For John, BLUF: It is about how we cut up the pie. Nothing to see here; just move along.
A racist vestige of the past that progressives are happy to leave in place
From The Washington Post and the pen of Columnist George Will.♠
This is about the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931.
The Act mandates that contractors pay the local prevailing wages for laborers and for mechanics on federally funded public works projects and applies to:
"contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works."Here is the "Bottom Line":
Davis-Bacon is rent-seeking, the use of political power to supplant the market as the allocator of opportunity and wealth. Rent-seeking is lucrative, which is why there is so much of it, even when its pedigree is repulsive.Mr Will thinks that this reduces the amount of infrastructure we produce each year, but enriches union workers.
A 2011 Heritage Foundation study estimated that Davis-Bacon would add almost $11 billion to that year’s construction costs. That sum will be eclipsed when — if — bold talk about making America’s infrastructure great again is translated into spending. Then we build up the national debt while purchasing less infrastructure than the appropriated sums should purchase.There is the psychological impact of cost. Look at the sticker shock for the new High School (or renovated High School) in Lowell. Each option is north of $300 million. Sometimes the status quo is preferable to spending more and more money.
We do need equity, but Mr Will is correct in noting the racist origins of Davis-Beacon.
Hat tip to Memeorandum.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Mr Will is so old school I bet it does still use a pen to write out his thoughts.