When it comes to a fair wage for federal workers, reasonable people ought to be able to agree: Don’t pay the workers too little, but also don’t pay them an extravagant amount. Pay them what most other workers of their skill, in their local market, are paid.
This level of pay is what’s called the prevailing wage. At present, it’s the amount that people working for private companies doing contracts for the federal government are paid. The Davis-Bacon Act requires it.
Yesterday, a collection of U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would do away with this standard. S. 2617 would repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, encouraging companies doing business with the federal government, using taxpayer money, to pay their workers wages that are lower than the prevailing wage for any given profession. S. 2617 would use public money to create an artificial drag on people’s wages, further depressing income in a time when real income is already trending downward.
S. 2617 would devastate local economies across the United States, giving workers less money to spend at local businesses, resulting in fewer jobs on worse terms. S. 2617 would create a short-term increase in income for a small number of investors, however, by temporarily boosting corporate profits before the negative impact of income depression would be felt.
The following are the U.S. Senators who have signed their names in support of this ill-advised scheme: Mike Lee, David Vitter, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, Jeff Sessions, Tom Coburn, Ron Johnson, John Cornyn, Marco Rubio, and Lamar Alexander.