The racist origins of the minimum wage

**Posted by Phineas

Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

Also supported a minimum wage

I came across an interesting blog post from a few weeks ago while trolling the news this morning for something interesting. Now, we all know about the racist history of the Democratic Party: the defense of slavery, even inciting a civil war to preserve it; the creation of terrorist organizations, such as the KKK, in order to keep Blacks from exercising their rights as free citizens; and the creation of Jim Crow, which created a legal framework for Blacks’ oppression that lasted into the 1960s.

But did you know the minimum wage, the distraction du jour for Democrats anxious to talk about anything other than Obamacare’s failures, itself had its roots in minority oppression? Here’s an excerpt from a short piece in Forbes by Carrie Sheffield:

The business-friendly National Center for Policy Analysis points out “the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, requiring ‘prevailing’ wages on federally assisted construction projects, was supported by the idea that it would keep contractors from using ‘cheap colored labor’ to underbid contractors using white labor.”

African-American economist Thomas Sowell with Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution gives an uncomfortable historical primer behind minimum wage laws:

“In 1925, a minimum-wage law was passed in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with the intent and effect of pricing Japanese immigrants out of jobs in the lumbering industry.

A Harvard professor of that era referred approvingly to Australia’s minimum wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese” who were willing to work for less.

In South Africa during the era of apartheid, white labor unions urged that a minimum-wage law be applied to all races, to keep black workers from taking jobs away from white unionized workers by working for less than the union pay scale.”

It is a plain-as-day fact that raising the cost of labor will force a business to do one of four things:

  • Go out of business
  • Accept lower profits
  • Raise prices for the consumer
  • Or cut employee hours or reduce the number of jobs to compensate for higher costs.

The first two are very unlikely to happen, which leaves passing on the cost to the consumer or cutting back on labor. And if the owners decide to cut back on labor, guess whose hours get the ax first? That’s right, it’s most likely the lower or unskilled employee, because it makes less sense to pay them the higher wage when you have more skilled employees who give more value in return for their wages. Now, just who makes up a large percentage of that at-risk labor force? That’s right: young Blacks.

The next time you encounter some Lefty blathering about raising the minimum wage, ask them why they have it in for young people and Blacks.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama to high-dollar donors: Americans are “better off” since I was elected

King Obama

Image via Salon.com

Oh really?

President Obama said Americans were “better off now than when I came into office,” during a fundraiser Monday night outside of Washington.

Obama also slammed congressional Republicans for their focus on the terror attack in Benghazi and the implementation of ObamaCare.

The president told attendees at the high-dollar soiree in Potomac, Maryland that his Republican opposition in Congress had been “captured by ideologues” whose principal focus was on “how to make people sufficiently skeptical, so they can win the next election.”

“The debate now is about what?” Obama asked. “Benghazi? ObamaCare? It becomes this endless loop.”

Obama told donors that he preferred a robust Republican Party —  “I come from the Land of Lincoln” — but that the current iteration of the GOP did not believe “that government can get anything done.”

Obama’s remarks came at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the home of Jeffrey Drenzer, a medical training and technology executive. Tickets to the event, billed as an “intimate dinner,” ranged from $10,000 per person to $32,400 per couple.

Because it’s wrong to be skeptical about government. It’s wrong to expect your government should be held accountable for its incompetence. It’s wrong to think people should be able to hold on to more of their own money. It’s wrong to believe you need to do everything you can to foster a climate of investment and job growth.  And it’s wrong that people expect you to keep your promises on, I dunno, things like being able to keep their doctor and plans if they liked them.  Silly me.

Out here in the real world people are struggling to make ends meet, more are working part time and temporary positions – or have dropped out of the workforce altogether out of frustration, are paying more for their health insurance and/or are on plans they didn’t like and/or can barely afford … the list goes on. Our celebrity President can wine and dine and captivate his big money donors all he wants to, get them to (literally) buy anything he says, but no fancy speeches and no grand gestures on his part in efforts to sugarcoat today’s economic climate can/will change that.

Part time and temporary jobs are rising in the age of #Obamanomics

Unemployment line


Photo via the pepperhawkfarm blog.

What a surprise. Via the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — While the U.S. economy has improved since the Great Recession ended five years ago, part-time and “contract” workers are filling many of the new jobs.

Contract workers made up less than half of one percent of all U.S. employment in the 1980s but now account for 2.3 percent. Economists predict contract workers will play a larger role in the years ahead.

They are a diverse army of laborers, ranging from janitors, security officers, home-care and food service-workers to computer programmers, freelance photographers and illustrators. Many are involved in manufacturing. Many others are self-employed, working under contracts that lay out specific responsibilities and deadlines.

Labor leaders and many economists worry. Contract workers have less job security and don’t contribute to the economy through spending as much as permanent, full-time workers. Nor do they have the same job protections. Few are union members.

“It is not hugely clear that we’re coming into a temp-worker, contract-worker, contingent-worker nation. But it’s something to keep an eye on,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute. “There’s definitely been an increase in the share of those working part time.”

Part-time and contract jobs in the past tended to rise during recessions and recede during recoveries. But maybe no longer: Part-time workers have accounted for more than 10 percent of U.S. job growth in the years since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Meanwhile, union membership has been sliding steadily since the mid-1980s.

And here I thought Obamacare and a national (and statewide in some parts of the country) push for a minimum wage hike were supposed to help people …