Over the summer, an amendment to The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act was added that essentially placed the nation’s prevailing-wage law for construction workers, The Davis-Bacon Act, under attack.
For those who are not familiar, the Davis-Bacon Act ensures that workers on federally subsidized construction jobs of $2,000 or greater to be paid no less than the wages tradesperson’s and craftsperson’s would be paid for similar work performed within their jurisdiction.
Basically, this law prevents the federal government, who through its grants, loans, contracts, tax legislation and/or via its direct construction work, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings and property, from undercutting the wage standards of local workers by allowing unscrupulous contractors to win a public construction project by lowering workers’ wages in a never-ending race to the bottom. In other words, the law makes unprincipled contractors compete on a level playing field with the signatory IBEW / NECA contractors.
Luckily, a pivotal vote on June 8 struck down that amendment to The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, (which again, was intended to remove the bill’s Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions) and the rest of The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act was passed.
A month later, Congress considered and subsequently passed (it squeaked through) The Inflation Reduction Act. This legislation, through the granting of tax credits for those who build these projects will create thousands of good paying jobs in several U.S. industries, such as, but not limited to, clean energy construction projects like: solar, wind, clean hydrogen, carbon capture and more. This Act will put thousands of I.B.E.W. members to work along with the other skilled trades. Did I mention that it is projected to provide for $300 billion in deficit reduction and $369 billion in Energy Security and Climate change programs over the next ten years. No? Well that is what is projected and it’s all good stuff. Best of all, and for the reasons that the creators of these job opportunities will receive favorable tax benefits, the wages for these jobs are protected under The Davis-Bacon Act.
So, you are most likely asking yourself which of Indiana’s federal legislators voted against your livelihood and trade by voting against The Inflation Reduction Act? Let’s see…
|LISTING OF INDIANA’S ELECTED FEDERAL LEGISLATORS|
|GREG PENSE||CONGRESSMAN||REPUBLICAN||NO VOTE*|
|This is one monster of a bill, and Pense gives a “NoVote”. What’s with that?|
Kind of makes you wonder if these elected federal legislators are deliberately trying to diminish the level of income, comfort, and services available in Indiana. In other words, weaken our standard of living by eliminating the even playing field mentioned earlier. Remember, when the standard of living is weakened, people can become vulnerable and at risk.
While on that subject, an April 20, 2022 study shows Indiana as the 27th most reliant state for governmental support. Well, actually, the study really shows Indiana is the 24th most reliant because three states, specifically, Hawaii, Ohio and South Carolina all tied for the 22nd most reliant on governmental support. To add perspective to this, Iowa, New York, and Illinois rank as the 41st, 43rd, and 45th least reliant of states on federal support. This begs the questions: Is this where we want to be? Are we not better than this?
The reality is that this is a real slippery slope and if we are not diligent, things could get worse real fast. I love the fact that whether a voter identifies as either Republican or Democrat, they all want things to change. However, the truth is that they want the citizens of other States to change their elected official, but not change their own. How else can you explain the continuous reelection of the same “wonderful” people who have either created, sustained, or exacerbated our problems. Hell, I don’t remember a time when Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer were not in office. (Boy, talk about a solid argument for term limits….!)
You know what? We are all at fault for not being as engaged as we should be and not demanding better. Our world should not be divided into either a blue team or a red team, rather it should be the amalgamation of the two, purple. The purple team. There is no rule or law that states you have to always vote the “party line”. Perhaps, blindly voting the “party line” got us to where we are today. Interesting to consider, right?
Here is what I do know – there are good and bad people on both sides of the aisle. Our job is to find the good. Party affiliation should not be a consideration. Yes, weeding out the good from the bad does take a modicum of work, but don’t you think that is a small price to pay considering the alternative?
The Davis-Bacon Act may not be perfect, but it has worked and worked well enough to raise the standard of living of working trade and craft persons throughout the United States since 1931 and arguably, helped form the middle class. In a nutshell, and to quote Jeff Gunhus:
“It’s a proven fact that all plans involving bacon have a 90 percent better chance of working out.”
Consequently, the next time these self-proclaimed “budget hounds” wrap themselves in their respective state flag and spew out vague, semi-sweet sounding, but nevertheless unsubstantiated platitudes, such as “we are protecting the Hoosier taxpayer”, ask them for the exact amount you, as a taxpayer, would save and request the math behind their calculations of that amount. All you will hear is crickets. Then ask them why they maintain that position when study after study reveals that the productivity, the quality of the work performed and the safety standards that Union trade and craftsperson’s bring to any project makes up for any additional labor costs, essentially eliminating any cost-savings if the law was repealed? You will not get an answer and more than likely will be politely escorted toward the door.
By the way, and I know you were wondering; Connecticut is the least reliant of governmental support of all the 50 states, (Hooray for the nutmeg and constitution state! You guy’s rock!)
Lastly, I leave you with this one truth:
“Bacon makes everything better”!