An Illustration of Why Eliminating the Minimum Wage Was Good

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.

More Thoughts on the Minimum Wage

"But you can't live on that small a wage." Right. Guess what? Working all day and having nothing to show for it is motivation to start working smarter. This is as old as Solomon. "The laborer's appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on." Proverbs 16:26 NIV. This isn't talking about a lazy man being hungry as Proverbs commonly does. This is talking about a man working hard and still being hungry. This is motivation. Having to provide the basics of food and shelter are the bottom-level motivation that gets people going. Sometimes in our contemporary American culture of luxury and entitlement, we forget the base realities of life.

A No-Cost Way to Generate a Million Jobs

The politicos are proposing spending billions of dollars to create a couple of million jobs. Here's a suggestion of a way to create a million jobs that requires no government spending. Ready? Simple:
Eliminate the minimum wage.
It's that simple. Ask any economist.

More on Job Creation

I've had some pushback from my suggestion that repealing the minimum wage would create a million jobs. "But nobody could feed a family of 4 on that kind of wage" is the general pushback. I never said one could. The jobs created would be entry-level jobs: mostly part-time and for teenagers. This answers several problems like the Catch-22 of "All the jobs I see require experience, but how can I get experience without a job?" These entry-level jobs are just that: places to enter the workforce. They aren't designed to be places to work your whole life. Oh, yes, creating a million entry-level jobs would by necessity create, what a hundred thousand new management jobs to oversee these new workers? Now we're starting to see real job creation.

Is this what would really happen? Yes. Before President Johnson's "Great Society" experiment where he raised the minimum wage, the unemployment rate among black male teenagers was actually lower than white male teenagers. Why? Because black male teenagers would generally work for lower wages. Raising the minimum wage threw tens of thousands of black male teenagers out of work. Minimum wage legislation is generally sponsored by trade unions trying to protect their jobs agains lower-wage competition. I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but the minimum-wage legislation of the 1960s and 70s had a pronounced racial bias, destroying the jobs of disproportionately more blacks than whites. Again, I don't know if that was the intent, but the result was definitely racist.

Time to Go

Ok, it's officially time for the electorial college to go away. It never really worked: see the Jefferson/Van Buren mess in our 3rd presidential election. It causes disproportiante representation favoring small states. Time for a constitutional ammendment to fix our system of voting.

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