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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Minimum Wage Is Not Only Bad Economic Policy, But Racist As Well

Warner Massey, right, an employee with the Goodwill, and other low-wage employees strike after a new contract failed to meet the $15 per hour demand...
Warner Massey, right, an employee with the Goodwill, and other low-wage employees strike after a new contract failed to meet the $15 per hour demand... View Enlarged Image
Michael Hiltzik, a columnist and Los Angeles Times reporter, wrote an article titled "Does a minimum wage raise hurt workers? Economists say: We don't know."
Uncertain was his conclusion from a poll conducted by the Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business of 42 nationally ranked economists on the question of whether raising the federal minimum wage to $15 over the next five years would reduce employment opportunities for low-wage workers.
The Senate Budget Committee's blog says, "Top Economists Are Backing Sen. Bernie Sanders on Establishing a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage." It lists the names of 210 economists who call for increasing the federal minimum wage.
The petition starts off: "We, the undersigned professional economists, favor an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as of 2020."

The petition ends with this: "In short, raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2020 will be an effective means of improving living standards for low-wage workers and their families, and will help stabilize the economy. The costs to other groups in society will be modest and readily absorbed."
The people who are harmed by an increase in the minimum wage are low-skilled workers. Try this question to economists who argue against the unemployment effect of raising the minimum wage:
Is it likely that an employer would find it in his interest to pay a worker $15 an hour when that worker has skills that enable him to produce only $5 worth of value an hour to the employer's output?
Unlike my fellow economists who might argue to the contrary, I would say that most employers would view hiring such a worker as a losing economic proposition, but they might hire him at $5 an hour. Thus, one effect of the minimum wage law is that of discrimination against the employment of low-skilled workers.
In our society, the least skilled people are youths, who lack the skills, maturity and experience of adults. Many black youths not only share these handicaps but have attended grossly inferior schools and live in unstable household environments.
That means higher minimum wages will have the greatest unemployment effect on youths, particularly black youths.
A minimum wage not only discriminates against low-skilled workers but also is one of the most effective tools in the arsenal of racists.
Our nation's first minimum wage came in the form of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which sets minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects. During the legislative debates, racist intents were obvious.

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