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Minimum Wage Protects the Rich

Written By: Jacob Hornberger  |  Posted: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

In the past week, I have written two articles detailing how one of the favorite economic interventions of liberals (i.e., "liberals" in the corrupted, big-government meaning of the term) falls disproportionately on poor, inner-city black teenagers, people whom liberals purport to be concerned about. As I pointed out in those two articles, the mandated minimum wage locks out of the labor market all those people whose labor is valued by employers at less than the mandated minimum. The moral issue is this: Why shouldn't poor, inner-city black teenagers have the unfettered right to freely compete against well-to-do white teenagers (and adults) by offering to work in any business or enterprise at any wage they're willing to work for, even if it is less than the mandated minimum? Liberals respond: That would be unfair because then they would be working at an extremely low wage.

But that position, obviously, is ridiculous because what liberals end up doing with their minimum-wage law is prohibit the poor, inner-city black teenager from working at all. Which is better: working at $1 an hour and learning a trade and a work ethic and watching how a business is run or being prohibited from working at all? But there is another important factor involved here. Not only does the minimum wage lock poor, inner-city black teenagers out of the labor market as employees, it also prevents them from opening up businesses to compete against the already-established, well-to-do businesses run by white people and others.

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