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Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Era’

Minimum Wage, Maximum Discrimination | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2021

So does history. As Princeton’s Thomas Leonard has demonstrated in his book Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era, the early minimum wage advocates saw it as a prime tool to exercise “dominion and discrimination” over those they deemed ill-suited to reproduction. The minimum wage was well suited to perform the Progressives’ dirty work of discriminating against (what they considered) the least productive by making them unemployable.

It has been over a hundred years since the Progressive Era. But the laws of economics haven’t changed. The only question is: Have we? Author:

https://mises.org/wire/minimum-wage-maximum-discrimination

Caleb Fuller

Since the days of Adam Smith, economists have sought a set of social institutions which permit “neither dominion, nor discrimination,” to use Nobel Prize–winning economist James Buchanan’s phrase. In this, economists are joined by all people of goodwill—including those in the Biden administration, which has enshrined equity and inclusion as cornerstones of how they’ll govern.

What separates the economist from other social do-gooders, however, is an unflinching focus on the means used to achieve noble goals. It’s therefore with alarm that I consider the Biden administration’s dual focus on “diversity and equity” and its doubling down on the “fight for $15.” I’m alarmed because the minimum wage impedes our ability to foster a society genuinely built on “diversity and equity.”

Here’s the straight talk on the minimum wage that you probably didn’t learn in school: the minimum wage has been a powerful weapon in the arsenal of racists and bigots. Economists have illuminated the devastating effects of the minimum wage on minorities with empirical evidence and entire books on the subject, but to see one reason why the policy targets minorities, first consider a little basic economics.

Consider the demand side of the labor market. Firms will hire fewer workers if the government criminalizes voluntary agreements to work for less than $15 per hour. This is an uncontroversial point to make about virtually any other market. If the price of apples doubles, people buy fewer apples. They buy more oranges instead. Employers do the same thing. Under the minimum wage, they start buying more machinery, like the kiosks you see in Panera. The upshot: fewer jobs.

Now let’s consider the supply side of the labor market, where the higher minimum wage attracts new workers to the labor market—those, like college students, who might have sat on the sidelines otherwise. The upshot: more job seekers.

Fewer jobs plus more job seekers means that more people will be searching for jobs than there are jobs available—a labor surplus. In other words, the minimum wage creates a “buyer’s market” in labor, because it causes job seekers to line up in front of employers who have limited jobs to offer.

Suppose an employer receives a hundred applicants for a job opening. How does he choose whom to hire? Without the minimum wage, whoever wants the job most will outcompete other jobseekers by offering to work for less.

With a minimum wage, the employer can’t say: “Who will work for $14.95?” If he does, he’s a criminal; he literally violates the law. Since he can’t just pick the most eager job seekers, he needs some alternative way to select from his hundred applicants. When you have a surplus of labor in a market with a minimum wage, prices aren’t allowed to adjust, so the employer picks from that surplus based on personal preferences. These may include race, sex, gender, religion, or other personal characteristics that have little to do with productivity. In fact, in the past, it has included just that. Faced with more job seekers than there are jobs available, a bigoted employer bears little cost when he refuses to hire a member of a group he dislikes. He knows someone else in the applicant pool will be from his preferred group.

In a market without a minimum wage, when an employer turns down an applicant to satisfy his bigoted tastes, he doesn’t have ninety-nine other job seekers to choose from. There’s no labor surplus. If he chooses to indulge his bigoted tastes, the job remains unfilled for longer, which means less money for our racist employer. Consider that in the United States the African American teenage male unemployment rate was lower than the white teenage male unemployment rate through the late 1940s. The 1950s saw the single largest increase (in percentage terms) of the minimum wage. The reasoning I just gave explains why the African American teen joblessness rate then soared above that of whites. That gap remains to the present day. Like Adam Smith, James Buchanan, and the Biden administration, I too desire a society where the power of bad people to exercise “dominion or discrimination” is constrained, even eliminated. Presumably, my fellow Pennsylvanians do too. The fact that nearly two-thirds of them (and 89 percent of liberals) support a $15/hour minimum wage is therefore troubling. My fellow citizens should consider whether this policy facilitates or impedes the ability of bad men to do harm. Economics says it facilitates.

So does history. As Princeton’s Thomas Leonard has demonstrated in his book Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era, the early minimum wage advocates saw it as a prime tool to exercise “dominion and discrimination” over those they deemed ill-suited to reproduction. The minimum wage was well suited to perform the Progressives’ dirty work of discriminating against (what they considered) the least productive by making them unemployable.

It has been over a hundred years since the Progressive Era. But the laws of economics haven’t changed. The only question is: Have we? Author:

Caleb Fuller

Dr. Caleb Fuller is assistant professor of economics at Grove City College. He has published papers in Public Choice, the International Review of Law and Economics, the European Journal of Law and Economics, the Review of Austrian Economics, and others.

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“The Progressive Era” Author Murray Rothbard

Posted by M. C. on January 24, 2021

John Swett 100 years ago in San Francisco on public education-

“school children belonged not to parents, but to the State, to society, to the country”.

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The Small But Brave Cadre of Conservative Anti-War Republicans – The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2019

424 are pro-war, pro-interventionism, anti-peace.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-brave-cadre-of-conservative-anti-war-republicans/

They didn’t put their finger to the political wind when it came to Syria and Yemen.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A comparative case study has demonstrated that only one political party has a principled (albeit small) contingent of legislators who care more about ending U.S. intervention overseas than partisan positioning.

In February, the House of Representatives voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 37, which directed “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” This, along with its complementary senate vote, was the first congressional invocation of the War Powers Act in the law’s history.

Then last month, the House voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 77, a resolution condemning “the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.” This vote was in opposition to President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Syrian-Turkish border.

 

Neither U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War, nor U.S. material support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen have been authorized by Congress, making them illegal American wars. The Trump administration opposed both resolutions, and stopping House Joint Resolution 37 was only the second veto of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Out of the House’s 435 members, only 11 voted to end both the war in Yemen and to draw down in Syria. They are Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, and Bill Posey of Florida.

Notice anything? They’re all Republicans. But that shouldn’t surprise you.

“There is a long and honorable tradition within the Republican Party of anti-interventionism, of nationalism, what’s sometimes called isolationism, which technically isn’t a friendly or accurate term,” explains historian Jeff Taylor, who chairs the Department of Political Science at Dordt University.

“Back to the Progressive Era, even before the rise of the modern conservative movement, you had an anti-establishment; I would call it a populist-nationalist movement within the Republican Party,” Taylor says. “Back then [it was] led by men such as Robert La Follette in the U.S. senate, and there were others . . . Hiram Johnson of California and William Borah of Idaho.”

“This was a tradition that had eloquent individuals who had fiercely held beliefs, and some of them had positions of power.”

Another example in this lineage is Ohio Senator Robert Taft who opposed U.S. entry into the NATO alliance and called the Korean War unconstitutional. Taft, son of the former president and a three-time national candidate in his own right, was so associated with the GOP and its Midwestern base that he was known as “Mr. Republican.”

In the modern era, this same spirit imbued the presidential campaigns of both Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul—the former in his fight against the Gulf War and George H.W. Bush’s aspirations towards a New World Order, and the latter in his opposition to the War on Terror and its resultant overseas regime changes.

Today, there is an 11-person cadre of Republican congressmen willing to put constitutional devotion, fiscal sanity, and ethical antipathy to feckless wars above political expediency…

Massie is correct. No Democrat voted to continue intervention in Yemen, and simultaneously no Democrat voted to defend withdrawing from northern Syria. Every member automatically took the inverse view of the Trump administration. Democratic opposition to war is partisan, not principled.

Hawaii representative and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of the Yemen resolution in February and did not vote on House Joint Resolution 77 regarding Syria. Her office did not return a request for comment to explain her absence. Gabbard has since introduced her own Syria withdrawal resolution.

Republican-turned-Independent representative from Michigan Justin Amash voted “Present” on both resolutions. Amash’s haughty attitude stems from his contention that such resolutions present a “false choice.” This did not prevent the congressman from calling President Trump a “fraud” for vetoing the same Yemen resolution he refused to support.

Both Republican voters and the broader peace movement ought to be proud that there is a resolute core of House members continuing the non-interventionist legacy of the Old Right. In the words of the late Justin Raimondo, it’s incumbent upon us to continue “reconstructing a conservative philosophy centered around liberty and the authentic American character, rather than a lust for power and an addiction to war.”

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