- Written by Ivey Brent Laminack Ivey Brent Laminack
- Category: Public Policy Public Policy
- Published: 29 November -0001 29 November -0001
I worked at a manufacturing plant a couple of summers in high school and college (You Bremen people know who). In that facility, we used metal rivets to hold cases together. Rivets being what they were, they spilled onto the floor. The boss conducted a study where he swept up the shop floor, picked rivets out of the resulting pile of trash, and sorted the black rivets from the chrome ones, weighed them and returned them to the bins. He figured he could generate about $3 worth of reused rivets in an hour. The problem was the minimum wage at the time was $3.50. So it made no ecomomic sense to re-use the rivets. Going by the numbers, he should just sweep them out the door. However, he knew of a family in town that was in dire straights. The father was injured and unable to work and the family was in a very bad way. So the boss took in one of the young teen-age sons and paid him $2.50 an hour under the table for a couple of hours a day to pick out rivets. He wasn't giving the kid a handout, but was helping him in a real, economically sound way.
Not only did this under-the-table arrangement help the struggling family, but it was an early form of recycling (before it was cool). Eliminating the minimum wage would enable many more materials to be cost-effectively recycled as illustrated in this story. So eliminating the minimum wage is actually Green.