Obama's Stimulus Plan In Five Words Or Less
I missed Clintonite moldy oldie-turned-Obama economic adviser Robert Reich’s testimony a few weeks ago on how the government should spend federal stimulus money. The Berkeley professor engaged in academic fantasy land talk about getting all the cash out to workers as quickly as possible — a pipe dream debunked by the CBO report I mentioned in my column yesterday.
Even more noteworthy, however, were the comments Reich made about which workers deserve the stimulus bucks most. Reich’s proposal exposes the lie that the Obama administration is actually interested in revitalizing basic infrastructure for the good of the economy. No, what Team Obama really wants is to ensure that the least skilled, least qualified workers get jobs based on their chromosomes and pigment.
In Reich's own words:
"I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers…I have nothing against white male construction workers, I'm just saying there are other people who have needs as well.”
Gee, that all sounds frighteningly familiar.
As the work progressed and the scope of the Project grew, the size of the B/PB staff increased accordingly, in all facets of the work (e.g. procurement, administrative support, finance and accounting, engineering and design, and construction). Then one day, the inevitable happened - political correctness reared its ugly head.
Suddenly, "diversity" was the big buzzword. The Project began holding mandatory diversity awareness training seminars for ALL project personnel. As a result, meticulous records were kept detailing the numbers of women and minority employees in every department, and at every pay grade. Some of this, I believe, was carried out under the guidelines established for public work receiving federal funds. To some extent, the Project's hands were tied when it came to complying with these requirements coming out of Washington.
As efforts to maintain the proper employment quotas stepped up, these tracking efforts yielded an interesting observation. The actual construction jobs (i.e. Field Engineers) were held by an overwhelming percentage of, you guessed it, white males. Clearly some kind of a racist conspiracy was at work here (that was sarcasm for those who might have picked up on that). But, rather than encouraging more qualified women and minority candidates to apply for these position, a more direct strategy was put into place.
A subsequent plan was kicked off to promote, from within, women and minority employees into these important positions with seemingly little regard to their qualifications or educational background. If you were a woman or minority working as a secretary or other administrative support position, and thought it would be neat to put on a hardhat and walk around downtown, the jobs were yours for the taking. Just sign up for an in-house class on how to read blueprints, or have the right connections and - PRESTO! - you're a qualified construction field inspector.
Now, come on folks. Honestly, what's more important? A diverse work place where we can be exposed to all sorts of wonderful people from varying cultural backgrounds (read: gender and skin color) or having a qualified group of individuals (regardless of gender or skin color) overseeing the largest tax-payer funded transportation construction project in the country?
On of the biggest scams perpetrated in connection with Boston's Big Dig (and, trust me, there are a lot to choose from) was the bullshit, feel-good requirement that a percentage of contract work on the project be awarded to women and minority-owned businesses.
Just a little bit of paperwork required, and voila! Irish White Guy Drywall, Inc. is now Mary O'Malley's Plaster and Carpentry.
It accomplished nothing to actually improve diversity in the workplace. No tangible benefit to the taxpayer. No increase in the quality of work. But, it kept the paperwork flowing and made the politicians, bureaucrats and the labor unions happy.
In other words...it was the Big Dig.
Now, multiply that leaking deathtrap by 100.
What could possibly go wrong?
Those who fail to learn from history are