300,000 Federal Contractors Just Became More Expensive for Taxpayers

Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring Federal contractors to get paid sick leave.

I know the Associated Press is biased, but their description of President Obama as “showing solidarity with workers on Labor Day” by signing the executive order was more sickening than usual. The President didn’t give up one of his family’s lavish vacations to help any workers. The president simply ordered contractors to spend more money on each employee, money that will ultimately come from Federal debt and then the Federal taxpayer.

Anyone who knows what kind of houses the President has lived in, and what kind of “jobs” he has held, knows that it is laughable to think that he has solidarity of any kind with labor.

The White House wouldn’t specify the cost to federal contractors to implement the executive order, which Obama was to address at a major union rally and breakfast in Boston. The Labor Department said any costs would be offset by savings that contractors would see as a result of lower attrition rates and increased worker loyalty, but produced nothing to back that up.

I have to admit, I’m impressed that the AP story, after beginning with such an awful piece of propaganda about “solidarity,” changed course and bluntly told us that the White House has no idea what the consequences will be for what they are doing.

Under the executive order, employees working on federal contracts gain the right to a minimum of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours they work. Stretched out over 12 months, that’s up to seven days per year. The order will allow employees to use the leave to care for sick relatives as well, and will affect contracts starting in 2017 — just as Obama leaves office.

The Obama administration has been working on the executive order for months, and chose Labor Day to announce it as Obama works to enact what policies he can before his presidency ends despite resistance in Congress to laws he’s proposed to improve workplace conditions. That push has reverberated in the 2016 campaign, where Democratic candidates are seeking to draw a distinction with Republicans on who’s most supportive of the middle class.

“There are certain Republicans that said we can’t afford to do this,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. He lamented how paid leave is seen as a partisan issue in the U.S. despite broad support in Europe. “The Republican Party is out of step with similar conservative governments around the world,” he said.

No, we’re not a socialist country and we have a party that is (at least nominally) knowledgeable in economics. Wages and benefits are negotiated between employers and employees. There is no reason why the government should be getting in the way of those negotiations. There are plenty of businesses that offer sick days because they need to do so to attract the workers they want. Others don’t need to offer sick days.

What happens if workers find their wages go down because they now have sick days instead? Is the President promising that will never happen? That would be another version of, “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”