A $15 Dollar an Hour Minimum Wage is Racist

All the arguments that have been presented for increasing the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour rely on claims that a lesser wage does not provided enough money to a worker. Such claims are based in the use of arithmetic to compute the worker’s financial status and implicitly endorse the proposition that there is such a thing as a “right answer.” However, it now received educational theory that the very idea of a “right answer” is a racist concept. Thus, in order to advance minorities and suppress white supremacy, it is vital that we not only defeat the Fight for Fifteen but also must also repeal the existing minimum wage laws that have been used as tools of oppression for decades.

Don’t Know Much About Algebra

For those of you who don’t know the Sam Cooke song Wonderful World (the first line of that song is “Don’t know much about history …”), this is a line from the second stanza. I think it makes a good headline for a post about teachers who don’t understand math.

Fox reports that the Oregon Department of Educations is seeking to undo white supremacy in mathematics education. The minicourse being offered to teachers

includes a list of ways “white supremacy culture” allegedly “infiltrates math classrooms.” Those include “the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer,” students being “required to ‘show their work,'” and other alleged manifestations.

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the document for the “Equitable Math” toolkit reads. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

I wonder how many of the education bureaucrats who are promoting the course would object to the calculations on their paychecks being done on the basis of 2 + 2 = 3.

Unjust Justice

Rev. William Barber has a post over at In These Times about The Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage Is a Fight for Racial Justice. He quotes a loose translation of the beginning of the 10th chapter of Isaiah in support of his argument—

Woe unto those who legislate evil and rob the poor of their rights, who make women and children their prey.

I agree with Rev. Barber that those of us who are better off have an obligation to treat the poor justly and to compassionately care for widows and the fatherless. However, I believe the minimum wage increase he supports will hurt rather than help the poor. Indeed, passing such a law will be legislating an evil.

The general effect of increasing the minimum wage is to price workers with marginal skills out of the labor market. Businesses don’t have bottomless funds from which they pay wages. They can only extract so much revenue from their customers, and that money must be divided among paying for inventory, rent, wages, and other expenses. A minimum wage bill doesn’t make expenses like rent disappear, so a business only has so much it can divide among its workers for payroll. When the law artificially increases each worker’s pay, simple arithmetic shows that fewer workers can be paid before the money is gone. Business that survive will keep their best employees and fire marginal workers. Business that grow will hire fewer workers.

Not every worker who loses his job because of a minimum wage increase will remain unemployed. Some will find work off-the-books in the informal economy, but increasing the minimum wage invariably increase unemployment among our poorest citizens.

We Americans generally believe that everyone has a right to work to support himself and family. Is it just to pass a law artificially pricing poor workers out of the labor market? I don’t think so.

A Bit of Fact Checking

She Guevara (aka Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) was on CNN claiming that Medicare for all would be less expensive that our current healthcare because “incorporating the costs of all the funeral expenses of those who die because they can’t afford access to health care. That is part of the cost of our system.”

Speaking from my family’s experience, the cost of a funeral is generally a bargain compared to the cost of a few months of medical expenses for an elderly person, and downright cheap compared to the cost of a few months of cancer.

When the retirement age for Social Security was set at 65 back in the ’30s, that was slightly longer than average life expectancy. Increasing life expectancy has broken that system. I had to wait until I was 66 to collect a full-size Social Security check. If the system were now rigged as it originally was, I should be waiting to collect until I’m almost 80.

Putting us old folks on Medicare increases costs. Burying us would save money. Putting everyone on Medicare … if you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till it’s “free.”

Math is hard.