot new MSNBC commercials, and since I'm going to be on the West Coast how about we meet at the Hoover Dam," Maddow said. "And I completely conned them into letting me do my commercial at the Hoover Dam."
The significance of the dam, Maddow explained, is that the structure embodies the notion that government spending on public works projects can whisk this country out of its fiscal doldrums. "The Hoover Dam opened in 1935 in the middle of the Great Depression and it opened 18 months early, and during the Great Depression - we built our way out of it. We made all of this cool stuff. And now we're like 'Oh, we're broke, we can't do anything, let China build it', and that's just stupid."
Economic arguments on the merits of New Deal-type government spending programs aside, as well calling the Hoover Dam a New Deal construction project at all (the funds were authorized by Congress and signed by President Hoover in 1928), it would be hard to imagine a similar project getting off the ground today, what with:
- mandated environmental impact reports;
- years of suits and countersuits based on the results of said reports;
- the anticipated circus of the vendor selection process, as unions and special interest groups will seek to ensure they 'get paid'
- the inevitable project cost overruns, as the winning vendor will more than likely need to adjust its costs based on the previous three points.
It's not much better in the private sector either. I mean after all, look at CW's home renovation project.