Notable & Quotable (DON’T POST THIS) Seems to just be an excerpt
Philip K. Howard on how the stimulus plan to weatherize homes became a regulatory nightmare.
Philip K. Howard, from his new book “The Rule of Nobody: Saving America From Dead Laws and Broken Government” ( Norton, 2014):
The 2009 economic stimulus package promoted by President Obama included $5 billion to weatherize some 607,000 homes — with the goals of both spurring the economy and increasing energy efficiency. But the project was required to comply with a statute called the Davis-Bacon Act (signed into law by President Hoover in 1931), which provides that construction projects with federal funding must pay workers the “prevailing wage” — basically a union perk that costs taxpayers about 20 percent more than actual labor rates. This requirement comes with a mass of red tape; bureaucrats in the Labor Department must set wages, as a matter of law, for each category of construction worker in each of three thou- sand counties in America. There was no schedule for “weatherproofers.” So the Labor Department began a slow trudge of determining how much weatherproofers should be paid in Merced County, California; Monmouth County, New Jersey; and several thousand other counties. The stimulus plan had projected that California would weatherproof twenty-five hundred homes per month. At the end of 2009, the actual total was twelve.
Originally published at www.wsj.com.