Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Congress Takes A Machete To The Construction Industry

Voters, politicians and pundits from both ends of the political spectrum are busy praising the fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution agreed to in Congress last week to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. If you ever wore a hard hat, you should be weeping and gnashing your teeth!

The hastily slapped together last second agreement slashed $28 billion from funding levels for fiscal year 2010. Over $17.1 billion of those cuts come directly at the expense of the construction segment of the American economy. This bill is a construction job killer as deadly as though the Congressional intent was to permanently demobilize that entire sector of American productivity. Now that the detailed list of $28 billion in cuts has been released, it is clear that $17,187,000,000.00, or 61.38%, are at the expense of the construction industry.

It seems there was not a single staffer in the legislative or the executive branches of our national government in Washington who was assigned to look at the issue of the impact this politically expedient compromise would have on various facets of either the American economy or the recovery which is still in its infancy. While the focus of the conversation was on politically divisive “issue riders” which nearly brought Washington D. C. to a grinding halt, and whether the burden of federal debt reduction should be fastened onto the shoulders of the poor, who fear program reductions, or the rich, who fear tax increases, nobody was looking at the impact this bill will have on the unemployed middle class construction worker, whose hopes of returning to work any time soon are dashed month after month by the folks wearing neckties in the halls of Congress, who were assured of a paycheck even had the government shutdown materialized.

Whatever your political leanings, it would be difficult to fashion a cogent argument for placing well over half the burden of federal budget cuts on a single segment of American industry which represents only about 5% of our domestic economy.