Saturday, July 29, 2006

Misconceptions about the Federal Minimum Wage

The House of Representatives has a strong Republican majority; yet, they are considering raising the Federal minimum wage. This makes no sense to conservatives and it should not make sense to conservatives.

There are a lot of reasons not to raise the Federal Minimum Wage:

1. The best reason is that it is unconstitutional to even have a Federal minimum wage. It should not be the Federal government's job to dictate the the fifty states what their wage laws should be. This is simple.

2. It is absurd to think that a centralized Federal government can correctly set an effective minimum wage for fifty different locations. Consider the comparison of North Dakota and Hawaii. These two states are as different as night and day. They have radically different costs of living.

3. Why on Earth does anyone think that our current batch of elected officials in Congress have the ability to correctly set a minimum wage? Our nation has current unfunded liabilities of between 50 and 75 trillion dollars. These clowns are screwing things up badly; all they care about is getting re-elected.

I think minimum wage laws should be left to the fifty states.

Keep the Federal Government out...

Mike Sylvester


Anonymous said...

Do you think the min. wage in Indiana should be raised from $5.15?

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

What if they abolished the minimum wage altogether?
I mean, obviously, noone will work for $0/hour. So businesses would have to pay something.

Would the trend make wages average higher or lower than the std min wage right now?
I don't know the answer, I'm just curious.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I think you've already seen the trend. Jobs have moved overseas where labor is cheaper.

For the last 100 years progressives from both parties have fought for worker's rights such as:

No Child Labor
Minimum Wage
Occupational Safety
Collective Bargaining

Unfortunately the trade policies of both parties have led to US businesses being able to avoid these by moving plants/jobs overseas while also getting tax breaks to do so. It's time we start enarcting Fair Trade policies that don't undermine the American worker...

Robert Enders said...

Currently, 2 million people work for minimum in the US. That is less than 1% of the US population. Half of them are teenagers. We need to ask why the other half willingly work for so little. Some of them are probably convicted felons who cannot seek better employment elsewhere. Some of them might have been laid off from a good job and are waiting to get picked up by another company. People typically look for jobs with higher wages and try to move up the ladder. But the ladder does need a bottom rung.

What Fair Trade policies did you have in mind, Jeff?

Andrew Kaduk said...

One thing is for certain, any "fair trade" policies we enact will have little to no effect on what transpires at the hands of foreign governments. Take Cuba, for example. We haven't given them anything but a cold shoulder for decades, alas, Fidel Castro is still alive, still in power, and still selling cigars wherever else he damn well pleases. Just further proof that we are not the muscle we think ourselves to be without gunplay. Sure, people risk life and limb to immigrate here (illegally and legally) from Cuba, but likewise do they from Mexico, against whom we have no trade embargo. So what have we really learned?

If Cuba thinks we're a pissant, surely the Chinese and Indians aren't far behind them. Which leaves us what? Crappola. We've already proven that we cannot change the way the rest of the world thinks, so we can either run with isolationism or just learn to cope...we cannot milk both ends of the same cow.

Tim Zank said...

Anon...the minimum wage should not be raised, if you raise it, they (the employees) just get fewer hours.

Jeff, along those lines one could argue the progressives actually created the outsourcing by bringing about the burdens of unions, osha, etc.

Jeff Pruitt said...


I have read Friedman's latest book "The World is Flat" as many others have. I would encourage everyone that read Friedman to read Byron Dorgan's book "Take This Job and Ship It". It gives an extremely in depth look at how our trade policy is ruining this country and how it can be corrected. I can't really do it justice in a paragraph or two, so just check it out or perhaps I'll discuss some of his points in more detail at a later date.

I think it's also worthwhile to point out that Friedman is really just a clown. He openly admits to supporting CAFTA because it had the words "Free Trade" in it. An excerpt from his interview :

"We got this free market, and I admit, I was speaking out in Minnesota--my hometown, in fact, and guy stood up in the audience, said, `Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you'd oppose?' I said, `No, absolutely not.' I said, `You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade."

So there you go, all you need to do to get Friedman's approval is to build an acronym w/ the words free trade and he's on your side. Nevermind that CAFTA was not a CARRIBEAN free trade legilation but rather CENTRAL AMERICAN. I wonder if he supports the "Healthy Forest" initiative as well? I mean everyone wants the forest to be healthy...

Jeff Pruitt said...


Our trade policy has GREATLY affected Cuba. Has it had the consequence of ousting Castro? No, but it has definitely hurt the Cuban economy.


I don't buy that argument. Along the way, people in this country decided how the country should treat its workforce. They came to this conclusion through the collective values and will of the people. Some companies today choose to subvert these values and I submit they should not be allowed to do so and they DAMN sure shouldn't be given tax breaks to do so...

Andrew Kaduk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew Kaduk said...

Andrew Kaduk said...

Our trade policy has GREATLY affected Cuba. Has it had the consequence of ousting Castro? No, but it has definitely hurt the Cuban economy.

I agree, but the leaders of that country don't care and they never really have. Yes, upon the death of Castro I'm sure we'll open talks with Cuba on many levels, but that just further demonstrates our inability to strong-arm those who we find to be distasteful politically (without guns, anyway). Castro has been the living proof for years that these people don't need the United States, they just want us. Show me a place where our "trade policy" has forced into subission those who we found to be unscrupulous (without causing animosity or strife, that is), and I will gracefully concede this debate.

Robert Enders said...

I'm sure that the possible threat of a trade embargo keeps China from invading Taiwan. Would the US risk nuclear war to save one island? Maybe, maybe not; it may depend on who is president at the time. But China would have to find somewhere else to ship all those sneakers.
The best thing that can be said about free trade is that it makes war that much more impractical. The EU was founded in part to prevent another European war.

Jeff Pruitt said...


I'm not advocating strong arm tactics as it relates to a change in government - as the case in Cuba. I'm only arguing that any country in this world that wants to have a strong economy NEEDS the US purchasing power. We should use this power to set up trade agreements that are fair to the American worker and promote the same values abroad as we have here.

The best case study I can give is the Nothern Mariana Islands - not many know about this but everyone should. These islands are a US territory and because of this Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff and others worked hard to ensure that any garments made in these islands was labeled w/ the "Made in the USA" tag.

The problem is that workers, many women, were tricked into emigrating from Asian countries at the prospect of getting an "American" job. These sweatshops had policies of forced abortion, mandatory 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Workers lived behind barbed wire in shanties with no plumbing, did not receive minimum wage and received no protection real American workers received. Many were also forced into prostitution.

So bad were the conditions for these workers that Sen Murkowski (R-AK) wrote a bill to extend the same worker protections guaranteed to American workers and it passed the Senate unanimously (how often does that happen?). So why didn't it become law?

Tom Delay stopped it from ever coming to a vote at the behest of Jack Abramoff. Despite his "born again" philosophy he evidently saw no problems with forced abortion and prostitution. In an interview caught on ABC he told the owners of these sweatshops and Abramoff clients:

"You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system"

Made in the USA should mean something. It shouldn't be undermined by corrupt politicos like Tom Delay. The US should work to promote our standards and values all across the world. We can do this because everyone needs our money - including the companies who move their factories overseas to make their products for 50 cents an hour while shipping them back here to be sold in American shops...

Robert Enders said...

I don't think that the US should have any territories. They all should be either be granted statehood or independence.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I certainly do NOT think Indiana should increase its minimum wage.

Jeff Pruitt brings up some very good points about Free Trade. Most of what we currently call free trade is NOT free trade.

Jeff Pruitt I would like to hear more about the Maraina's story. Where di you hear about this?

Mike Sylvester

Jeff Pruitt said...


I saw something about it on 60 Minutes (I think) years ago. It's been in and out of the news over the years but obviously came to the forefront under the latest Abramoff investigations. You can follow the link I gave in my previous post to a WP story - there are many, many more.

Also, the issue came back up after Delay resigned because Rep George Miller brought the legislation that Delay had blocked for years back out. This legislation is HR 5550 and has been referred to two committees for investigation - House Resources and House Ways and Means

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