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Minimum wage hike claims first casualty
(Note: The following commentary first appeared
as an Op-Ed in the August 31 issue of The Detroit News.)
I am one of the first casualties of Michigan's new minimum wage law.
I am a 21-year-old economics major at Hope College
who last year worked part-time at the college's Office of Career Services for $6
an hour. On Oct. 1, however, it will be illegal for the school to pay me an
hourly wage less than $6.95 an hour. So my boss called me last week and told me
that her budget was tight and, because of the wage increase, my job would be
I would have liked to continue working at $6 per
hour, and Hope College was willing to pay me that. But the state of Michigan
says I do not have the right to work for that amount of money. Hope College and
I are not allowed to negotiate a contract that is satisfactory to both of us.
In my study of minimum wages, I have concluded that
minimum wage laws always cause unemployment among the very groups they are
supposedly trying to protect.
Our nation’s first federal minimum wage law was
passed in 1918 and applied only to women. Employers had to pay women in
Washington, D.C., at least $71.50 per month for their labor. What happened next
is that many women found themselves out of jobs.
One of the casualties of that minimum wage law was
Willie Lyons who, like me, was 21 years old. She worked happily as an elevator
operator at the Congress Hall Hotel. She had been paid $35 a month plus two
meals a day.
When the minimum wage law passed, however, the
Congress Hotel could no longer afford to keep her. She wanted to work at the old
wage, just as I do, but the new law made that illegal. Instead, the Congress
Hotel hired a man at $35 a day plus meals. Like me, Willie Lyons became
unemployed by a "compassionate bill" supposedly designed to protect her.
The good news is that Willie Lyons regained her
liberty of contract. She testified before the U.S. Supreme Court in Adkins v.
Children’s Hospital (1923) and pointed out that she liked her job, her employers
liked her, and she resented being ousted from her job by the new minimum wage
The Supreme Court agreed and struck down the
federal minimum wage law (although a later court let such laws stand). In
writing for the majority in the case, Justice George Sutherland wrote, "freedom
of contract is the general rule and restraint the exception, and the exercise of
legislative authority to abridge it can be justified only by the existence of
Sutherland graduated from the University of
Michigan Law School. I wish our Michigan legislators had studied Justice
Sutherland before they passed a law that took my job.
Adam Folsom, a senior and a George F. Baker scholar at Hope College in
Holland, Mich., is the son of former Mackinac Center Senior Fellow in Economic History
Dr. Burton W. Folsom. The Mackinac Center is a
research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich.
How math lessons have changed through the years or the dumbing down of America|
1. Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
2. Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
3. Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production
is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 1990
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and
inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the
preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of
$20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class
participation after answering the question: How did the birds and
squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong
6. Teaching Math In 2006
Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80.
|Do we really want Democrats in charge?|
By Larry Elder
Thursday, August 24, 2006
percent of Americans, according to recent polls, consider Iraq a
mistake. Given the unpopularity of the war, Democrats expect to capture
one, if not both, chambers of Congress this fall. Assuming this happens
-- and I still don't believe so -- will Americans be better off?
Sure, anti-war candidate Ned Lamont beat Sen. Joe Lieberman,
D-Conn., in the Democratic primary. But look at Lamont's "strategy" for
the war in Iraq. He calls for a "phased pullout" of troops. A "phased
Sen. Lieberman, who disagrees with President Bush on virtually
every domestic issue, understands the stakes in Iraq, even if his party
members fail to. "I am convinced," wrote Lieberman, "almost all of the
progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if [U.S.]
forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of
securing the country."
During the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah (and
Lebanon and Syria and Iran), we justly criticized the Lebanese
government for the lack of will or ability to police its southern
border. Yet many Democrats want us to leave Iraq and abandon the Iraqi
military and police that show the will, if not the ability so far, to
police and protect their own country.
Lamont's "phased pullout" would send yet another signal to
the enemies to simply wait us out. Osama bin Laden considers America
impatient, lacking resolve and unwilling to sacrifice. Recall that our
hasty pullout from Vietnam, and subsequent failure to abide by promises
made to the South Vietnamese, resulted in a bloodbath in Southeast Asia
that left 3 million or more dead.
For insight into the Democrats' brand of appeasement foreign
policy, look no farther than former President Jimmy Carter. Just a few
months into his presidency, he urged Americans to reconsider our
"inordinate fear of communism." Carter kissed then-Soviet leader Leonid
Brezhnev on the cheek. Brezhnev invaded Afghanistan.
Carter, a staunch Bush critic, helped to usher in the
"Iranian Revolution" of 1979 by leaning on the Shah of Iran to "release
political prisoners." To show their gratitude, Iranians seized 90
hostages at the U.S. embassy, holding 52 of them for 444 days, before
releasing them minutes after Ronald Reagan took office. At the time of
the hostage crisis, Carter sent what some called a believer-to-believer
letter in longhand to the Ayatollah Khomeini. The letter praised the
ayatollah as a "man of God."
The other major Democrat line of attack accuses the
Republicans of fiscal irresponsibility. This is their strongest and
most persuasive argument. For it is true that this president, with the
approval of the Republican-run legislature, ran up bills at a rate
faster than any president since Lyndon Baines Johnson. Even if we
exclude the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, homeland security
and Katrina relief, the Republican Party turned its back on their
alleged "limited government" philosophy.
But the Democrats' primary criticism is to call Republicans
too stingy. About the monstrous expansion of Medicare with the
prescription bill for seniors, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said,
"Because the administration and the Republican leadership refused to
provide the funds needed for an adequate drug benefit, more and more
seniors are facing the ridiculous 'donut hole.' That's the huge gap
which leaves enrollees with major out-of-pocket costs."
About No Child Left Behind, another unwarranted expansion of
the federal government in education, Democrats, along with the National
Education Association, call it insufficiently funded. "The law requires
Washington to pay for it," said NEA President Reg Weaver, "and the fact
is that Washington is not keeping that promise. As a result, our
parents' tax dollars are getting steered away from the classroom and
going towards boosting the profits of testing companies, instead of
going towards their children's education."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other House
Democrats recently released a six-pronged "New Direction for America"
agenda for change: Real security and immediate phased pullout in Iraq;
higher minimum wage; more affordable college; energy independence and
lower gas prices; affordable health care; and something called
"Retirement Security and Dignity," which calls for shoring up private
Notice anything missing? Not one word about North Korea. Not
one word about Iran. And virtually every one of the six Democrat
initiatives requires greater federal government intrusion, higher taxes
and contempt for the private sector to compete and innovate. In short,
Americans, despite our uneasiness with the war in Iraq,
nevertheless realize the consequences -- in the war against
Islamofascism -- of an abrupt abandonment. And the next time you hear a
Democrat attack Republicans for "reckless spending," ask the following
question: "Aside from defense, where should government cut back?"
The silence will be deafening.
Since it has become apparent that governments around the world aren't really
going to do anything about the threat posed on airplanes by Islamic
terrorism, the airline passengers have taken control of things. Sadly, the
TSA (and its counterparts all over the globe) don't want to engage in racial
But the people who have to fly on these airplanes...that put their lives on
the line and actually want to live until they reach their next destination,
are beginning to take action. Two recent incidents illustrate this
perfectly. The first involves a situation that took place on a flight last
week from Spain to the UK.
Two Muslim students were acting in a suspicious manner. The news coverage
doesn't say exactly what they were doing, but it was enough to bother the
passengers...and that's when it started. Some of the passengers informed
the flight crew of what was taken place, then a bunch of the passengers
stormed off the plane.
The suspicious fliers were removed from the plane at
gunpoint and the flight was on its way. The kids turned out to be clean,
but who cares. Since nearly every airplane hijacker in the last 30 years
has been an Arab Muslim, these passengers were simply playing the odds.
The second case involves something that took place yesterday. A Northwest
flight from Amsterdam to India was escorted back to the airport by Dutch
12 passengers were arrested for suspicious behavior. These
passengers were of Middle Eastern origin and were passing around a cell
phone on the plane, something that's not allowed. The other fliers weren't
having it, so the plane was sent back and those in question were marched off
by air marshals.
The message from government regarding airline security has been clear:
because of political correctness, they are not going to do anything to
prevent a repeat of 9/11. It's nice to see the passengers taking the
matters into their own hands.
|Pacifists versus peace|
By Thomas Sowell
Friday, July 21, 2006
of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out
into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have
learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications
and test those implications against hard facts.
"Peace" movements are among those who take advantage of this
widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities. Few people
even seem interested in the actual track record of so-called "peace"
movements -- that is, whether such movements actually produce peace or
Take the Middle East. People are calling for a cease-fire in
the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the
Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace,
the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the
earth instead of the most violent.
Was World War II ended by cease-fires or by annihilating much
of Germany and Japan? Make no mistake about it, innocent civilians died
in the process. Indeed, American prisoners of war died when we bombed
There is a reason why General Sherman said "war is hell" more
than a century ago. But he helped end the Civil War with his
devastating march through Georgia -- not by cease fires or bowing to
"world opinion" and there were no corrupt busybodies like the United
Nations to demand replacing military force with diplomacy.
There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten,
much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because
one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being
"World opinion," the U.N. and "peace movements" have
eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his
aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory
power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers
demanding a cease fire, negotiations and concessions.
That has been a formula for never-ending attacks on Israel in
the Middle East. The disastrous track record of that approach extends
to other times and places -- but who looks at track records?
Remember the Falkland Islands war, when Argentina sent troops
into the Falklands to capture this little British colony in the South
Argentina had been claiming to be the rightful owner of those
islands for more than a century. Why didn't it attack these little
islands before? At no time did the British have enough troops there to
Before there were "peace" movements and the U.N., sending
troops into those islands could easily have meant finding British
troops or bombs in Buenos Aires. Now "world opinion" condemned the
British just for sending armed forces into the South Atlantic to take
back their islands.
Shamefully, our own government was one of those that opposed
the British use of force. But fortunately British prime minister
Margaret Thatcher ignored "world opinion" and took back the Falklands.
The most catastrophic result of "peace" movements was World
War II. While Hitler was arming Germany to the teeth, "peace" movements
in Britain were advocating that their own country disarm "as an example
British Labor Party Members of Parliament voted consistently
against military spending and British college students publicly pledged
never to fight for their country. If "peace" movements brought peace,
there would never have been World War II.
Not only did that war lead to tens of millions of deaths, it
came dangerously close to a crushing victory for the Nazis in Europe
and the Japanese empire in Asia. And we now know that the United States
was on Hitler's timetable after that.
For the first two years of that war, the Western democracies
lost virtually every battle, all over the world, because pre-war
"peace" movements had left them with inadequate military equipment and
much of it obsolete. The Nazis and the Japanese knew that. That is why
they launched the war.
"Peace" movements don't bring peace but war.