Notes on the state of things

Notes on the state of things

Word out of Harrisburg is that Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has not met with the House Democrat Caucus (the party’s leadership group for the lower chamber) for six months. That’s what state Rep. Bill Kortz told KDKA Radio’s Marty Griffin on Tuesday.

It’s yet more proof that the governor has been developing coronavirus pandemic-related public policy as an autocrat (as if more proof were needed), not in concert with his own party and certainly not in concert with Republicans that control both houses of the General Assembly.

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that a statewide advocacy organization is calling on Wolf and the state Legislature to expand Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program to cover all state residents.

That, of course, would represent a jump over the cliff into socialized medicine. No thanks.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a serious erosion of the balance of power between the people and the government in Pennsylvania. As the commonwealth’s economy begins to slowly rebound, the last thing it needs is even more government control of that economy.

It’s the surest way to make the “State of Independence” the “State of Dependence.”

The incredibly “progressive,” union-controlled and -toadying Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is out with a just as incredibly perverted characterization of many of its pet economic policies.

To wit, it loves government-set wage floors (mandatory minimum wages), never mind the deleterious effects they have on not only economic growth but on retarding job opportunities for those on the lowest rung of the economic opportunity ladder.

Never mind that, as Forbes.com reports, minimum wage and prevailing wage laws began life as a favorite of union bosses to keep cheap — chiefly minority and/or immigrant — labor from undercutting inflated union demands.

Then there are Project Labor Agreements, or PLAs, which EPI attempts to innocuously characterize as “contracts used in the construction industry to set basic conditions for salary, pay and benefits on municipal projects likes road, bridges and power grids.”

Never mind that it is extortion by any other name, forcing government (i.e. taxpayers) to pay a price tribute to organized labor in exchange for labor peace.

Back to prevailing wages, EPI warns that without them – in every sense a union-set wage – “contractors may reduce their workers’ wages to win bids on government contracts – putting contractors who pay their workers fair wages at a disadvantage.”

Whew! Never mind that “prevailing wages” force taxpayers to again pay an inflated premium on public works projects.

And EPI also praises government mandating private business to offer paid sick leave.

Never mind (as today’s Policy Brief Vol. 20, No. 35 yet again points out) that such a short-sighted measure is poor public policy that harms business growth in good times and will retard recovery in these coronavirus pandemic times.

We guess there’s Economic Policy Institute “reality” and economic reality. We prefer the latter.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).