Monday, March 16, 2009

For "Stimulus" Funded Projects, It's Party Time

For anyone actually concerned and paying attention to the state of affairs currently underway in America, the news that the Obama administration is going to force states, using stimulus funds for construction projects, to pay union wages should give one pause. I'll leave the part about no-bid contracts for others to debate, as that is another venue entirely that will lead to ideological finger pointing and heated rhetoric.

Fiscal responsibility is something that all candidates base their campaign rhetoric upon, and something which many soon abandon shortly after swearing the oath to uphold the constitution, on the Bible. This last campaign season gave new meaning and import to that philosophy based on the collapsing economy being its main backdrop. So it is with uber-particular irony that the new administration has so quickly and so shamelessly abandoned even the slightest pretense of monetary restraint.

I am not alone in my past prognostications and current concerns that Obama is an overt socialist seeking to radically alter the very fabric of America. I and others tried valiantly - and ultimately in vain - to convince voters during the election period that Obama was somewhat akin to a living version of Poe's The Purloined Letter, and was met with nothing but scorn. How anyone can now deny that accusation as reality is beyond me, since Obama is behaving like a Leon Trotsky labor movement activist.

Never mind that Robert Reich wished that stimulus project jobs be kept from white male construction workers; the president is now saying that all stimulus jobs workers must be payed at union wages and that the edict is non-negotiable. Competitive bidding will be ignored and small businesses excluded. What's worse is that, while spending our money, we will pay more for less. For example, instead of possibly getting ten miles of road for "X" amount of dollars, we'll get only seven or eight. But the rule does not only apply to federal highway projects, as the 1931 Davis-Bacon law usually covers. This provision, under the current Obama plan, will extend to energy, housing, and agriculture as well as construction.

Many "shovel ready" projects were already bid at a lower non-union wage, but now businesses that have won the contracts will either have to surrender the contracts or pay a prohibitive wage to its workers. A good example of the effect this will have is evident in Los Angeles. According to Fox News:

Los Angeles County officials who received $8 million in Community Development Block Grant money to weatherize homes for low-income people said they typically bid the job low and pay about $15 an hour for a worker to caulk windows. However, under union scale, that job pays $25 an hour and $5 in benefits, so instead of repairing 100 homes, they might do 50 homes for the same price.

Elsewhere, the union wage for a plumber on Long Island is $45 an hour, the market rate is $30. In Las Vegas, the Davis-Bacon wage for a glass worker is $57 an hour, a job the Nevada State Housing division currently pays $15 to do.

We were worried about the effects of Saul Alinsky's influence on Obama, but he may have learned more from Leon Trotsky, for just as Trotsky was involved in organizing the underground South Russian Workers' Union in 1897, Obama seems to be back to his own organizer roots. He may just be reorganizing us into the New Soviet Union.

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