Conservatives who thought the anti-business, anti-freedom PRO Act was dead in the Senate are now seeing it rise from the grave inside the Build Back Better Act, a massive spending and taxation plan that President Joe Biden is championing, which would remake America into a socialist nation.
The PRO Act, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, would undermine worker rights, ensnare employers in unrelated labor disputes, disrupt the economy, and force Americans to pay union dues.
At least one element of the PRO Act that has made its way into Build Back Better. It’s the new civil penalties to be levied on employers who commit — intentionally or unintentionally — something the government deems an unfair labor practice, any infraction that the National Labor Relations Board might consider fine-worthy.
The suggested fines are enormous for businesses of any size — between $50,000 and $100,000 per offense, enough to scare the mom-and-pop employers in Alaska who don’t have the ability to hire lawyers to protect them.
According to George Washington University Economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth, imposing new civil penalties would end up losing revenue for the federal government because some companies would move operations offshore, while others would hire fewer U.S.-based workers and avoid expansion to remain under the radar of fine-happy regulators. That would lead to an erosion of revenues for the U.S. Treasury.
The proponents of the measure say it will increase the tax base, but Furchtgott-Roth says that’s a false assumption.
The reduced economic activity and commensurate decline in tax revenues would surpass the $88 million the Congressional Budget Office estimates over 10 years of revenue generated from increased civil penalties for unfair labor practices.
The provision would also disadvantage small businesses, which typically make more unintentional errors because they do not have the human resources departments or the legal expertise of larger corporations.
If, for instance, an employer makes a mistake in an employee handbook, or even tells employees not to use certain language on the job site, that could bring heat from the National Labor Relations Board, according to Furchtgott-Roth, former deputy assistant secretary for Research and Technology a the U.S. Department of Transportation and an adjunct professor of economics at George Washington University.
Another aspect now inserted into the Build Back Better Act is an outright gift to labor unions. In the section, a purchase of an electric car from a company like Honda, which is headquartered offshore, would earn the buyer a $7,500 tax credit. But if that person buys an electric vehicle from GM or Ford, that tax credit will go up to $12,500. GM and Ford are unionized, while Honda and other foreign-based auto firms, including Mercedes, are not, even though they have much of their manufacturing done in the United States, particularly in the South, where much of the auto manufacturing jobs are.
According to the National Right to Work Committee, the success of BMW’s factory located in Right to Work South Carolina, illustrates how states with laws prohibiting compulsory union dues and fees dominate U.S. auto production today.
BMW’s South Carolina plant produces roughly 400,000 vehicles annually, with more than two-thirds of the vehicles being exported to China, Germany, and other countries.
Some 72 percent of U.S. auto manufacturing in America is concentrated in right-to-work states. The Build Back Better Act provision awarding uneven tax credits is a sanction on those manufacturers.