Monday, September 27, 2010

The Racist History of the Minimum Wage

Did you know that the minimum wage laws were originally instituted to protect the job of high wage whites and crowd out the market for "negro labor"? ...Yeah, it was new to me too.


Ok, which is more "humane", "fair", and "just"? Hiring four people for $25.00 an hour to complete a job? Or hiring five people for $20.00 an hour? Hiring 10 people for $10.00 an hour? Or if you really want to help the little guy, why not hire 20 people at $5.00 an hour?

The rational response to that question is.... All of the above. It depends on the situation. But if you mandate that the starting wage must be $25.00 an hour???? Who is going to get hired first? The homeless guy, who would ordinarily be willing to work for $5.00 ? Or the already privileged white guy with the college degree?

If you need a lot of low-skilled work done, and you're in a high wage area? Tough luck. Send it to China.

The Davis-Bacon Act:
Let's Bring Jim Crow to an End

The Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that federal construction contractors pay their workers "prevailing wages," was passed by Congress in 1931 with the intent of favoring white workers who belonged to white-only unions over non-unionized black workers. The act continues to have discriminatory effects today by favoring disproportionately white, skilled and unionized construction workers over disproportionately black, unskilled and non-unionized construction workers. Because Davis-Bacon was passed with discriminatory intent and continues to have discriminatory effects, its enforcement violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law.

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