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Milton Friedman

Economics

The Racist History Of Minimum Wage Laws

In 1966, Milton Friedman wrote an op-ed for Newsweek entitled “Minimum Wage Rates.” In it, he argued “that the minimum-wage law is the most anti-Negro law on our statute books.” He was, of course, referring to the then-present era, after the far more explicitly racist laws from the eras of slavery and segregation had already been removed. Friedman’s observation about the racist effects of minimum wage laws can be traced back to the nineteenth century, and they continue to have a disproportionately deleterious effect on African-Americans into the present day. The earliest of such laws were regulations passed in regards to the railroad industry. At the end of the nineteenth century, as Dr. Walter Williams points out, “On some railroads — most notably in the South — blacks were 85–90 percent of the firemen, 27 percent of the brakemen, and 12 percent of the switchmen.” The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, unable to block railroad companies from hiring the non-unionized black workers, called for regulations preventing the employment of blacks.… Keep Reading

Economics/Philosophy/Politics

Economics & History: Why This Connection Matters

In a recent article of mine, I debunked the red herring of  the “roads” argument that many modern socialists throw around. It turns out that lately this article has gotten some pretty lively responses from its critical readers. One such commenter was someone I might have expected to be on my side (politically speaking) as he was presumably a libertarian himself, but the road forked for us at economics. It seemed as if this gentleman was an adherent of the Austrian school (a.k.a. the fantasy football of economics), and he had a thing or two to say about my reasoning behind my aforementioned debunking. But before we get to that, it might be prudent to first scan briefly the shoal of my original argument: the modern socialist mantra is to call their capitalist fellows “hypocrites” for accepting such “socialist” elements of society as roads and a postal service. My rebuttal to that claim is simple enough in that these very elements of public convenience (as well as many others) predate socialism’s inception; therefore… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics

The Problem With Amnesty, Isn’t Amnesty

A couple weeks ago, President Obama announced that he would disregard the Constitutional process and grant executive amnesty to over five million illegal immigrants living in the states, surprising exactly no one. Equally predictable was the conservative uproar, and the ensuing accusations of racism from the Left. Much of the conservative reaction rightly centered on President Obama’s executive end-around on Congress, but the back and forth of “you’re buying votes with American jobs!” and “you’re a racist!” are again saturating politics the way Kirk Cameron saturates Christian filmmaking. Unfortunately, the bottom line of the immigration problem is often lost behind soundbytes and hyperbole. While I can certainly sympathize with the frustration over the President’s refusal to secure the border and his blatant breach of the separation of powers, I have to say that we as conservatives may be focusing on the wrong piece of the puzzle when we talk about the dreadful woes of the unwashed hordes of immigrants bringing drugs, disease, and Democrat votes to our country. Worse… Keep Reading

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