Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, July 28, 2005

But Doesn't This Steal Jobs from "Real" Workers?

Blind workers at two different Lighthouse work centres in Texas are employed making uniform pants for U.S. soldiers.

The Army contract calls for about 60,000 pairs of trousers to be made by San Antonio Lighthouse this year and 120,000 pairs at El Paso Lighthouse for the Blind.

Similar work, along with production of the accompanying uniform jacket, is being done by sight-impaired workers in North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the National Industries for the Blind of Alexandria, Va., which oversees the contract.

The three-year contract is worth about $15 million to the participating nonprofit agencies, said Jim Gibbons, NIB's president. Workers in San Antonio are paid $8 to $13 per hour plus benefits, Delgado said.
In the past, I have heard rumblings from unions that such projects steal jobs from "real workers". Maybe they do, although I find the term "real workers" quite objectionable.

If the contracts are not won via competitive bidding, but instead are awarded because of social policy to provide more jobs for people who are blind, then regardless of the merits of the programme on social or moral grounds, yes, the contracts do steal jobs from other workers, real or not.

[thanks to Rondi Adamson for the pointer]
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