New prevailing wage rates raise good questions

A Daily Mail editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After months of wrangling and much ink spilled, the state has set new prevailing wage rates for state-funded construction projects.

Are they the “right” rates? Who knows?

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael is asking the right question: “Why do we put ourselves through this and twist ourselves into pretzels to determine what the wage rates are?”

The simple answer is that even though they represent a small minority of workers in this state, labor unions still have tremendous influence, especially over certain politicians. And higher-than-market, government-mandated wages are what unions want.

But Carmichael’s question strikes at a deeper truth. Why don’t we have a state Grocery Board to set the “prevailing price” for milk and bread? Or a Media Board to tell you what you must pay for this newspaper…

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