By Cheri Jacobus - 09/08/11 10:48 PM EDT
From what we know so far, President Obama’s “everything old is new again” $300 billion stimulus tin-can-rattling proposal is barely worth discussing or considering, given the hot mess of his track record. Yet the GOP-led House is forced to do just that, having no choice but to play the hand it’s been dealt with a Democratic Senate and far-left occupant in the White House committed still, despite abysmal failures, to the redistribution of wealth over creation of wealth.
After the failed trillion-dollar stimulus bill created only a handful of jobs instead of the 4.5 million Obama predicted and promised, just why would we want to go down that road again?
So blinded by ideology and inexperience, Obama makes nary a mention of responsible measures government could take to get out of the way of business so they could create private-sector jobs, grow wealth and get the economy humming. To acknowledge even the potential would be to embrace capitalism — kryptonite to the president despite the dire straits of the U.S. economy. CEO after CEO has gone public with frustration and concern that this president’s policies are wreaking havoc on businesses and the economy. They need Obama and the government to get out of their way so they can create private-sector jobs, though the situation is already grave. So much damage already done.
Soon, there will be scant wealth to redistribute.
Of particular note is Obama’s notion that school construction should now be more fully a federal responsibility, rather than up to states and localities — especially since he fails to explain to us just how this would create permanent jobs. Actually, he doesn’t even try to explain it.
If Congress has spending on more federal projects shoved down its throat, perhaps Republicans and a few intellectually honest Democrats can insist on some cost-cutting measures, or at least making those dollars go a bit further, creating a few more of those short-term jobs (since government can’t really create permanent work). Congress should hold Obama’s feet to the fire and again push for, at a minimum, waiving the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) on school construction, thus saving at least 15 percent on the cost to taxpayers. The artificially inflated wages paid to union shops for the federal contracts as mandated by DBA should be made more competitive so smaller, non-union construction businesses could compete. Able-bodied men and women in inner-city neighborhoods where school construction would take place would have an opportunity to have a paycheck for a while, should the Davis-Bacon restrictions be relaxed, that they would otherwise be denied. Taxpayers get a better deal, unemployed people get to work for a while, and Americans who (rightfully) chafe at the expanded federal role will feel slightly less assaulted. Even if we opt out of saving the money and spend every dime proposed, were the Davis-Bacon Act waived, more people would be able to earn a paycheck from the funds.
Some Republicans proposed DBA waivers in past rounds of Obama’s spending, and there is a precedent during emergencies such as hurricanes and other disasters to temporarily waive Davis-Bacon in order to save the government money and speed up recovery. Perhaps it’s time Obama join with the majority of Americans who fully comprehend we are experiencing economic disaster.
In truth, any of this new public works spending should waive Davis-Bacon, but school construction is the most justifiable. It is not supposed to fully be a federal responsibility, although there are federal subsidies. It should not be the role of the taxpayers to take on this new spending responsibility while being forced to pay the inflated wages dictated by the Davis-Bacon Act that we cannot afford with yet another stimulus spending spree by Obama.
Sadly, the most difficult part of this proposal would be that Obama and congressional Democrats would have to choose between employing more Americans and saving taxpayers’ money — or bowing down and kissing the feet of the labor union bosses.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.