Wall Street Journal -- What do the farm bill, the cap-and-trade global warming bill, the clean water bill, the housing bailout bill, and the school construction bill all have in common? Not much, except that in each one and countless others the Democratic majority in Congress has inserted "prevailing-wage" requirements that amount to a super-minimum wage.
This year's farm bill was the first in 75 years to require Davis-Bacon wages, in this case for the construction of ethanol plants. Democrats also slipped in Davis-Bacon rules for the wind, solar and other alternative energy projects.
What's so bad about that? According to the WSJ:
- Federal construction costs are inflated by anywhere from 5% to 39% by requiring de facto union wages. In many cities the mandated Davis-Bacon wage is twice as high as the market wage. So while Democrats insist that one of their top priorities is to solve America's "infrastructure crisis," what they aren't saying is that we could be building about 25% more bridges and roads by repealing Davis-Bacon.
- Davis-Bacon policies victimize minorities. A study by economists at Stanford and Harvard found that when states have repealed their Davis-Bacon laws, this "is associated with a decline in the union wage premium and an appreciable narrowing of the black/nonblack wage differential for construction workers."
What's next? Maybe a Davis-Bacon "jobs bank"?
Read Walter Williams' case for the repeal of Davis-Bacon here.