The racist origins of the minimum wage
**Posted by Phineas
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)