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Robert Reich: Keep stimulus money away from skilled workers and “white male construction workers”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 22, 2009 05:01 AM

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.

Reich wrote on his blog:

The stimulus plan will create jobs repairing and upgrading the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewage system, public-transit systems, electricity grid, and schools. And it will kick-start alternative, non-fossil based sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and so on); new health-care information systems; and universal broadband Internet access.

It’s a two-fer: lots of new jobs, and investments in the nation’s future productivity.

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.

What to do? There’s no easy solution to either dilemma…

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.

I’d suggest that 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 with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. And at least 2 percent of project funds should be allocated to such training. In addition, advantage should be taken of buildings trades apprenticeships — wich must be fully available to women and minorities.

Reich made similar comments in his Jan. 7 congressional testimony on economic recovery. Naked Emperor News uploaded the video:

Partial transcript:

REICH: …”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.”

Yes, God forbid the jobs go to people with track records and experience. God forbid we judge stimulus recipients on the content of their resumes as opposed to the color of their skin.

There are other people who have needs as well.

Spoken like a true-blue wealth redistributor. The “needs” (read: demands) of politically protected minorities trump the need for competently build roads and bridges.

Rep. Charlie Rangel then chimes in to kvetch about how governors need to be “forced” to comply with formulas that earmark the stimulus money based on color-coded “needs.”

I quote Rangel: “Remove the discretion! Identify the ‘need.’ Do numbers.”

Translation: Screw qualifications. Quota-monger America out of its recession.

And here’s the kicker: Rangel tells Reich that he doesn’t have to worry about middle-class opposition to their social engineering plans for the stimulus. Why? Because they’re too busy working! It’s at the 2:33 mark of the video:

RANGEL: And one thing you can depend on, you don’t have to be worried about what the middle-class is gonna do. Things are so bad. They have to put food on their tables. Clothes for their kids. Get them in school. I think this is a tremendous opportunity for a stronger America.

Rangel wraps up by advocating that Reich “force” and “mandate” his social engineering “criteria” for stimulus spending.

So much for “post-racialism.” So much for “setting aside childish things.” The Age of Obama has resurrected the same old bean-counters.

Plus ça change…

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