‘Shovel-ready was not as . . . uh . . . shovel-ready as we expected,” Barack Obama joked the other day at a meeting of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Obama has pretty much said the same thing several times. In a New York Times Magazine profile last October, the president admitted he had to learn the hard way that there’s “no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

This is a staggering indictment of the president, the team he assembled, and the journalists who accepted this administration’s arrogant assertions that they knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and what would happen as a result. Remember, this is the administration that to this day insists it is “pragmatic” and simply cares about “what works.”

But they were the ones who were blinded by ideology. One need not be an ideologue to understand that public-works contracting has become bloated and inefficient. Indeed, one must be an ideologue of a certain kind not to understand that. Or one has to be incredibly naive. Or both.

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