"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Riots and the Minimum Wage - A Minor Point

Remember the story last week about riots in Milwaukee at State Fair instigated by young black men?   

Now, consider this story and ask yourself if the two stories are connected:
An analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) shows that the average unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 in the District of Columbia was 50.1 percent as of June 2011. This corresponds with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that for D.C. the annual average unemployment rate for teens in 2010 was 49.8 percent.
50% teen unemployment in the nation's capital?   That's shameful in itself.   But the real shame is that the government has caused the unemployment, through its drastic increase in the minimum wage in the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 from $5.15 to $7.25.   That increase of $2.10 was slightly more than 40%.   

Does anyone think that the value of unskilled teenaged labor in Washington, D.C., where the school system is one of the worst in the nation, suddenly increased by 40% in 2007?   Not a chance.   Does anyone think that teenagers are really worth nearly $300 a week for a summer job?   Nobody does.   So why do you think employers are going to hire kids for summer jobs at the minimum wage?   Idiocy.  

So instead of getting a summer job where they might make $100 bucks a week or so (at the $3/hr. that they really deserve), kids in inner cities are on the streets, hot and bored and stupid and lazy.   (Not casting aspersions by race... kids in the suburbs are hot and bored and stupid and lazy too.)   That's a recipe for riots, and that's what we're getting.

I'm just putting two and two together.   If I'm wrong, sue me.  But I can't help thinking that rich white people often think they're doing good by raising the minimum wage, when what they're really doing is pricing a poor black kid out of a job.

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