Obama’s $50 Billion Union Infrastructure Boondoggle

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President Obama calls his latest attempt to revive the economy a “Plan to Renew and Expand America’s Roads, Railways and Runways.” I’m calling it “The Mother of all Big Dig Boondoggles.” Like the infamous “Big Dig” highway spending project in Boston, this latest White House infrastructure spending binge guarantees only two results: Taxpayers lose; unions win.

The plan would add at least $50 billion more to the nearly $230 billion already allocated in the original trillion-dollar stimulus law for infrastructure. Less than one-third of that infrastructure stimulus money has been spent, but the urgency to pile on has increased exponentially as the midterm elections approach and unemployment hovers near 10 percent. So, the president says he wants to “put people back to work” through a new “upfront investment” in surface transportation, airports and the air-traffic control system paid for by repealing tax incentives for the oil and gas industries — followed by massive, unpaid-for expenditures on pie-in-the-sky high-speed rail, “environmental sustainability” and “livability,” whatever that means.

Obama spoke emotionally at an AFL-CIO rally on Labor Day about unemployed construction workers. A “lot of those folks, they had lost their jobs in manufacturing and went into construction; now they’ve lost their jobs again,” he said. “It doesn’t do anybody any good when so many hardworking Americans have been idled for months, even years, at a time when there is so much of America that needs rebuilding.”

But here’s the rub: Not all workers are equal in Obama’s eyes. And most of them will remain “idled” by the Democrats’ own design. The key is E.O. 13502, a union-friendly executive order signed by Obama in his first weeks in office, which essentially forces contractors who bid on large-scale public construction projects worth $25 million or more to submit to union representation for its employees.

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  • davarino

    Maybe this is how he is going to build his national army, from the ranks of the union thugs.

  • Robert

    Well, when you are up to your neck in alligators, it is hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.

  • Kevin in El Paso

    Robert,
    If you are suggesting that Obama is up to his neck (I believe the saying normally mentions a somewhat more vertically chanllenged body part), then I have a suggestion for the Swamp-drainer-in -Chief; quit incubating the alligators' eggs for them!

  • Barry Cooper

    Keep in mind that Federal contracts normally stipulate that you have to pay Davis-Bacon wages, which are roughly twice the going rate in the industry. I just did my first contract with the Federal government, and I could have used some help, but I would have had to pay a day laborer $25/hour. Those wages go back to–do you know? Herbert Hoover. They were intended to help maintain wages during the Depression.

    What they actually do is force private contractors to compete for labor with an organization–the Federal Government–which is unresponsive to market pressures. This in turn makes doing business harder, and leads to more business failures. Just one more side "benefit" of Keynesian socialism.