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Sat Apr 30, 2016, 03:42 AM

 

oped: minimum wages were first designed to keep women and minorities out of jobs

When California legislators voted to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022, labor activists cheered. Discounting fears that a $15 minimum might cost some low-wage workers their jobs, activists and their political allies celebrated a victory for fairness and economic justice.

Progressive labor activists took a very different view 100 years ago, when 15 states established America's first minimum wages. Labor reformers then believed that a legal minimum would hand a raise to deserving white Anglo-Saxon men, and a pink slip to their undeserving competitors: “racially undesirable” immigrants, the mentally and physically disabled, and women. The original progressives hailed minimum-wage-caused job losses among these groups as a positive benefit to the U.S. economy and to Anglo-Saxon racial integrity.

In 1910, 22% of the U.S. workforce was foreign-born. A Who's Who of American economic reform warned that immigration was leading to “race suicide,” what President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 called the “greatest problem of civilization.” This race suicide theory claimed that because non-Anglo-Saxon immigrants had low living standards, their competition in the labor market undercut the wages of the American workingman. The key assumption was that Anglo-Saxon natives were more productive, but that immigrants worked cheap. As Stanford sociologist and avowed nativist Edward A. Ross put it, “the coolie, though he cannot outdo the American, can underlive him.” Woodrow Wilson, echoing many others, said that Chinese immigrants could “live upon a handful of rice for a pittance.” Similar charges were made against Jews and Catholics arriving from southern and eastern Europe.

The American-born worker, who refused to lower his family's living standard to the immigrant's level, opted instead to have fewer children. Thus, concluded the theory, the inferior races would outbreed and displace their white Anglo-Saxon betters.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0405-leonard-minimum-wage-20160405-story.html

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Reply oped: minimum wages were first designed to keep women and minorities out of jobs (Original post)
redruddyred Apr 2016 OP
bemildred Apr 2016 #1
redruddyred Apr 2016 #2
bemildred Apr 2016 #3
redruddyred Apr 2016 #4

Response to redruddyred (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 05:54 AM

1. Right, but that was back when you only had to pay white men the "legal" wage.

Even now there is plenty of wage theft going on, and being white and male will still help you get what you got coming.

And it was always kept low. It was only made sub-susistence when they had to start paying everybody the same, in the 60s you could still live and raise a family on min wage, I know because I did it, but it was never set high.

And it was the American employer that thought that was a good idea, I am sure the american worker would take the money regardless, and we all know the american worker does not call the shots here.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 01:23 PM

2. "in the 60s you could still live and raise a family on min wage"

 

sounds high to me
i found the female antifeminist anecdote a bit disturbing; it seems nothing ever changes.
liberal california wants to keep the illegals out now eh? maybe this is a roundabout way of mustering RW support for the change.

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Response to redruddyred (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 03:24 PM

3. I think it's divide and rule, basically, divide the white men against the women and non-whites.

Anyway, that is the way they are framing it, and I find that no accident.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 05:33 PM

4. sounds like a recipe for failure, in democratic processes anyway

 

we outnumber the white dudes

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