The Case against the Davis-Bacon Act: 54 Reasons for Repeal

(Transaction Press, 2013)

Book Forum
October 17, 2012 12:00PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring the author Armand Thieblot, Olin Institute, George Mason University; with comments by Maurice Baskin, Partner, Venable, LLP, and co-author of Construction Union Tactics to Regain Jobs and Public Policy; moderated by James A. Dorn, Editor, Cato Journal, and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Cato Institute.

The Davis-Bacon Act, the law that sets wages typically at or near the union rate for workers on billions of dollars worth of public works annually, has afflicted the construction industry for eight full decades. Obsolete and impossible to administer fairly when first passed in 1931, it has not improved since. It has been actively sustained through biased participation by the Department of Labor for the exclusive benefit of organized labor. If not repealed, Davis-Bacon will add billions of dollars of unnecessary costs to public works built over the next decade. Armand Thieblot, a longtime student of the act, documents some major reasons—in addition to cost savings—to repeal it, and shows why actions short of repeal will not be effective. Repeal of Davis-Bacon early in the coming administration will provide major stimulus to a construction industry that desperately needs the help.

Advance copies of the book will be exclusively available at the forum.