Today’s job numbers support that premise:
Adding further pressure to President Obama heading into the election, Hispanic and Latino unemployment remained essentially unchanged at 11.0 percent.
The unemployment rate for white men and women was unchanged at 7.4 percent, while 184,000 more black American’s went without a job in June, for an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent.
My own favorite chapter in “Race and Economics” is Chapter 3, which I think is the most revealing chapter in the book.
That chapter begins, “Some might find it puzzling that during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower and blacks were more active in the labor force than they are today.”
Moreover, the duration of unemployment among blacks was shorter than among whites between 1890 and 1900, whereas unemployment has become both higher and longer-lasting among blacks than among whites in more recent times.
None of this is explainable by what most people believe or say in the media or in academia.
But it is perfectly consistent with the economics of the marketplace and the consequences of political interventions in the marketplace.
“Race and Economics” explains how such interventions impact blacks and other minorities, whether in housing markets, the railroad industry or the licensing of taxicabs-and irrespective of the intentions behind the government’s actions.
Minimum-wage laws are classic examples. The last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930.
That was also the last year in which there was no federal minimum wage law.
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was in part a result of a series of incidents in which non-union black construction labor enabled various contractors from the South to underbid Northern contractors who used white, unionized construction labor.
The Davis-Bacon Act required that “prevailing wages” be paid on government construction projects-”prevailing wages” almost always meaning in practice union wages. Since blacks were kept out of construction unions then, and for decades thereafter, many black construction workers lost their jobs.
Minimum wages were required more broadly under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, with negative consequences for black employment across a much wider range of industries.
In recent times, we have gotten so used to young blacks having sky-high unemployment rates that it will be a shock to many readers of Walter Williams’ “Race and Economics” to discover that the unemployment rate of young blacks was once only a fraction of what it has been in recent decades.
And, in earlier times, it was not very different from the unemployment rate of young whites.
Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams say it’s liberal economic policies. I trust them more than the race pimps who would disagree with them.