Unions vs. stimulation: The home "weatherization" jobs in the stimulus bill were subjected to Davis-Bacon wage regulations --a favorite of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department--under which federal Labor Department officials establish "prevailing wage" rates that must be paid. Why do unions like this system? Because the "prevailing wages" are determined in a way that guarantees they are usually more than the actual market wage, sometimes by large margins . All that finagling takes a certain amount of bureaucracy, however--and time. ABC's Jonathan Karl :
According to the GAO report, the Department of Labor spent most of last year trying to determine the prevailing wage is for weatherization work, a determination that had to be made for each of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States. [E.A.]
As a result, the Department of Energy apparently weatherized only 22,000 homes under the program. Another pre-existing program, which doesn't have to comply with Davis-Bacon, appears to have weatherized about 100,000 homes, if my math is right.
That's OK. It's not as if speed was important last year in terms of putting people to work . ... Oh wait, it was. [Insert now-embarrassing Obama quote here]
"If you allocate money to weatherize homes, the homeowner gets the benefit of lower energy bills. You right away put people back to work , many of whom in the construction industry and in the housing industry are out of work right now. They are immediately put to work doing something," [E.A.]
Instead, a year was wasted on mindless, union-demanded bureaucratic attempts to disingenuously replicate the labor market. Did Obama not know this would happen when he allowed the stimulus to be Davis-Baconized, or did he not care? [Update-- Choice #3: He knows and cares, but is too weak to stand up to the unions.]
P.S.-- CAP to the Rescue! Luckily the Center for American Progress, sensing the public mood, has launched a " Doing What Works" project to "challenge the status quo" and make sure the government can "deliver maximum bang for the taxpayer’s buck," according to CAP's John Podesta and Reece Rushing. No doubt Podesta's Center will soon call for ending Davis-Bacon, which needlessly inflates the cost to taxpayers every time a progressive liberal government tries to build something.
P.P.S.: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, turns down stimulus money for a new water treatment plant , because Davis-Bacon rules would have added $2.3 million to its $17.3 million price tag. Accepting the "stimulus" money would have meant a net loss for the city. [ via NewsAlert ] 1:09 P.M.
MSM: Some stories we'd just rather not report. ... 1:25 P.M.
Entrenched Democrats for Safe Seats: Nancy Pelosi and various powerful California liberals (Howard Berman, Lynn Woolsey) try to overturn one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's few reforms --a citizen's commission that would draw district lines to eliminate gerrymandering , which in California has virtually guaranteed legislators of both parties safe seats. ... The "citizen's commission" idea is proving politically astute, since there is now a big, appealing constituency--the 30,000 Californians who have applied to sit on the commission--in favor of keeping the reform. ... P.S.: 70% of those applying to be on the commission are white , though African-Americans are also over-represented. (Latinos are not.) ... Buried lede: When you apply, you have to disclose your race, apparently. ... [ via Rough & Tumble ] 1:30 P.M.