Ever get mad at a delivery person for bringing your pizza late? That used to be me. Now I assume it’s late because an overpaid boss is probably making two employees do the job of 10. That’s because I worked for two years at a company with the kind of chronic understaffing that plagues many of America’s largest retailers and fast food corporations. My job was to build merchandise displays at Lowe’s, the home improvement chain. I wasn’t supposed to deal directly with customers. But when people asked me for help, I was often the only employee available. So I wound up doing everything from sawing lumber to cutting keys — all the while worrying about finishing my assigned projects.
The just-released Good Jobs First analysis — Power Outrage: Will Heavily Subsidized Battery Factories Generate Substandard Jobs? — examines a little-known provision in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act that may end up costing U.S. taxpayers more than $200 billion over the next decade, a sum above and beyond the $13 billion that state and local governments have promised as battery incentives. Lawmakers see all those billions of tax dollars as a generator of good wages, but nothing in the battery subsidy fine-print mandates — or even incentivizes — decent worker paychecks. Ford Motor, for instance, will be eligible for $6.7 billion in federal subsidies for its new $3.5-billion battery plant in Michigan, and state and local officials have already handed Ford $1.7 billion for that plant.