The question needs to be asked: Is it ignorance or malice? There was a time after the subprime mortgage meltdown when, if sound decisions on policy and financial initiatives had occurred, the American economy may not have been hobbled as badly, its credit rating might not have been downgraded, the recession might have been curtailed and so many Americans might not have been so negatively affected. However, rather than helping a recovery by letting the quasi-free market adjust, contract and expand again, at almost every turn, Barack Obama and the union appointees and crony capitalists within his administration are, whether out of malice or ignorance, seemingly doing everything they can to destroy an already fragile economy. It’s really no longer a question of “if,” but “why.”
In 2008, Barack Obama was caught on camera explaining his redistributionist desire to spread the wealth around. At the time, in classic Saul Alinsky fashion, Obama’s union pushers tried deflecting the issue by the stomping on the reputation of ‘Joe the Plumber,’ the man who asked Obama an innocent question.
Now, 18 months after his first stimulus failed, Barack Obama has cynically proposed spending another one-half a trillion dollars (paid for by redistributing the wealth of the not-so -wealthy. Even pundits realize it is a “nakedly political” plan to paint his political opponents as ‘radical.’ However, even with the politicization apparent, policies of Obama and his union cronies go beyond the typical ‘tax and spend’ stereotype afforded to Keynesian liberals.
Unfortunately, from coast to coast, the Obama Misery Index (OMI) is leaving almost no sector untouched. From the seemingly politically-motivated raid in Nashville on legendary (and non-union) guitar-maker Gibson to the EPA killing 500 jobs in Texas, the attacks on America’s job creators are not only disturbing, they are alarming. Is it ignorance or malice?
In addition to the union appointees at Obama’s National Labor Relations Board attacking Boeing (and the potential long-term spillover effects across the economy), as well as its assault on Right-to-Work States, the NLRB’s new mandate to require all private-sector employers with two or more workers to post union notices, coupled with its proposal for ambush elections and the recent micro-union ruling, is causing more and more businesses to spend resources in preparing to be attacked by unions than creating jobs. Is it ignorance or malice?
Adding to this pro-union, bureacratic quagmire, the NLRB has also poured a gallon of cold water on companies that may have been contemplating merging with or buying already-unionized companies. In yet another NLRB ruling, the union appointees have forbidden employees from getting rid of an unwanted union immediately following a merger or acquisition.
This means that if a unionized company is floundering (as so many are) and another company comes along that may extend a lifeline by either merging with or buying the unionized company, there will be added pause if it also means buying the union. As a result, if a merger or sale does not happen and the floundering company fails, the employees (who may not have even wanted to remain unionized) lose their jobs.
Then, there’s the Department of Labor’s scheme to reclassify all sorts of service providers as ‘persuaders’ and cause them to report their earnings to the Department of Labor. While largely misunderstood, the proposal will cause both companies and vendors (who may have no knowledge about unions) to make their financial dealings public or go to jail. Such are the types of people who are being targeted by Obama’s union regime:
- Communications consultants who coach management on how to structure and effectively manage employee teams
- Productivity consultants who design and implement total quality management teams, giving employees a voice in the success of their companies’ products.
- Safety consultants who help establish safety committees that give employees the ability to voice safety concerns to their employer to resolve safety issues
- Human resources consultants that design, write, or implement employee handbooks or policies
- Compensation consultants who design and administer pay or incentive plans for companies
None of these would seemingly have anything to do with unions, however, because all of the activities that these types of consultants do may indirectly persuade employees in the exercising their rights to unionize, these consultants will be faced with either reporting their total income to the Department of Labor, go to jail, or get out of the business entirely.
If the individuals leave their respective industries (or companies choose to go without the help), how does a workplace that is less safe, less team-oriented, and less structured help America’s competitiveness? Is it ignorance or malice?
In another example, in June, the Department of Labor issued a stunning ruling that a private construction project must pay “prevailing wages” (i.e., union wages) on a $700 million project under the Davis Bacon Act because it is on land leased by the federal government.
According to the Washington Post, this could raise the project by $20 million or more.
Whatever the law’s merits, it has been pretty well settled that Davis-Bacon applies only to structures funded, owned or occupied by the U.S. or District governments, as its plain language suggests.
Now, with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen, that understanding has been upset. A Labor Department regulator has ruled that Davis-Bacon covers the CityCenter DC project, a $700 million private-sector complex under construction downtown at the site of the former convention center. The decision is astonishing, both because it is such a stretch legally and because of its implications — which range from a financial hit for the District to higher costs for development across the country.
While the bureacrat at the Department of Labor expects the District of Columbia to pick up the tab for the increased costs, that may not be of any comfort since, ultimately, it is the taxpayers who will pay the price.
Never mind that the District’s actual control over construction amounts to little more than the usual regulatory oversight, or that long-term leasing of municipal land is a common economic development tool not previously thought to convert office-retail complexes into public works. Never mind that Ms. Leppink’s expansive reasoning could apply to all future commercial redevelopment of land belonging to the District or to the federal government anywhere.
From the the beginning, Barack Obama had claimed he wanted to transform America. His primary pushers—union bosses—have long wanted to change the America’s economy to more of a statist nation. Unfortunately, while many voters hoped Mr. Obama’s election would change things for the better, it is quite clear that the opposite has occurred. As a result, America will be poorer for generations as a result while union cronies control large portions of the federal government.
While it is true Mr. Obama inherited a mess, he and his administration are making it exponentially worse.
The question is: Is it ignorance or malice?
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com and BigGovernment.com