Are unions responsible for stimulus failures? 

Yesterday, I noted that the Department of Energy's plan to use $5 billion in stimulus cash to weatherize homes has been a big floperoo -- so far only 9,100 homes have been weatherized with stimulus cash at a cost of  -- this is not a typo -- $57,362 per home. The Government Accountability Office blames "red tape" for the problem, or more specifically, dealing with prevailing wage laws. But Mickey Kaus cuts to the chase -- the problem is really unions:

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. ...

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]

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Mark Hemingway

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