But if there aren't enough skilled professionals to do the jobs involving new technologies, the stimulus will just increase the wages of the professionals who already have the right skills rather than generate many new jobs in these fields. And if construction jobs go mainly to white males who already dominate the construction trades, many people who need jobs the most -- women, minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed -- will be shut out.
That from Labor Secretary, Robert Reich’s blog. We commend Mr. Reich for not beating around the bush or mincing words when it comes to the nature and objective of the stimulus package. When your party is calling the shots in the House, Senate and Oval Office, you can speak plainly and leave the hopeful rhetoric to the boss.
Never mind the inherent bigotry in Reich’s post, is what he is claming actually true? He provides no evidence that whites are the predominant race in the construction trade so we will come up with some figures ourselves. Faithful commenter Road Dawg has worked in the commercial contracting/construction field for the past 20-25 years and guesstimates that the labor pool in the construction industry here in SoCal is 40/60 whites to minorities. Also, one of ‘Dawg’s pups is the only white kid in a construction apprentice class of 20. And here in San Diego, the shipbuilding and repair industry among the trades runs about 30/70. Anecdotal numbers to be sure but numbers just the same that suggest Reich’s breezy assumption and thus justification for the quota approach to the Great Stumble Sideways, doesn’t square with reality.
But let’s not get off point, here. Whether or not whites dominate the construction labor pool is beside the point to the reality of the obvious social engineering that is the motive behind the infrastructure improvement plans of the stimulus package.
Later in the post Reich claims that many low-income/low-skilled workers could be put to work immediately in providing home and businesses green technology and infrastructure upgrades:
People can be trained relatively quickly for these sorts of jobs, as well as many infrastructure j0bs generated by the stimulus -- installing new pipes for water and sewage systems, repairing and upgrading equipment, basic construction -- but contractors have to be nudged both to provide the training and to do the hiring.
Of course, this in non-sense. The typical apprenticeship program in the construction industry is 4 years, so in the meantime we will have roads, bridges and sewage systems built/re-built by unskilled labor. What could possibly go wrong?
And we thought the use of the word “nudged” was charming as well. In the very next paragraph we find that “nudged” means “all contracts entered into with stimulus funds require contractors to provide at least 20 percent of jobs to the long-term unemployed and to people withincomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. And at least 2 percent of project funds should be allocated to such training… which must be fully available to women and minorities.” Wink-wink… nudge-nudge.
And who will do the vetting to make sure there is the proper of numbers of women and minorities among the labor pool of a bidding contractor? Another bureacracy or even an existing one who will, no doubt, be as transparent and forthcoming in its selection criteria as the Treasury Department is currently with regard to dispersal of TARP money?
You know, we wanted to give it a break for a week. We wanted to just relax and take in the historical significance of what happened this past Tuesday… but we can’t. We can’t because of people like Robert Reich whose own transparency betrays the utilitarian and pragmatic goals of the stimulus plan as pitched to us by the President.
P.S. With respect to gender set-asides and quotas, it should be noted that men have been hit harder than women by this recession.
P.P.S. Of all people, the Labor Secretary should know there are scads of set-aside and minority-hiring provisions already on the federal aquisition books. The fact that Reich is pushing for even more, again, speaks to the true motives of the stimulus plan.
H/T: Hot Air