Walter E. Williams

Both Democratic and Republican leaders give support to economic agendas harmful to poor black people. A particularly egregious example is New York City's taxicab licensing law that requires that a person, as of May 2007, pay $600,000 for a license to own and operate one taxicab. Then there's the Davis-Bacon Act that mandates "prevailing wages" be paid on all federally financed or assisted construction projects. The Davis-Bacon Act is a pro-union law that discriminates against non-unionized black construction contractors and black workers. In fact, that was the original intent of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931. During its 1931 legislative debate, quite a few congressmen expressed their racist intentions, such as Rep. Clayton Allgood, D-Ala., who said, "Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country." While today's supporters of the Davis-Bacon Act talk differently, its discriminatory effects are the same.

If a politician had the guts to take on these issues, it's stupid to address them through the black civil rights or education establishment, or the black political structure. The reason is that blacks who are members of, or are served by, these establishments have an interest in the status quo.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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