Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Liberals' War Against Blacks

Kevin D. Williamson's cover story in the latest issue of National Review examines two potent weapons in the liberals' war against blacks - the minimum wage and racial discrimination in labor unions.

Williamson quotes Nobel laureate Milton Friedman on the minimum wage, “one of the most, if not the most, anti-black laws on the statute books.”

And Williamson cites the conclusions of a congressional survey of economic reasearch :

The minimum wage reduces employment. The minimum wage reduces employment more among teenagers than adults. The minimum wage reduces employment most among black teenage males.”...“The minimum wage hurts small businesses generally. The minimum wage causes employers to cut back on training. The minimum wage has long-term effects on skills and lifetime earnings. The minimum wage hurts the poor generally. The minimum wage helps upper-income families. The minimum wage helps unions.” Helping the affluent and high-wage union workers at the expense of the young, the poor, the unskilled, and small businesses: That amounts to a lot of different kinds of injustice, and it also amounts to a wealth transfer from blacks to whites.

Williamson notes that as recently as the mid-fifties young black men were more likely to be employed than their white counterparts. Though the minimum wage bill was passed in 1938, its initial effect was blunted by the war and by its application only to interstate enterprises. The war ended and the meaning of interstate commerce broadened over the years. The result is that now rampant unemployment among blacks, especially young blacks, is a national disgrace.

Nationally, the unemployment rate among blacks rose to 16.2 percent in the year-end numbers, while the rate for whites fell to 9.0 percent. For black youths, the numbers are startling: 50 percent for 16–19-year-olds, 26 percent for 20–24-year-olds. A study from the Community Service Society of New York puts actual work-force participation among black men 16–65 years of age in New York City at about 50 percent, and the number for young black men nationwide is just 40 percent.

Giving a practical example of how high minimum wages destroy jobs Williamson cites the recent plan to convert the massive Eighth Regiment Armory in the Bronx into a shopping mall. New York's city council insisted that all workers on the project be paid at least $10/hour plus benefits, effectively killing the project. Career liberal politician Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. proudly stated, “The notion that any job is better than no job no longer applies.” So over a thousand construction jobs and over a thousand retail jobs were lost in a community where the unemployment rate is 13.1%.

Williamson also blames white domination of labor unions for high black unemployment.

(Philadelphia's building trades) unions are 80 percent white and 99 percent male, and the numbers are similar in other cities.

Williamson says that in industries where blacks were employed before unions showed up, their representation is high. But blacks were effectively shut out if a union organized in an industry before they entered it.

In unions that have a lot of black membership, black workers got into those industries before the unions did. Henry Ford was hiring blacks before the UAW organized them. Steelmakers, same thing.


Even in the UAW and the steelworkers, they have the problem of discrimination within the unions when it comes to training for skilled work, promotions, and issues of seniority.” And it’s been that way for generations: In fact, (Hillsdale College Prof. Paul D.) Moreno estimates that if the National Labor Relations Board had properly enforced anti-discrimination rules against the unions starting back in the 1930s — when they were first required to do so — then there would have been no demand for affirmative action later. Instead, the NLRB became a classic captured bureaucracy, seeing its role only as empowering the labor unions while turning a blind eye to the ugly racial discrimination in their ranks.

Williamson concludes by savaging the Democrats' corrupt obeisance to the teachers' unions.

Black voters are a cheap date for Democrats, who know that they can sell out the interests of their most loyal constituency with impunity. One of Barack Obama’s first actions in office was to gut a hugely popular school-choice program in Washington, D.C., that benefited black students almost exclusively, and he did so at the behest of the one of the most destructive unions in the country, one that has done more to undermine the future of black Americans than any other and whose members have inflicted more damage on black Americans than Bull Connor and George Wallace ever dreamed of. But the teachers’ unions represent one in ten delegates to the Democratic National Convention,* so they have job security — something many, if not most, of the young black men in their classes will never have.

So where's this "conscience of liberals" that Paul Krugman writes about?

* Talk about overrepresentation! The number of public school teachers in the U.S. in 2005 was 3.1 million, or about 1% of the population. There are 1.2 million Walmart employees in the U.S. Think they have even a .0001% representation at the DNC?

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