Business: Nixon's Half Swing at Construction Costs

ALMOST to the last, Richard Nixon's lieutenants brandished his formidable power to freeze wages and prices. Last week, however, the President chose the mildest action open to him to restrain the public-be-damned surge of wages and prices in the nation's largest industry. Declaring that an inflationary "emergency" exists in construction, Nixon suspended the 40-year-old Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that locally "prevailing wages" be paid on federally aided building.

The law has generally meant that all workers on these projects draw top union scale for the area, even when workmen on most similar private jobs are earning less. "Wage rates on federal projects...

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