Defending Obama, I wrote:

[P]rotection for unions. Again, there is no card-check legislation. It was not a priority. It was not snuck into the stimulus package.

Adam Ozimek agrees that "Obama has not done everything he could to help unions, and he’s accomplished some thing despite strong union opposition..." But:

I do think that the stimulus did suffer as a result of handouts to unions in the form of the prevailing wage provision.

This is the part of the Recovery Act that requires that any construction project funded by stimulus must comply with Davis-Bacon. This law prevents companies from areas where labor costs are low from bidding on contracts based on wages they would be willing to pay. So a construction company from a poor county with high unemployment that can pay workers $20 an hour loses it’s competitive advantage when bidding on projects in a nearby high wage county where prevailing wages are $40 an hour. This distortion gives an unfair advantage to local companies, creates less jobs, and means money will be spent more inefficiently.

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