Bargaining with the Precious and the Vital

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Walter Williams has written a pair of columns outlining some of the "racial trade-offs" black leftitst politicians make with other pressure groups in the political coalition that forms the Democratic party. Along the way, he points out some very interesting facts pertaining to educational policy and the minimum wage in particular.

On education:

According to a 2004 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study, more than 1 in 5 public school teachers sent their children to private schools. In some cities, the figure is much higher. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, it's 41 percent, and Chicago (39 percent) and Rochester, N.Y. (38 percent), also have high figures. In the San Francisco-Oakland area, 34 percent of public school teachers enroll their children in private schools, and in New York City, it's 33 percent.
Comparing these figures to the eleven percent figure for parents among the general public, Williams aptly compares this to a restaurant whose "owner, chef, waiters and busboys" eat elsewhere. We'll forgive him for not reminding us that we're all footing the bill regardless of whether we need a meal or want to do so at that establishment, or even at a restaurant at all.

Moving to the minimum wage, Williams confirms a suspicion that Thomas Sowell recently raised about its early supporters:
During the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act legislative debates, quite a few congressmen expressed their racist intentions, such as Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., who said: "Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country." Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., said he had "received numerous complaints ... about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South." Rep. William Upshaw, D-Ga., spoke of the "superabundance or large aggregation of Negro labor." American Federation of Labor President William Green complained, "Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates." Though today's Davis-Bacon supporters don't use the same language, the racially discriminatory effects are the same.
Williams backs up his claim that these laws are hurting minority employment and questions whether these "racial trade-offs" are really helping the constituents of these politicians. I'd have gone further, and asked whether any scheme involving the government bullying or stealing from private individuals really helps anyone, but this is a fine starting point.

It is obscene that politicians routinely treat things like the futures of children and the ability of parents to provide for them as bargaining chips. The best way to put a stop to this is to begin reigning government in to its proper purpose, of protecting individual rights.

-- CAV

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