Episode 355 – The Dark History of the Minimum Wage

04/13/201955 Comments

There’s something strange about the idea of a minimum wage. It’s one of those subjects that everyone has a strong opinion about, even if they have no idea what makes actual economic sense. But perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that the minimum wage has a dirty secret that most economists don’t want you to know about. Today we explore The Dark History of the Minimum Wage.

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TRANSCRIPT

Minimum wage laws continue to be a political football issue in the United States, with the Fight For $15 movement and various organizations across the country campaigning for a living wage so that low-wage workers who are struggling to support a family can make ends meet.

On the surface, it seems like common sense. After all, if there were no minimum wage laws then greedy business owners would just employ slave labour, right? And it’s not like there’s any harm in raising wages. It’s a boon for the poor and a boon for the economy. Right?

But there’s something strange about the idea of a minimum wage. It’s one of those subjects that everyone has a strong opinion about, even if they have no idea what makes actual economic sense. And, as in most cases, what we don’t know about the economics of wage floors can hurt us.

But perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that the minimum wage has a dirty secret that most economists don’t want you to know about.

Today we explore The Dark History of the Minimum Wage.

This is The Corbett Report.

So why $15 an hour? Why not $20? Or $50? Heck, if we made the minimum wage $150 an hour we’d all be millionaires. Right?

JUSTIN MONTICELLO: So would you mind just putting an ‘X’ next to the minimum wage that you’d like to see?

INTERVIEWEE 1: Definitely not five dollars. Probably not a hundred dollars. I don’t know, I’m guessing 15 kind of seems about right.”

INTERVIEWEE 2: Probably 15/16 dollars an hour. Maybe even 17. Let’s go 18 an hour. What a laugh that is.

INTERVIEWEE 3: Let’s go $25 an hour, make it something real.

SHOW NOTES: How High Would You Make the Minimum Wage? We Asked L.A. Residents.

It may sound dumb at first, but why not? If $15 an hour is good, then surely $20 an hour is better. So why not more? What’s the actual economics at play here?

To understand the actual economic effects of minimum wage policies, we can turn to actual economists. Like Jacob Vigdor. He’s the head researcher of The Minimum Wage Study at the University of Washington, which is looking into the effects of Seattle’s recent minimum wage increase.

JACOB VIGDOR: So this all started back in 2014 when Seattle City Council passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage in stages. At the time the ordinance was passed, Washington State’s minimum wage was $9.47/hour. The policy increased the minimum wage in phases up to $15/hour on a different phasing schedule for businesses depending on their size and whether they offered health benefits. So the largest business reached the $15/hour level on January 1st of 2017; smaller businesses just reached the $15 level this year, January 1st of 2019. And so our efforts to study this have really focused on the initial years of the implementation in 2015 and 2016, the first steps up towards $15.

JAMES CORBETT: Alright, I guess the big question and the one that I suppose we could spend an hour talking about is: What did you find? What are the main findings of the study?

VIGDOR: What we found that was very surprising to people was this pattern where the number of people we observed working in the low-wage labor market, [and the] hours we observed people working in the low-wage labor market, reduced significantly. We generally found that the reductions in hours were sufficient to completely offset the increase in wages, so the total amount paid out in the low-wage labor market declined.

That was sort of the punch line of the first paper we released, and that was back in the summer of 2017. And then we came out with this follow-up paper, which added a lot more nuance to the story. And what we did there, instead of just tallying up the number of jobs and the number of hours worked [. . . ] we saw in the data and tracked them forward and understand what was happening to them.

So there the story was a little bit different. What we found, experienced workers—so workers who by the time the minimum wage starts going up [. . . ] by and large did fine. Their wages went up, they did not have any reduction in the likelihood of remaining employed, so they didn’t necessarily lose their jobs as a consequence of the minimum wage. They saw some slight reduction in the hours that they worked, but overall we found that they came out ahead to the order of about $20 a week. The less experienced workers, we did see that their wages went up but we saw them have a proportionately larger decrease in their hours and so they ended up more or less breaking even, you know, give or take.

So the picture that ends up being painted by all these patterns is that the people who we were really most concerned about, the people who have been in the low-wage labor market for a longer period of time, they do look like they are coming out ahead. But when we ask the question, where do these overall job losses come from, it comes from the greater reduction in hours for inexperienced workers. And if you were a worker who had no labor market experience with the higher minimum wage, what we’re seeing is that there are fewer of those types of new workers coming into Seattle’s labor market. So it’s becoming harder to get hired without prior experience. And that is one example of a piece of information that we got from, say, the administrative data analysis that would [. . .] by what we were hearing in our surveys with business owners, who were telling us, “Look, if I’m gonna hire someone for $13-$15 an hour, I want somebody who is experienced, I want somebody who I don’t have to train on the job.”

SOURCE: Interview 1428 – Jacob Vigdor on the Seattle Minimum Wage

As the latest economic research is beginning to demonstrate, the minimum wage is not just a helping hand for low paid workers; it is at the same time a barrier to employment for the least experienced. After all, why pay a human an increasingly high wage to do what a robot can do for free?

For some, this is not an arcane field of study to be researched behind the walls of the academic ivory tower. It is a hard truth that reflects low-wage workers’ daily struggle to find work in an economy where the government is increasingly regulating them out of a job.

JIM EPSTEIN: In the past six years industries like car washes that employ low-skilled workers have been the target of lawsuits for alleged under-payment of wages. . .

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN: . . . and they both engaged in rampant labor law violations.

EPSTEIN: . . . an ambitious unionization drive, and a successful campaign to raise the minimum wage in New York to $15 per hour.

ANDREW CUOMO: We’re going to lead the way. The nations are going to watch us and we’re going to raise up this state.

EPSTEIN: But here’s what really happened: Instead of helping New York’s low-wage workers, the movement is destroying their jobs. It’s pushed some car washes to replace their employees with machines and others to close down. Increasingly, workers have no choice but to ply their trade out of illegal vans parked on the street because the minimum wage has made it illegal for anyone to hire them at the going rate. At the same time, businesses that have chosen to automate are benefiting, because outlawing cheap labor makes it harder for new competitors to undercut them on price and service.

SOURCE: The $15 Minimum Wage Is Turning Hard Workers Into Black Market Lawbreakers

It seems like a great irony that the policies that are meant to help the poor are the same policies that are taking away their jobs. But in fact, this is not a bug in the policy; it’s a feature.

Economic historian Thomas C. Leonard has devoted extensive research to the economists and the economic ideas of the progressive era in American politics, which started in the late 19th century and achieved its zenith during the administration of Woodrow Wilson. In Leonard’s research, he documents how the first advocates of the minimum wage did not do so because they believed that a wage floor would help the poor to earn more money; they advocated for a minimum wage because it helps to disemploy the so-called “unemployables” and, it was hoped, eliminate them from the gene pool.

THOMAS C. LEONARD: The “unemployable” is a kind of buzz phrase that I think was probably coined by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who were Fabian socialists, founders of the London School of Economics, and whose work was widely read by American progressives and with whom American progressives had a very kind of fruitful trans-Atlantic interaction with.

It’s a misnomer, of course, because the “unemployable” refers to people many of whom were actually employed. And the idea here is that a certain category of worker is willing to work for wages below what progressives regarded as a living wage or a fair wage and that these sorts of people, who were often called feeble-minded when they were mentally disabled, or defectives when they were physically disabled were doing the sort of transgressing in multiple ways.

The first thing was by accepting lower wages, they were undermining the deserving American working men or American really means Anglo-Saxon. The second thing is, because they were willing to accept low wages, the American worker was unwilling to do so—to accept these low wages—and so instead opted to have smaller families. That argument went by the name of race suicide.

SOURCE: Free Thoughts Podcast Episode 125 

LEONARD: The solution, by the way, to race suicide—a very potent solution which was first proposed by Richard T. Ely—was a minimum wage. And the idea [was that] if you had a minimum wage, you would sort the undesirables, who would lose their job if they were already working or would be deterred from coming to the United States in the first place. So if you have a minimum wage, you assure that only the most productive workers—who are assumed to be Anglo-Saxon, White Protestant men—will keep their jobs and get a raise, and all the inferiors of various types will either lose their job or will be deterred from coming in the first place. Only the most productive deserving workers keep their jobs and thus can afford to support larger families, thereby averting a race to the racial bottom.

Source: Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era

In his work, Leonard demonstrates how this propensity for minimum wage laws to keep the poor, the “feebleminded,” the “shiftless,” and other “unemployables” out of the work force was not some fringe idea or unwanted side effect of these policies, but the main economic argument for putting these laws into place. The idea, according to its leading proponents, was to make sure that the undesirable workers would not be able to get work by undercutting the wages of more “respectable” labourers, and thus they would not be able to support families. By this process, the family trees of those deemed unworthy of the minimum wage would dwindle and the families of “better stock” who could earn their keep at a higher wage would flourish.

As alien as this thinking is to most of us today, it is part of a guiding philosophy of the progressive era: eugenics. As we learned in “Why Big Oil Conquered The World,” eugenics was the belief that the rich and powerful were, by virtue of their genes, fit to rule over the inferior classes, and that the poor suffered not from chance, fate, ingrained social hierarchy or other forms of injustice, but from poor genes.

JOE PLUMMER: Eugenics is basically a movement among the elite to eradicate what they deem the inferior classes, and that’s the inferior social classes, racial classes, ethnic classes. More or less everyone who isn’t up to their standards. And after eradicating those classes, what they aim to do is genetically engineer themselves to such a high level that the remaining population that they permit to exist beneath them will never have the power to overthrow them, essentially. The end of history.

So, the term itself was coined by Galton and it essentially means “well-born.” The idea is kind of a mix of a bunch of ideas that were circulating around the 1850s. So if you go back to, say, Mendel, Mendel was studying hereditary characteristics in pea plants. And he was able to determine that certain characteristics were being passed on and that these things could be determined and essentially predicted.

SOURCE: Why Big Oil Conquered The World

When eugenics was brought to the shores of turn-of-the-century America by Charles Davenport, it quickly received the support of the wealthy monopolists of the day, the Rockefellers and Carnegies chief among them. But more importantly, it appealed to the progressive academicians who were pioneering new fields of social science. These technocrats, convinced of the righteousness of their cause in spreading the “social gospel,” found purpose in the eugenic injunction to promote the reproduction of the “fit” and to weed out the “feebleminded” from the gene pool.

The early progressive economists made no attempt to hide their eugenic motivations in promoting minimum wage laws.

Take Henry Rogers Seager, a Columbia economist and president of the American Association for Labor Legislation, who wrote in a key paper on the minimum-wage law published in The Annals of the American Academy in 1913:

“If we are to maintain a race that is to be made up of capable, efficient and independent individuals and family groups we must courageously cut off lines of heredity that have been proved to be undesirable by isolation or sterilization of the congenitally defective. Michigan has just passed an act requiring the sterilization of congenital idiots. This may seem somewhat remote from the minimum wage but such a policy judiciously extended should make easier the task of each on-coming generation which insists that every individual who is regularly employed in the competitive labor market shall receive at least a living wage for his work.”

In 1910, Royal Meeker, a Princeton economist who served as Woodrow Wilson’s U.S. Commissioner of Labor, opined that:

“It is much better to enact a minimum-wage law, even if it deprives these unfortunates of work. Better that the state should support the inefficient wholly and prevent the multiplication of the breed than subsidize incompetence and unthrift, enabling them to bring forth more of their kind.”

Arthur Holcombe, a Professor of Government at Harvard and a member of the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Commission, wrote approvingly of how Australia’s own minimum wage laws:

“. . . protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese.”

This is the real history of the minimum wage in America. By their own admission, a belief in the eugenic effect of eradicating the lower classes from the gene pool is the reason that its early progressive proponents advocated for minimum wage laws at all.

Of course, no one is suggesting that the people marching under the Fight For $15 banner are eugenicists, or that they are trying to exterminate the “defective germplasm” of the “unemployables.” This is patently not the case.

Modern-day progressives instead turn to newer economic models and theories to defend their “living wage” movement. A highly cited 1994 study by Princeton economists David Card and Alan Krueger, for instance, purported to find that raises in minimum wage actually had, if anything, a positive effect on employment. If Card and Krueger’s findings are true, then, modern progressives might argue, it doesn’t matter why economists originally supported wage floors; the point is that they offer the working poor a hand up.

As the Minimum Wage Study at the University of Washington and similar research being conducted across academia are increasingly discovering, however, Card and Krueger’s paper (called an “intellectual revolution” by Paul Krugman) is incorrect or at the very least leaves out important details about the minimum wage’s true impact.

VIGDOR: Well, it’s sort of interesting that the Card and Krueger intervention in the literature in 1994 is almost resetting the debate. So you could you could read this history, the association of and it’s not just minimum wage policy that that ends up being associated [. . .] and a lot of these sentiments, immigration policy was tied up with these sentiments and all sorts of things. There was a consensus that emerged, sort of later on in the economics profession but before 1994, to say that okay well the minimum wage has these negative impacts, and so, you could read some of that as being a recognition of the flaws in the arguments that were presented in the Progressive Era.

Then you look at that Card and Krueger intervention and, well, hold on, as it turns out maybe these laws don’t actually result in unemployment after all. And so if the message that people believe is that minimum wages don’t cause unemployment then the the easy way to just sort of get around this sort of unseemly history of minimum wage policy is to say, well, you know that those folks back in the Progressive Era that were saying these nasty things, they were assuming that the minimum wage would have these impacts on the labor market, but it in fact they don’t, so it’s a moot point.

Now I think we want to move forward and if you look at what we’re finding here in Seattle during the period of time where it looks like the minimum wage was binding of competition and the minimum wage as a means of restricting competition in the labor market. There’s something to that, but I think that the way that it operates is as follows. A lot of . . . I’m the father of two teenage kids and I have an eleven-year-old to boot, so these younger kids, when they go out into the labor market, they are maybe looking to make a little bit of money, but they don’t need the money to pay the rent, they don’t need the money to pay for food or clothing, because, you know, they have parents to provide that for them. They’re looking to work in part because they want experience. They’re just looking for that kind of experience and their parents are probably telling them look, it’s a good thing to sort of learn the value of a dollar to just get this sort of thing on your resume. But from the perspective of someone who’s in the labor market to try to feed a family, competing with someone who is willing to work for almost any wage because the income is not really the main thing for them, that is the margin where we’re really looking these days.

The low-wage labor market is where you get some folks who are there because they’re trying to make a living and they’re trying to cover their living expenses, and you have another set of employees that are just not. They are in the labor market for a variety of reasons, but not because they will starve if they’re unemployed. And so you think about this minimum wage regulation, and if it has the impact of sort of making it tougher for those younger workers to get into the workforce, then it starts to look a little bit more like a child labor law, in effect. So that’s another Progressive Era initiative, that says, well, basically, there’s this ruinous competition between adults and kids and the kids are willing to do the work for a lot less, in part because they don’t have to support themselves.

So I guess that’s where the conversation ends up these days, but I think that if you were to point out to a minimum wage advocate that say, hey, you should read this historical literature that sort of shows that people advocated for this because they wanted to dis-employ certain types of individuals, the response is just gonna be well, okay, maybe that’s what they argued back then, but they were wrong about the dis-employment effects, so we’ll just sort of set that aside.”

In the end, perhaps it’s even worse that current-day minimum wage advocates don’t even know the eugenical roots of the minimum wage story. Minimum wage laws were never meant to give the poorest workers a hand up; they were meant as a barrier to entry for “undesirables” entering the labor force. And, as the case of the New York car wash workers and the latest economic research is bearing out, that is the effect that these laws are having even to the present day.

So as these laws continue to make it harder for the modern-day “unemployables” to find legal work, perhaps it’s time to re-insert this hidden history back into the debate about the minimum wage.

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  1. Qno says:

    James, yet another great commentary. Sorry to go off topic, but I’m sure I’m not the only one dying to hear your take on the Christchurch shootings, if that is something you’ve looked into. Some in my part of the world have described it as 9-11 2.0. Seeing how many things such as the clampdown on the internet are riding on the back of this, it is hard to overstate the particular importance of this event. It was more than another mass shooting, this was something else. Interesting, for instance, how quickly Assange was arrested. It is much easier now to see him disappear into an extra-judicial black hole and for all discussion to be erased, than it was a month ago. Loads of other lines have been crossed, like actual vaccine mandates on pain of prison and fines in the USA. In an interconnected world it’s hard not to see some overall big push happening right now.

  2. keithk says:

    “Will you, Mr. Minimum wage advocate, use violence to stop me from accepting an internship for $0.00 an hr, so I can gain on the job experience & build my resume?”

    The statist fails on economic, moral & historical aspects of all topics.

    I spent 15 years in school and university paying thousands a year, working 5-8 hrs a day, for no pay. The reason they give Universities a pass, is b/c they are propaganda arms of the state.

  3. chstr says:

    Thanks for revealing the eugenic origins of the minimum wage laws. Who knew? Speaking as someone who owned and managed an independent restaurant for 33 years, I would like to add one observation to this issue.
    Such businesses as mine operate on a very slim profit margin with a high cost of labor relative to gross sales and must rely on a staff composed mainly of minimum wage employees. Whenever the minimum wage was increased, as it was several times over the years, I had no option other than to offset the loss of profit, (when there was any), by raising my prices and cutting hours/staff wherever possible.
    I did so grudgingly, not motivated by greed but simply as a matter of survival. Even so, I was eventually forced to sell my once-thriving business as the economy deteriorated.
    My point: While raising the minimum wage does bring some improvement to the lives of the working poor, it is in reality no more than a sporadic adjustment to continuous inflation. The net improvement it brings to the lives of minimum wage workers quickly dissipates as it does not address the real problem – the steadily rising cost of living due to the continuous devaluation of our fiat currency.

    • generalbottlewasher says:

      Chstr: your story is essential and necessary in understanding these complicated ideals that Corbett tackles sometimes. You are where the rubber met the road, real life situations that reflect the outcomes of these do gooder statist intrusions. I know just how thin the restaurants profit margins where from my mechanical corporation. These restaurant owners where my friends as well as my clients. Independents almost all ran tabs for meals in exchange for services. Corporate stores had to be charged triple cause they never paid in less than 120 days.

  4. kelvin says:

    Great work James.
    Phew! I recommend nobody looks at the comments on places like YouTube without a sick bucket nearby.

  5. HomeRemedySupply says:

    NEWS
    April 12, 2019 – Yahoo Finance

    (According to Forbes (2015), the generation after Millennials, Generation Z, which they defined as people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, made up 25% of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials.) -from Wiki

    Millions of Generation Z are out of work
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/millions-of-generation-z-are-out-of-work-203517452.html

    EXCERPTS
    In the recent March jobs report, the unemployment remained 3.8%, near a 49-year low. And while minorities and women have been making gains, not all news about the tightening labor market has been good news. Minorities still face unemployment levels that are double that of their white counterparts, while young adults in large cities and counties struggle to find employment at all.

    A new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program shows that 17% of young adults aged 18-24 are out of work in big cities like Detroit and New York. That totals 2.3 million people. The majority are “disproportionately low-income, black, or Hispanic,” the findings show. The study subtracted most college students, “since attending school is a common alternate activity to employment,” and “those who were raising children as an alternative to employment or those who said they wouldn’t be pursuing employment because they were on disability or receiving other government benefits…

    …Only some 35% of 18- to 24-year-olds worked in the last year, while two-thirds only have a high school diploma. More than 30% live below the poverty line. More worryingly for their futures, only 6% of the young adults analyzed (aged 22-24) had a Bachelor’s degree.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these employment figures for young people have been trending negatively for years. For the age group of 16- to 24-year-olds, the labor force participation declined from 65.5% in 1996 to 55.2% in 2016. It is projected to drop further by 2026, to 52.5%…

    These unemployment trends aren’t equally distributed throughout the country.

    Roughly 30% of all young adults are out of work in Detroit, along with nearly 25% in New York City’s Bronx neighborhood. About a quarter of young people are also out of work in Stanislaus County in California and Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

    But in Boston, Seattle, Hennepin County in Minnesota (which includes Minneapolis), and Denton County, Texas, 10% or less of the young adult population are out of work.

    But despite dim employment prospects, most unemployed Gen Zers do want to work….

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      I am trying to wrap my head around this whole scenario in order to gain insight for things to come.
      Perhaps other Corbett members might have some thoughts.

      Gen Z
      Larger than the Baby Boomer generation!? The baby boomers had an impact upon the culture from Vietnam to consumerism. What will Gen Z bring to a culture?

      Housing, transportation, competency & skill sets, etc.
      These trends certainly will change.

      And enter the Robot / A.I. age…
      How is all this going to play a role?
      Look what Walmart is doing now with Robots…
      https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-04-09/walmart-adds-thousands-of-robots-to-workforce-to-increase-employee-productivity

      • HomeRemedySupply says:

        Eugenics Sidenote:

        From the above news source…
        April 11, 2019
        Harm Prevention or Population Control?
        Amid efforts to curb the U.S. opioid crisis, a North Carolina nonprofit is offering money to drug users who go on long-term birth control.

        https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2019-04-11/drug-addicts-offered-money-to-start-long-term-birth-control

        EXCERPTS
        …The pitch was made by Project Prevention, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that deploys an RV to various states and offers people with addictions money in exchange for their opting to use long-term birth control, like an intrauterine device or a contraceptive implant. Sterilization also can qualify patients for a payout

        …”My biggest concern is the money aspect of it can be coercive, particularly to people who are living in poverty, to someone who is concerned about paying their rent or paying a fine to get their driver’s license back,” says Frew, medical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Moms in Recovery program. She says $300 “is a lot of money, and could certainly influence their decision, maybe in a way that they might later regret.”

        But Harris says the support of hundreds of donors from across the U.S. – including the late Jack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car – has kept her organization up and running….

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      Corbett says:
      “…In the end, perhaps it’s even worse that current day minimum wage advocates don’t even know the eugenical roots of the minimum wage story.
      Minimum wage laws were never meant to give the poorest workers a hand up;
      they were meant as a barrier to entry for “undesirables” entering the labor force…”

      “…So as these laws continue to make it harder for the modern day “unemployables” to find legal work,
      perhaps it’s time to re-insert this hidden history back into the debate about the minimum wage.

      This hidden history of the Eugenics Movement and minimum wage really shines the light on how current Policy Makers are new Eugenic Style World (whether by intent or not).

      The finance article above mentions the employment of Generation Z, along with its different ethnic groups and regions.

      The future looks like a slow motion cleansing of undesirables…

      Combine the “minimum wage” factors with other Policy Maker mandates, such as the health care system and also the system’s application of the “Precautionary Principle”.

      For example:
      In the U.S., I think that the average kid is now slated to receive about 70 vaccines on the newer CDC schedule. That is a heck of a lot of aluminum injected into the body.

      Will the kids of Generation Z even be able to have kids?
      …much less afford them or want them?

      • MaryD says:

        I think that future generations need to learn about ADHESION CONTRACTS before they have children and how they enslave the masses starting from the day of birth. This contract initiates control that starts the domino effect we all are experiencing today.

        https://www.goldismoney2.com/threads/the-birth-certificate-the-source-of-all-enslaving-adhesion-contracts.2703/

        http://www.supremelaw.org/fedzone11/htm/append-t.htm

        As far as vaccines are concerned there are 300 new vaccines coming down the pipeline and Big Pharma will be free from liability. Their plan is forced vaccination cradle to the grave according to Healthy People 2020.

        https://www.phrma.org/press-release/medicines-in-development-for-vaccines

      • mkey says:

        Don’t forget that mercury is still used in preservatives.

        A substantial role will also be played by the guilt complex (birth thing and the breathing thing).

        Terrible education has cumulative effects. Lousy parents bring up lousy children who grow to become even lousier parents themselves.

        It’s been a long while back, some 10 years by now, I was standing in the row at the bakery, listening to the conversation between two women. One is saying how her kid, going to school for a few years, threatened her he’ll call cops on her if she delivers the spanking she’s been promising over some bad grades.

        The kid, about 5 years old, at the apartment next door, being parented by a decently looking young couple, kicks up such a storm (over trivial matters, I have to assume) you wouldn’t believe it. Shouting, jumping around, slamming doors and windows etc. I bet the root cause of the issue is sugar-laden diet.

        A few years back, I’m watching from my window at two girls (maybe 6-7 years old). They are dressed like “small women”, well kept at that, their hair was done etc. Their parents were nearby on the parking lot, from their accents I see they aren’t from these parts, probably from the capital. “Girls” pick up stones and hunt around neighbourhood cats. There’s absolutely no reaction from the parents.

        I remember the stories my ex-colleague was telling me about his adventures on parent meetings at the school. These classes were composed of some 30 kids, maybe one of which had some potential. The 1 in 30 was his kid. Anyway, these parents would typically demand most attention given to (their) kids who didn’t pay that much attention nor were receiving any sort of education, be it at school or at home. When my ex-colleague tried to organize some extracurricular activities for those who may be interested (maybe half a dozen kids, tops), the parents didn’t even want to listen. “These kids who are better off will take care of themselves easily”, they would say. “Our little zeroachievers are more important”.

        You have millions of these kids who never learned the value of work, don’t understand basic economics, have their brains wired for microtransactions and touch screens, have heavily reduced attention spans, heavily socialized, can’t think inside the box forget about thinking outside the box; entering adulthood. What could go wrong?

        • HomeRemedySupply says:

          mkey says: “… …What could go wrong?”
          I chuckled on that line.

          I work around a lot of guys in their early 20’s.
          I have noticed that often they talk about name brand shoes and clothing. Heck, these guys can’t afford a car.
          I asked them one day about it. Yea, they don’t mind paying high prices for tennis shoes.

          When in the ‘rag’ business in the 80’s, I sold name brands. But I didn’t care what brand I wore. I just wanted some business profit.

          This image of a preacher wearing $4,000 tennis shoes gave me a grin.
          https://sg.style.yahoo.com/lifestyle/celebrity-pastor-called-wearing-3721-sneakers-hes-not-alone-012907521.html
          He better not take a walk on the wrong side of town.

          • mkey says:

            Oh, that’s just perfect on so many levels. I’m not a religious person, but I can imagine what someone like proverbial Jesus would be like (quite possibly the scriptures are based on a real human being, somewhat akin to Jesus) and what would he think of a “preacher” like this fella.

            But, on the other hand, maybe someone left these shoes in the donation box.

  6. mik says:

    Who would think to find eugenicist also in this arena.
    Looks like Vigdor’s study found out minimum wage policy doesn’t work at least in Seattle case.

    But what can be done?
    It’s a real issue for a lot of people that are increasingly becoming invisible, kind of untouchables. Unlike for big boys, free market is fully functional for joe-six-pack and results are just bad for him anyway.

  7. UseLogic says:

    What we have here, as usual, are dueling Economists. That’s because Economics is BS. They can’t prove anything, but they can sure muddy the waters with their useless opinions.

    The basic problem with a minimum wage is that is is mandated by gov’t, which in its essence means force or violence if you don’t comply. It is the initiation of force by gov’t decree that is the ultimate problem. The absolutely free market should set all wages and organized unions should be outlawed due to their use of force via extortion to get their way. An individual may strike by quitting a job, but to have an organized gang initiate force is a different matter entirely. Don’t like your job – quit.

    As for eugenics, what precisely is wrong with wanting to minimize the human trash in a society? Current policy is to enable the trash to multiply and to even import some from other countries. This leaves the working stiff paying for more and more freeloaders. At some point, the decent working man will discover ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and figure out that he’s not alone in his thinking that he is being put upon by the political class to keep supporting human trash.

    • manbearpig says:

      “…This leaves the working stiff paying for more and more freeloaders…”

      when you say “human trash” you mean Idle Jack?

      https://www.corbettreport.com/flnwo41/

      • UseLogic says:

        By human trash I mean people who don’t pull their own weight through laziness, failure to get an education, and plain genetic predisposition to low IQ and any other type that sponges off the average working person.
        That also includes the successful upper end of the spectrum like the entire political class where someone like Elizabeth Warren can make $900,000 a year and produces nothing or the entire Kardashian clan that lives off the stupidity of their followers. The banking/finance/investment sector is another example of making people rich that are actually detrimental to the society as a whole but exist because they’ve purchased their position via ‘campaign contributions’ to the political parties.

        • generalbottlewasher says:

          That reminds me of a very short story.
          ” …as an investigator of the new administration, Carl specialized in missing technicians. He prided himself on solving some very difficult cases. He asked the Minister of Labor a direct question ” where have the sub-technitions gone? There must have been 25,000 in the camp.” The Minister looked out the window across the new Peoples Plaza where a dozen cement trucks where unloading their contents into a huge hole, turning away to face the investigator he said calmly
          ” …they have become the foundation of the future.”

          • UseLogic says:

            Is there a point I’m supposed to get from your story?

            • generalbottlewasher says:

              You dig your own grave by digging the graves of others. New paradigm for an old problem is needed or we get stuck in the past repeating the failures of the past. You do address that their are low IQ and lazy trash at all levels. Who has the right to choose ? Equally from any level ? Who could determine a humans worth, usefulness. Man I want to sit on that board. Payback time ? Its a tough issue and exposes itself to the definition of crazy. Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome each time.

              • UseLogic says:

                No one has the right to decide who is an who is not a piece of trash in a fair system. Problem is the system in place isn’t fair. If there were no long term welfare system that allows for generations of low life individuals to survive, then they themselves would decide their fate by either becoming productive or dying.

                That’s what I want – no long term support for people that for whatever reason aren’t supporting themselves. Make them decide if they want to live or die.

              • manbearpig says:

                Now I understand. That’s not eugenics.

                “As for eugenics, what precisely is wrong with wanting to minimize the human trash in a society?”

              • mik says:

                @gbw

                “New paradigm for an old problem is needed or we get stuck in the past repeating the failures of the past.”
                Exactly.

                @mbp

                It’s eugenics, a special kind, righteousness indignation variety.

        • HomeRemedySupply says:

          “human trash”

          UseLogic says: By human trash I mean people who don’t pull their own weight through laziness, failure to get an education, and plain genetic predisposition to low IQ and any other type that sponges off the average working person….

          I take issue with…
          As for eugenics, what precisely is wrong with wanting to minimize the human trash in a society?

          I’m one of these lower economic dregs of society, along with all my neighbors and co-workers. Most of my camp just copes, straining to make the bills balance each month while juggling a family and trying to make a better situation.

          As for a formal college education degree…I got one late in life, but I think that they are silly. An expensive piece of paper from ‘The Man’ which says “You’re smart in this field” is pretty dumb.

          One in 32 kids now are getting Autism.
          The Epigenetic environmental influences of our culture definitely will adversely affect the next two generations, even if all contaminants were cleaned up tomorrow.

          Are the victims “human trash”? No, I don’t think so.

          I think we better look at what factors are creating such a trashy mess of things.

          • UseLogic says:

            If you’re supporting yourself and your dependents, then I’m not talking about you and yours. It’s the millions on some form of gov’t handout year in and year out that need to be cut off the gov’t teat. What are the religions for if not to support their ‘flock’ in times of need?

            I simply don’t want gov’t to decide to extract money from me and give it to some dirtbag that is incapable of supporting himself or is too lazy or stupid to support himself. I want these people to figure out how to stay alive without sticking their hands into my pockets via the BS democratic process.

        • manbearpig says:

          UseLogic inquires:

          “…As for eugenics, what precisely is wrong with wanting to minimize the human trash in a society?…By human trash I mean people who don’t pull their own weight through laziness, failure to get an education, and plain genetic predisposition to low IQ and any other type that sponges off the average working person.”

          Well, seems to me that past designated “human trash” according to the above-cited historian Thomas C. Leonard actually held low-paid jobs but

          Fair enough.

          So will you be “The Go-To Guy” for determining who exactly the white collar or blue collar human trash is? Or perhaps the “Human Trash” gene has finally been discovered?

          Then do we raid kindergartens and send the Human Trash gene-inflicted toddlers to special camps? Or do we give the gene a chance to not express itself and wait for adulthood? Then at the slightest slacking off have the Human Trash police come pick up the genetically designated Human Trash and take them to Human Trash camps?

          And then what in addition to stigmatization?

          Mass sterilization? Intensive compensatory psychological conditioning? Euthanasia? How would you cement their fate?

          “One man’s trash is another man’s come up…”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

          • UseLogic says:

            Whatever you subsidize you get more of.

            If people want to live in a modern industrialized society, then they better be able to compete in that society.

            I believe in ‘live and let live’. If some Amazonian wants to hunt for grubs and raise maize and taro in the jungle, more power to him. If he wants to come to an industrialized society for welfare benefits then I say let him starve to death or go back where his talents help him survive. I want to pay for no one that simply doesn’t fit in a specific environment.

            No one should decide on who is and who is not fit for any given area. The individual needs to decide for himself if he can make a go of it. If not, go where his talents are valued. What I want is a cessation to the lunacy of supporting people generation after generation on some form of ‘free stuff’. I want to make voting for a living impossible.

            • manbearpig says:

              Ok. You’ve answered your own eugenics question (which implies objective genetic superiority and inferiority and selective breeding.)

              But why should “they”, the somehow designated Human Trash, “go back” to wherever they came from or starve to death if welfare states exist?

              Their talent is perhaps discovering and proving the inequalities and inadequacies of Welfare states.

              So perhaps you’re against subsidizing the weakest members of an industrial society?

              • UseLogic says:

                You are correct. They are taking advantage of what’s on offer. Trouble is, they get their ‘free stuff’ by the political system stealing from the working stiff.

                I should mention that I’m an expat US citizen. I left 14 years ago because I got sick of the system. I made the mistake of voting once in my life (Ross Perot) and swore never to do that again.

                I’m an anarchist, atheist, misanthrope and simply want to be left alone. I especially don’t want gov’t telling me that I must do anything. I decide on what I do and don’t do.

              • manbearpig says:

                “…Trouble is, they get their ‘free stuff’ by the political system stealing from the working stiff…”

                Boy you’d love France…

                Plus the French are such a happy, fulfilled, creative, cooperative, respectful and cheerful people…thanks to their successful socialist system I guess…

                a perfect illustration of their great humanity is how they behave on electric scooters…

            • generalbottlewasher says:

              UseLogic , I think we can agree on at least one issue. A mentor from the past, who survived the depression told me this wise saying, from his own experience.
              ” the laziest bum in the world will dig a hole to China to alleviate the MISSED MEAL CRAMPS.”

              MBP , raising a glass of Od Davi to spring! Viva le France

              • generalbottlewasher says:

                Ok ok so as not to heckle the frog smekels.I should at least spell it correctly to be precise,and say this stuff is France’s greatest gift to the world.

                Eau de Vie,

                after a few you’ll be singing bon Od Davi, carry me away,too. Well,It is Saturday night.

  8. zyxzevn says:

    Downloading My Private Google Data, this is what I found
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLjht9uJWgw&feature=youtu.be

    Google stores everything including pictures, videos on your
    phone, and 3rd party data.

    They probably have Hillary’s deleted e-mails,
    and every nude picture that every celebrity made.

  9. HomeRemedySupply says:

    Wages – On a lighter note

    Meanwhile, down in Texas…
    During a traditional Texas meal, the fellas made a lot of noise on what to do with Authority Figures
    (90 seconds)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPIP9KXdmO0

    The fella with the red shirt is Burton Gilliam. He was a Dallas firefighter for 14 years. In 1974, he didn’t want to quit his job which paid $12,000 a year. Finally Mel convinced him.
    But Mel had a problem. Some of the lines were so funny, that the actors couldn’t play the part without laughing. Thus, Burt got a lot of overtime and ended up making $25,000 for playing the part.

  10. cabanaobr says:

    This is at Sibel Edmonds level of propaganda. It is beneath Mr. Corbett, who now sees eugenicists behind every windowshade.

    So some advocates of the minimum wage were eugenicists in an era when eugenics was all the rage amongst the elite? That must mean that minimum wage laws are inextricably motivated my eugenics and Bernie Sanders is a closet eugenicist!

    The video reads literally like this.

    1.) Some advocates of the minimum wage were eugenicists and had eugenics agendas in mind.
    2.) An IRRELEVANT 15 minute drone on how awful eugenicists are.
    3.) Cltes conflicting academic economic literature and pretends that the interpretation favored by tubthumping anarcho-libertarian ideologues is the only sensible one.

    4.) The only direct data cited actually favors minimum wages, since even those who were hit by it are now getting paid the same while WORKING FEWER HOURS, hence allowing for second jobs or enhancing quality of life regardless.
    5.) Recitation of hack-libertarian talking points of extremely dubious veracity, such as the barrier to job entry, the rhetorical fallacy of “Why not a $50 minimum wage (Oh, so you are in favor of 5 year penalties for larcenists? Why not 80 year penalties? No? Then you shouldn’t favor 5 year penalties!

    Garbage. Corbett is above this. Or maybe he’s not.

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      cabanaobr,
      I think you are really twisting Corbett’s words and intent.

      No one said that current minimum wage laws are motivated by an eugenics agenda.
      That is like saying vaccines or fluoride or MacDonalds food is motivated by eugenics. Thus many Doctors and Dentists and Fast Food workers are here to depopulate the planet.
      Of course not.

      Take a breath. Read the script.
      Review “Why Big Oil Conquered the World” and the many supplemental videos/articles he did following it.

    • mkey says:

      Well, I do think 4 out of 5 points you bring out are not much more than garbage and misdirection.

      However, point number 5 has gotten me thinking. It’s almost like slippery slope reversed. This argument does seem illogical, but I can’t put my finger on it.

  11. HomeRemedySupply says:

    Back in the 1960’s, I was thrilled to get a job at 14 years old for 75 cents an hour.
    I got to bus tables at the Holiday Inn restaurant.
    Had a great time and worked hard and made some cash. Made some good friends and had adventures. I learned to juggle 3 oranges in the kitchen. Back then, the disinfectant for the dish water was Iodine…so sane. I still remember the lady sitting in her booth, looking at me in the eyes while she slowly ate her corndog.

  12. weilunion says:

    Work for food, die for oil.

    Within the transnational corporate system, no minimum wage will work.

    This analysis is poor for one reason: it does not address labor and its role under capital.

    As to replacing employees with machines? This proves the point: keeping wages low is how profit is created. It is caused surplus labor.

    The problem is capitalism and the relationship between capital and labor.

    Liberalism,or the minimum wage, will not change the system of wage labor or wage slavery.

    Only the end of international,global capitalism and the rise of worker cooperatives can staunch the misery.

    Libertarianism never challenges capitalism. It embraces capitalism.

    • generalbottlewasher says:

      Weilunion: you may be right on all points taken, if and only if the accumulation of any surpluses of capitol don’t fall into the control of any one ” special ” group. Like a Banking Committee of Asset Control. Where upon they quickly loose sight of whose ownership that surplus becomes and what fiduciary means. A paradigm of bankerless capitalism may lessen the division of the fruits of workers but will it satisfy the greed of the unproductive ” Idle Jacks” that exist in pacific producing populations?

      It really give me a head ache to try and imagine a storehouse of capitol that isn’t a bank, or the roll of the money changers who are signed to care for those stores.

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      Mike Maloney recently gave a clarifying definition of CAPITALISM
      (3 minutes)
      Ray Dalio Is Wrong This Time – Mike Maloney
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CCmE5twaFA

      • mik says:

        Mike Maloney is partially wrong.

        First two sentences here give proper definition of capitalism.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

        Monetary system is a cancer a top of capitalism, no doubt. Without it things would be better.
        But still capitalism would end up in monopoly anyway, because wealth is like magnet, it attracts other wealth around. Marx and Proudhon wrote about capital accumulation. Huge wealth means power and together with “democracy” produces cronyism. Even in absence of democracy magnet characteristic of wealth would still exist.

        I guess Maloney would like to have a system with lots of small and middle enterprises, free market, minimal state, but that’s pipe dream.
        State and enterprises have a tendency to grow with time. A reset might bring desired situation for Maloney but after a while things will go the same old way.
        What we need is paradigm shift.

        Maybe I’ve already said this…
        Let me borrow from well known charlatan: “Man is a beast of burden”

        Well, capitalism puts to much burden on a man, socialism not enough.

        Looks path of wisdom is again somewhere in the middle.

        • generalbottlewasher says:

          Mik, surplus capitol becomes like a toxin to the whole organism. Say if we model a system to cycle in much the same as nature. Growth in a spring to the death in winter. Capitol is redistributed evenly again at the end of winter and a balanced start for a new beginning in spring. A periodic cleaning of the toxic, monopolistic magnetic concentrations of cronyism you point out.
          There in is the rub. We use to bow before nature as the prevalent arbitrator of our existence , now we have no winter to rebalance the inequities of an unbalanced reality and must bow to the most perverted of control system arbiters. I think hubris , hubris of the ones who believe Nature to be theirs to control.

          • mik says:

            You are quite poetic and I might got you wrong.

            We should have respect for Nature because messing with it can blow back.
            But capitalism has nothing to do with Nature, it’s social construct.
            Models similar to nature can be used for describing its functioning, of course with awareness, that this is just one way of abstracting.

            Winter (healthy recession?) doesn’t redistribute capital evenly. Rich people go by adage: “Don’t let a crisis go waste” and get richer.

            • generalbottlewasher says:

              MIK; you have it right and I like the idea of
              ” healthy resession” as winter and mans ethos.
              Let me try some DELUX logic out since its Saturday night. Just for fun!

              I guess in the idea that man’s capitalism has nothing to do with nature means man is not part of nature.
              So ergo man is from another place, an entity from a vacuum and capitolism is as abhorrent to nature as nature is abhorrent to a vacuum. And I agree whole heartily that we should have respect for nature because messing with it can blow back.
              This world must not be our home for we treat nature so disrespectfully. Ergo man and his economic abstractions suck like a vacuum.

              • mik says:

                “I guess in the idea that man’s capitalism has nothing to do with nature means man is not part of nature.”

                Let’s reverse deluxe logic and draw a conclusion glyphosate is perfectly natural substance.
                Does a word Artificial has any meaning in deluxe logic?

              • generalbottlewasher says:

                MIK; the predictive editorial properties have cut off the discussion of this thead by removing the reply in your field. So I shall reply to myself. Which by the way, proves it probably is more intelligent than me.
                Since Saturday has now past and in respect to Easter Sunday and in reply to your inquiry. “Does a word Artificial has any meaning in Deluxe logic?”

                In short answer “No” everything emanating from man is in direct opposition too nature and thereby deemed artifical. As proven by the concept of the observance of Easter, man creates and nature suffers from those creations causing perpetual imbalance in the world.
                If by chance you are Christian than I wish you a Happy Easter, rejoice.

              • mik says:

                Some man made things are more in harmony with nature, no doubt. I think anarchism idea certainly is, well, capitalism isn’t.
                I’m not proponent of organized religions but thanks for best wishes anyway.

  13. tgmolitor says:

    Great piece, James. I always knew the free-market argument against a minimum wage, but never knew about the dark history of its eugenics agenda.

  14. charles.p says:

    Is there any govt policy that isn’t geared towards the extermination of its subjects?

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