-- Gun Control. Gun control laws, in the beginning, sought to disarm blacks. Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, in the infamous Dred Scott case which defined blacks as property, said that if blacks were "entitled to the privileges and communities of citizens, . . . [i]t would give persons of the negro race . . . the right . . . to keep and carry arms wherever they went . . . inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the state. . . ." In "Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story," author Antonia Felix describes the secretary of state's early years in the Jim Crow South. Rice watched her father and neighbors guard black neighborhoods with shotguns against armed, white vigilantes. Felix writes, "The memory of her father out on patrol lies behind Rice's opposition to gun control today. Had those guns been registered, she argues, Bull Connor would have had a legal right to take them away, thereby removing one of the black community's only means of defense."
-- The Davis-Bacon Act. Introduced in 1927, this Act sought to shut out black workers from competing for construction jobs when whites complained that Southern blacks were hired to build a Long Island Veteran's Bureau hospital. In a labor market dominated by exclusionary unions demanding above-market wages, blacks at one time competed by working for less money than the unionists. Davis-Bacon stopped this by requiring federal contractors to pay prevailing union wages, causing massive black unemployment.
-- Social Security. Although Congress did not intend for Social Security to disproportionately hurt blacks, it does. Blacks have a shorter life expectancy, and therefore get less out of the system. According to the CATO Institute, "A 1996 study by . . . the RAND Corporation found . . . a net lifetime transfer of wealth from blacks to whites averaging nearly $10,000 per person. . . . A 1998 study by the Heritage Foundation . . . found that an average single black man will pay $13,377 more in payroll taxes over his lifetime than he will receive in benefits, a return of just 88 cents on every dollar paid in taxes."
-- Minimum Wage. In "Free to Choose," Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman writes that before the imposition of minimum wage laws, black teens were more likely to be employed than white teens. After the imposition of minimum wage laws, an employment gap emerged between white and black teens, with black teens becoming increasingly less employed. Friedman finds " . . . the minimum wage law to be one of the most, if not the most anti-black law on the statute books."
So who knows, when the someone-blew-up-the-levee-to-get-us theory dies down, they might turn their attention to some real problems.