That is not my experience with ARRA. With the projects I'm involved in there are tight cost control measures. So tight the contractors are complaining because change orders are very tough to get approved. I have however seen more than one letter have to be rewritten because it was not put on paper with the ARRA watermark.
Tight cost control measures because there is absolutely no additional money & if you go over budget, contractors don't want to eat costs. I don't disagree with that statement by any means. But I also see the other side with the requisitions and that is where some of my harsher opinions come in. Approval is hard because paperwork has to be soooo thorough, especially with Buy Am. This thread has taken some interesting turns and great items to ponder. Keeps me checking in.
The simplest is to go back on a commodity standard of gold, silver, platinum, copper, etc., just as was done for thousands of years of civilization, and for the USA until 1973, when we decided it was more important to fight the Vietnam War than maintain a stable economy. This is not difficult: note that a copper penny is worth more than 1 cent, a nickel made of nickel is worth more than 5 cents, a silver quarter is worth a lot more than a quarter, and so on. This has the advantage of a stable money supply that tends to grow at roughly the rate of economic growth without anyone having to do anything.
But doesn't it cost more than a cent to produce a single penny? I agree with the commodity standard, but how do you keep the industry producing the commodity from inflating prices that are the valuations for your money system so that they can in turn live the "American Dream" and line their pockets also? Can you have stable money with so many unstable markets? Look at Thanksgiving Day markets, so many thought that one country's stable market was secure until it tanked.