On The Proper Role of Government
The Heritage Foundation, a decidedly right-of-center think tank has been the impetus for a great deal of Conservative political philosophy over the decades. It informed Reagan and many who have tried to emulate him and has inspired millions to join the Conservative Movement. In its quest to provide timely analysis of our society, The Heritage Foundation has produced a thought provoking and undoubtedly controversial piece explaining 5 duties that government should make a priority. All of these suggestions center on themes of a self-sufficient America, Free Market Capitalism as envisioned but the Founding Fathers and an emphasis on the now well proven theory that not only does Government not create jobs in the private sector, but when it tries to do so, it negatively impacts the growth rate of our economy.
Number 5 on the list of suggestions for government is to: Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and Prohibit Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements, so the Market Sets Wage Rates for Federal Construction Contracts. My own personal research and informed opinion on the matter is that government intervention in wages and working conditions stopped being an effective tool against poor working conditions and low wages when the goal changed from protecting workers to enriching them. A good indicator of this problem can be viewed whenever a big public works construction project is being considered. No longer are we really building schools for kids or libraries for readers, rather, it's to see how many jobs government can create.
Arbitrarily-determined prevailing wage rates and government-mandated, union-only Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) may increase the wage and benefit to the individual worker, but at what cost? If those very same workers plus every other taxpayer are on the hook to pay back the money used to build the project, where exactly is the benefit? Instead of all of these wage and benefit controls, the project should be built by the lowest responsible, responsive bidder, paying a wage supported by the local economy in which the project is being built. Analysis of the cost of PLAs as well as well as Davis Bacon (Prevailing Wage) indicates that ending these practices would reduce the cost of projects over $20 million by up to 30% (here and here). That's a 30% savings to ALL TAX PAYERS meaning that even those not lucky enough to get a temporary job building the project will benefit through a lower tax burden.
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