I have a feeling that the folks in the White House aren't fools. If there were more "shovel ready" projects out there, they'd be in the bill.
And if there were more non-shovel-ready projects proposed in the package, critics would complain that they are "not stimulative" because they take too long to get money into the economy. (Remember, big projects are what I do, and they take 12-18 months to go from proposal to "shovel ready.") Yes, the bill isn't anywhere near perfect. Things this size never are. Obama's efforts are also suffering from the mistrust engendered by the previous administration's efforts.
One of the things economists fear is that the spending won't be large enough to jump start the economy. My feeling is that Congress put in as many "good" projects as they could find and then filled it out with other stuff to ensure the spending was as immediate enough and large enough to meet the threshhold needed, warts and all. I saw the WS Journal article listing most of the bill as "pork" and "not stimulative." But phrases like "loaded with pork" or else "not stimulative" aren't terribly descriptive. Anything that's not a tax cut, is pork to Republicans. Where's their alternative? I mean, to more tax cuts? Where's their shopping list?
As I said over at Scrutiny Holligans, it's a bit like getting babies to eat their vegetables, isn’t it?