Monday, January 12, 2009

Kausfiles : Fight or flight for the GOP on Davis-Bacon?

Mickey Kaus: What should the GOP fight about on the stimulus package?
Does the GOP Congressional leadership dare launch a fight over whether Davis-Bacon style wage schedules, beloved by organized labor, apply to various projects that use Obama's stimulus funds? They'd almost certainly lose (as they did when the issue came up in the context of Katrina relief), but that wouldn't be the point. The point would be to take a stand that would a) ventilate the arguments against Davis Bacon; b) highlight Obama's dependence on Big Labor; and c) deter Obama from moving very far in the direction of non-market, bureaucratic determination of wages (through mandatory arbitration under the "card check" bill, direct setting wage scales by the federal government under Davis-Bacon, and eventually, maybe, court-imposed wage-rejiggering to eliminate male/female disparities under the doctrine of "comparable worth").
In short, the answer is yes, the GOP should. Yes, they are going to lose, but like Kaus said that is not the point.

Simply put, the GOP needs to have a principaled stand that is clear. The size of govnerment is going to be radically increased with hundreds of thousand of new government workers and that is not what, in the long run, is going to help America get out of this recession. It is going to be private enterprise. If public paychecks are bigger than private paychecks, then there is little incentive to move from the public payroll to the private payroll.

Less government, more independent business, that is a GOP principal and that is why the fight on Davis-Bacon is necessary.

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