Comments about ‘Minimum wage laws have raised unemployment rate for blacks’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 31 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

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Gus Talwynd
Salt Lake City, UT

This sounds like an excellent proposal to create a permanent underclass and open the doors to further income disparity in the nation. Setting minimum wage standards sets a base floor for survival in the economic world we find increasingly challenging today.

Williams, as usual, is more concerned with the profitability of business than in the living standards of workers. One should not be surprised if he was anti-union and supporting the elimination of OSHA regulations. The health and safety of workers is not a priority in his thinking.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"in 1910, 71 percent of black males older than 9 were employed"--Conservatives of the time were adamantly opposed to child labor laws. Are we really going back to that time?

The inflation adjusted purchasing power of the minimum wage is less today than it was 40 years ago. According to Prof. Williams theory, then, it should be far less of a drag on unemployment.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

About 8 dollars an hour is minimum wage. 8 * 40 = 320 dollars a week or 1,280 a month. That of course makes for 15,360 in annual income which is notably still a good deal below the poverty level. And you want people to try and live on less than that?

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Thanks, Dr. Williams, for another illustration of the primary danger of liberalism -- symbolic, but hurtful, "helping."

Liberals demand to be judged, not on the content of their character, but on the character of their fevered dreams.

Unfortunately for so many of the targets of their "help," these sophomoric, half-baked, liberal dreams are invariably destructive of human character, as Prof. Williams has documented time and time again.

Obama has now convinced the Nation that we can no longer afford to let liberals "help." Notwithstanding their intentions, it's just too hurtful.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Walt is at it again, making arguments that completely defy logic and reality. If he thinks lower wages for blacks will help them, particularly in light of his advocacy to deny other efforts to lift them out of poverty, he is mistaken. He sounds like someone who is living in a world of privilege and academic tokenism, forgetting where he came from because he has his. Oh wait, he is exactly like that in his ivory tower at a university in an upscale area. What a concept: pay people less money and they will prosper. Right. The problem with the economy and business needing incentives for hiring anyone is not rooted in the minimum wage.

Sorry Charlie!
SLC, UT

So, the minimum wage has led to an increase in unemployment for blacks.

How has it effected the overall unemployment rate?

What Walt is saying is that as long as employers could discriminate and treat blacks poorly and make them work for peanuts compared to the conditions and wages whites would demand, employers were more than happy to hire blacks.

Once employers were told the color of their employees would not save them money, they started to hire the employees they liked more - white employees.

If I have a company that require 400 hours of labor per week, regardless of whether that labor is paid $1/hour or $9/hr, I only need 400 hours. Being in business to make money, yes, I am going to hire that labor at the lowest rate I can pay for the job I need done. But regardless of how much or how little I am paying my employees, I am not going to hire someone I don't need to do a job that doesn't need to be done.

Unless Walt can prove that minimum wage created a net loss of jobs when all factors are considered, minimum wage is just a scapegoat.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "atl134 | 12:48 a.m." since most people that earn minimum wage are teens or college students, they can live quite well on that much money. How much money does it take to live in an apartment with 3 other people? Working a minimum wage job, the cost for housing, food, and health insurance would be less than 50% of your yearly income. You would still have enough money to pay for college, and buy incedentals as needed. That is for the majority of minimum wage earners.

But then again, why would you care that most minimum wage earners are single, and young with few responsibilities.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ Redshirt: And why should you be expected to stop repeating your often proven wrong statements about who really works for minimum wage?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Sorry Charlie! | 8:46 a.m." read the Joint Economic Comittee report "The Case Against a Higher Minimum Wage". In there they explain that raising the minimum wage reduces employment opportunities for those earning minimum wage. The problem is that 7% of the population earns minimum wage, so it would take a significant shock to the number of minimum wage jobs for it to change the overall unemployment rate. However, as that study, and the study "Impact of Increased Minimum Wages on the Economies of American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands" by the US Department of Labor both show that by increasing the minimum wage, the number of new minimum wage jobs is lower than it could be without the increase in minimum wage.

To "Kalindra | 9:47 a.m." Read the studies (one is from 1996). The studies clearly state that "Only 2.8 percent of workers earning less than $5.15 are single parents. Only 1.2 percent of all minimum wage workers were adult heads of households with incomes less than $10,000. Fifty-seven percent of minimum wage workers are single individuals, many of them living with their parents."

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

Now we know why Republicans refuse to lift a finger to help struggling families find work: they're "not worth" the help, according to the GOP.

That's what one GOP legislator in New Hampshire said over the weekend when her state completely repealed its minimum-wage - that most people who earn the minimum are not worth $7.25 for an hours work. But this is more than a case of one legislator's total contempt for working families:

Republicans have launched a nationwide campaign to drive down wages and family incomes by repealing the minimum wage completely.

Tell Republicans to stop insulting working families and to stop attacking the minimum wage.

This goes far beyond the stale Tea Party rhetoric weve come to expect from the GOP.

The minimum wage raises incomes for all workers by forcing employers to fight harder for the best employees. And it protects millions of the very oldest and very youngest workers from discrimination and exploitation because of their age.

At every possible turn, Republicans demand more and more "sacrifice" by the poor and the middle class, while right-wing special interests benefit.

How about we start to tax then the Kock Brothers krew?.

JustGordon
Cottonwood Heights, UT

One needs to remember that statistics are like a bikini...what they reveal is enticing but what they conceal is vital.

This is one of those cases where numbers have been manipulated to suggest that increased unemployment by black is caused by the minimum wage. Other writers have suggested that perhaps there is a relationship between black unemployment and higher unemployment rates in many rustbelt cities where large numbers of blacks were employed in manufacturing jobs that have been lost forever.

The reality is that the minimum wage still keeps you below the poverty line...it makes you part of the working poor. So how well off would blacks be if there was no minimum wage and they still did not make enough money earning less than the current minimum wage to escape poverty?

The writer has targeted for political purposes that do not include helping African Americans, but to justify the ideological purity goal of the far right in getting rid of the minimum wage.

While were at it, let's adopt Perry's get rid of child labor laws too. Nothing like the Victorian era when kids worked 12 hour days, 6 days a week! More gruel please, sir!

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ RedShirt: From 1996? Really? Wow! And we all know nothing has changed in 15 years.........

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Kalindra | 12:28 p.m." the funny thing is that it really hasn't changed much in 15 years. Form the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report "Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2010" we find that 25% are under the age of 25.

That report shows that 52% of minimum wage earners are under 25 and have never been married. Nearly all of those that are married are under the age of 25, and have a spouse present.

So again, the 1996 data isn't that much different from last year's data.

Sorry Charlie!
SLC, UT

@ RedShirt: I'm a little confused....

The editorial claims that unemployment of blacks is higher because of the minimum wage.

You cite two claims that raising the minimum wage reduces employment opportunities...

but then you claim that such a small percentage of wage earners make minimum wage, that we can't really tell the effect on overall unemployment anyway.

So, if the percentage is so small that it doesn't make a difference on overall unemployment, how do you know there is more unemployment because of minimum wage?

The claims are contradictory.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Sorry Charlie! | 2:41 p.m." it all depends on your demographics for how much of a difference it makes. In the case of raising minimum wages, if you 16 to 25, or working in a Samoan Tuna processing plant, it means that you are going to have fewer jobs, and therefore what jobs are available are more difficult to get. In the overall picture, if we lose 15% of all minimum wage jobs, that is only a 1% increase in unemployment. But the 15% is significant to the 16 to 25 age group who are in Highschool and College.

The bigger question that the people who want to raise the minimum wage laws never ask is what economic impact will this have to the price of goods and services?

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@ RedShirt: "The bigger question that the people who want to raise the minimum wage laws never ask is what economic impact will this have to the price of goods and services?"

And what is the economic and employment cost of not having a minimum wage?

If those who making minimum wage are working just to have a job, then maybe nothing is lost.

If, however, they are working to help support their families, or to pay their way through school, or any one of the many other reasons someone feels the need to get a job (very few people work minimum wage jobs because it is "fun"), then how many jobs are they going to have to have to make the money they need?

How much money are they going to have to invest in the economy?

There is no minimum wage in India. This doesn't just effect people flipping burgers - this has extended into multiple areas of employment. Even for "good" jobs, people are lucky if they make $2 a day.

They cannot afford to buy the products they make and live in extreme poverty.

What makes you think the US will fare any better?

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Blacks shouldn't worry. Obama has a plan and he'll let us in on his secret next Thursday ...... if his teleprompter is working.

SLars
Provo, UT

I read an article that showed it was illegal immigration the past 25 years that affected poor Blacks the most, not minimum wage. The author of that article wasn't trying to sell a book.

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