I first came across the history of the Davis-Bacon Act several years ago while I was doing some research on African-American labor history. It is supposedly a pro-labor law that says federal projects must pay the “prevailing wage” to workers in any region. As the WSJ correctly points out though “Davis-Bacon was devised in part as a way to keep blacks and immigrants from federal construction projects during the Depression.”
You would think that a law with such racist intentions wouldn’t have been repealed decades ago, but organized labor has made sure the law is still in place to this day. This has always blown my mind.
Using Obama’s own words and citing a study from Massachusetts’ own Beacon Hill Institute, the Journal is calling for a repeal of the law. I think this would be a great start for the new Obama administration. They have the chance to actually do something for black Americans (beyond the token affirmative action talk which really does nothing for 98% of black Americans) and show that he is not totally beholden to union power.
The whole thing is a great read: