- - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Big government means ideological double standards. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new federal agency headed by an Obama crony, is illegally and without consequence retaliating against employees who allege discrimination (“Bureaucrats gone wild: Feds describe racial hostility, discrimination inside new Obama agency,” Web, Aug. 27).

Yet under a recent Obama executive order, private companies can now be entirely barred from federal contracts if bureaucrats or courts say they committed labor-law violations. This includes even very vague laws that large companies inevitably violate by mistake (“Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors,” Web, July 31). Thus, some private companies face a financial death sentence for the very conduct that bureaucrats engage in with impunity.

President Obama’s executive order will increase the cost of government contracts by making them riskier and by enabling trial lawyers to extort huge payoffs from companies. The president claims he has the power to issue this order to promote efficiency in federal procurement, but many laws covered by his order seek to promote social justice at the expense of efficiency. Ironically, one of those laws (the Davis-Bacon Act) not only requires excessive and uneconomical wages for certain workers, but also had racist origins.


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HANS BADER

Senior attorney, Competitive Enterprise Institute



Washington

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