MARCH 9, 2017
Published by Frank Manzo
The Brookings Institution and Wilson Center are two of the top 10 research organizations in the United States.
Together, these nonpartisan organizations have relaunched The Fiscal Ship, an online “game” that challenges people to put the federal budget on a sustainable course over the next 25 years. Picking from the menu of tax and spending options can be pretty eye-opening for many Americans.
Embedded in the game is one interesting policy option called “repeal federal construction wage law.” Picking this option means that you’d repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that workers on federally-assisted construction projects be paid the local prevailing wage. The posited argument for repeal is that it would save the government money. The argument against repeal is:
“This is just another way to push down wages of hard-working folks. Davis-Bacon blocks out-of-town firms from parachuting in with low-paid workers and under-cutting local contractors. It could lead to lower-quality work by less-skilled workers.
Interestingly, if you play the game and only choose to repeal the federal prevailing wage law from the list of tax and spending options, your plan results in a 0% change in federal revenue and a 0% change in federal spending. The game gives you a positive mark if your goal is to shrink government but a negative mark if you goal is to reduce inequality.
Ultimately, your plan gets declined as not helping to fix the budget.