Minimum Wage Mandates: The Tools of Racists Everywhere

Let’s work through an example. Suppose 100 yards of fence could be built using one of two techniques. You could hire three low-skilled workers for $15 each, or you could hire one high-skilled worker for $40. Either way, you get the same 100 yards of fence built. If you sought maximum profits, which production technique would you employ? I’m guessing that you’d hire one high-skilled worker and pay him $40 rather than hire three low-skilled workers for $15 each. Your labor costs would be $40 rather than $45.

Suppose the high-skilled worker came into your office and demanded $55 a day. What would be your response? You’d probably tell him to go play in the traffic and hire the three low-skilled workers. After all, hiring the three low-skilled workers for $45, to get the same 100 yards of fence, would be cheaper than the $55 a day now demanded by the high-skilled worker.

The high-skilled worker is not stupid and knows that’s exactly what you’d do. He will do a bit of organizing first, convincing decent, caring people that low-skilled workers are being exploited and not earning a living wage and that Congress should enact a minimum wage in the fencing industry of at least $20. After Congress enacts a minimum wage of $20, what then happens to the chances of a high-skilled worker’s successfully demanding $55 a day? They go up because he’s used the coercive powers of Congress to price his competition out of the market. Because of the minimum wage, it would cost you $60 to use the three low-skilled workers.

The minimum wage not only discriminates against low-skilled workers but also is one of the most effective tools of racists everywhere. Our nation’s first minimum wage came in the form of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931. During the legislative debate over the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects, racist intents were obvious.

Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., supported the bill, saying he had “received numerous complaints in recent months about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South.” Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., complained: “That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.” Rep. William Upshaw, D-Ga., spoke of the “superabundance or large aggregation of Negro labor.” American Federation of Labor President William Green said, “Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.” The Davis-Bacon Act, still on the books today, virtually eliminated blacks from federally financed construction projects when it was passed.

During South Africa’s apartheid era, the secretary of its avowedly racist Building Workers’ Union, Gert Beetge, said, “There is no job reservation left in the building industry, and in the circumstances, I support the rate for the job (minimum wage) as the second-best way of protecting our white artisans.” The South African Nursing Council condemned low wages received by black nurses as unfair. Some nurses said they wouldn’t accept wage increases until the wages of black nurses were raised. The South African Economic and Wage Commission of 1925 reported that “while definite exclusion of the Natives from the more remunerative fields of employment by law has not been urged upon us, the same result would follow a certain use of the powers of the Wage Board under the Wage Act of 1925, or of other wage-fixing legislation. The method would be to fix a minimum rate for an occupation or craft so high that no Native would be likely to be employed.”

Whether support for minimum wages is motivated by good or by evil, its effect is to cut off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder for the most disadvantaged worker and lower the cost of discrimination.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    "The minimum wage not only discriminates against low-skilled workers but also is one of the most effective tools of racists everywhere. Our nation’s first minimum wage came in the form of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931. During the legislative debate over the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects, racist intents were obvious."

    It's the most effective form of stealth racism because the victims think they're being well looked after. And when you add the welfare system…one wonders if anyone really loses other than those who pay taxes.

  • Mary Sue

    And the Low Information Worker doesn't realize it!

  • AnOrdinaryMan

    A number of years ago, I responded to a knock on my front door. There was a 20-something man on my porch, canvassing the neighborhood, for the "living wage." For 10 minutes or so, he ranted about how nice it would be if a certain janitor he knew was to receive a pay hike, to $20 an hour; and how raising the minimum wage would help low-income workers everywhere. When I was able to slow him down, I applied a strong dose of Dr. William's logic, as described above. It didn't make much of an impression; he went right back to his pitch. In the course of the conversation, he admitted he was a Democrat.

    • Mary Sue

      it's worse than that! Every once in a while some empty-headed intellectual (or normally intelligent people who should know better) advocate the "Guaranteed Minimum Income" which doesn't necessarily mean that an employer pays it directly, but rather it's topped up by the Government. (which the employer does end up paying for via higher taxes!) In Canada the advocates of this insanity pass it off as a "citizens' income", the money you get for being a citizen of the country; as if being such entitles you to government largesse!

  • cynthia curran

    The biggest threat to blacks has not been the mimuim wage but illegal hispanics that taking in some parts of the us every short order cook job, every fastfood job, every car wash job. Support e-verify and blacks willl get jobs.

    • ffortnightly

      Since the incoming border jumpers also hate white Americans (Gringos), they SEEMED to have something in common with black Americans who, by and large, hate the same people. It has taken more than a decade, almost 2 for them to even start to realize how they are being displaced in the job market and marginalized politically by this MASSIVE influx.

      Since I am white, even discussing these facts makes me a "racist". But then, both of these groups assume I'm a "racist" simply because I am white. So what's the point?
      Grobbbbbbbbbbbb

  • Jim

    My first job payed below minimum wage. (The employer ignored the min wage law.) The experience was more valuable than some of the (nearly worthless) education I payed for in college. Work education can be a better choice than much of college education. And work pays the student rather than the other way around.

  • RAH

    As always, Dr. Williams is on target. My first job, as a junior in high school in 1962, was stocking shelves and delivering groceries on a large-basket bike. (I’m stronger now. I can carry $20 of groceries in one hand, needed the bike then.) I got $1 per hour plus tips. I was rich. Even richer in the work ethic and customer service skills I learned. They serve me in good stead today, as a non-profit manager making an excellent (if not Obama-rich $250k) salary. I will link to this from my Old Jarhead blog. (www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com)

    Robert A. Hall
    USMC 1964-68
    USMCR, 1977-83
    Massachusetts Senate, 1973-83
    Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
    All royalties go to help wounded veterans
    For a free PDF of my 80-page book, write tartanmarine(at)gmail.com

  • the surpreme leader

    i am not asking for to protest i demand it,mass protest,mass boycott and mass walkouts don’t stop till minimum wage is at least $15 an hour.