Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House.
One is from Chicago, another is from Kentucky, and the third is from New Orleans.
All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.
The New Orleans contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.
“Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $9,000. That’s $4,000 for materials, $4,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me.”
The Kentucky contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $7,000.
That’s $3,000 for materials, $3,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me.”
The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$27,000.”
The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a high figure?”
“The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$10,000 for me, $10,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Kentucky to fix the fence.”
“Done!” replies the government official.
And that, my friends, is how the Government Stimulus plan worked.