Saturday, September 09, 2006

Minimum Wage Pandering

Maintaining slave wages. Recently congress has wrestled with increasing the minimum wage by $1.50 to $6.65 per hour. The last increase in minimum wage was in 1996 (increased by 90 cents to the current $5.15 per hour). The American labor market is vastly different then it was ten years ago. In 1996 the number of illegal workers from Central America and Mexico was barely noticeable. Here in Annapolis, white and black teenagers still worked the fast food joints and they still did much of the yard work. Suburban Americans have become seemingly wealthy over the past decade, their children are no longer required to work, parents are more than happy to provide for their every need, real or imagined. Children are coddled, not worked.

Politicians pandering to poor white and black Americans are obscene. Neither republican nor democrat really wants to increase the minimum wage. They know that the only way to drive up labor rates in a meaningful way is to tighten the labor supply. I know this first hand. By 2000 I had to pay white teens an ever increasing amount to do my yard work. This was because their parents gave them pretty much anything they wanted, sporting gear, generous allowance and so on. I had to offer ever greater amounts to get my gutters cleaned or my lawn mowed. Ten years later most of my neighbors use slave labor from south of the border and I just let my lawn go to seed.

Our borders are open precisely because most republicans are unwilling to pay one dime more for labor then they can possibly get away with. Most Democratic Party pollsters believe that 3 out of 4 Mexicans and Central Americans will, after yet another round of fool hardy amnesty, become voters in support of the democratic party. It is a win win situation for democrats and republicans and signals the utter demise of America.

Open borders allow for unlimited labor pool growth. Unlimited labor is wonderful thing for owners, operators and homeowners. Any unlimited resource always declines in value. Hence, unlimited labor keeps a permanent lid on America's labor costs. It is a perfect time to be a middle class American, for the time being you still make a comparatively good wage, while your unskilled slave workforce competes their way down to the wage cellar. You get a greener lawn, cheaper housing and even cheaper meals at your favorite chain restaurants. What's not to like, not since the Roman Empire have so many lived so well.

Forget about raising the minimum wage for the unskilled. Close and fence the border, thus tightening the unskilled labor supply. That's how to improve the wages of honest, legal American citizens and improve national security at the same time. Don't hold your breath.

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