JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/01/well-hell-john.html (7 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1200365376-586371  Ach at Tue, 15 Jan 2008 02:49:36 +0000

Why stop at $50 an hour?? Let's raise minimum wage to $50,000 an hour! Or how about $1B?! Idiotic, you say? Well, so is $9.50 Or even $2.50

Can't they even intuitively understand what happens?

I like to use the example of the NFL, which is a nice closed economy with a limit on total resource of cash. I don't know what the real numbers are, but, let's say the cap is $100M for the team. A particular player makes $10M a year. If you raise the cap to 110M a year, it doesn't really mean you have any more spending power. Instead, after the economy settles, you'll being paying the player $11M a year. His talent was worth 10% of your resources before. That hasn't changed by throwing more money into the system. (sure the money is nice for the player outside of the system, but increasing the cap doesn't give you more power to afford more/better players)

Basically, it seems to me, you have a brief period of time where commodities play catch up (and some have more buying power) at the expense of higher unemployment and some businesses going under because their small margins can't support / survive the change. Good job politicians.

jsid-1200413831-586390  CountyRat at Tue, 15 Jan 2008 16:17:11 +0000

Would someone please refer me to the clause in the U.S. constitution that gives the federal government the authority to dictate the wages of U.S. citizens?

Go ahead. Look for it. I'll wait.

jsid-1200512775-586448  markm at Wed, 16 Jan 2008 19:46:15 +0000

Interstate Commerce Clause - depending on how much elastic you can persuade the courts to add to it. (Sorry, the on-line reference I usually use has changed drastically and I don't have time to look up the exact section and words today. It's in Article I, under the Powers of Congress, which I think is section 8.) Congress cab regulate interstate commerce, which would seem to give them the power to regulate wages for workers making products for sale outside the state of origin, in interstate businesses such as shipping and communications, and regularly performing services for customers in other states, which I'd guess would cover more than half of us.

So, what about the McDonald's worker who just sells burgers to customers in the same state? That's where the elasticity starts. First, the courts decided that if just one thing sold there - hamburgers, fries, frying oil, salt, or catsup, etc. - came from out of state, the restaurant or store was in interstate commerce. Then, if your factory outlet store just sells products from factories in your state, but some of those products are also sold out of state, the feds can regulate your store the same as an out-of-state store selling the same stuff as part of a general regulatory scheme. The farmer's stand selling his own apples is regulated because the produce is similar to and generally interchangeable with other apples sold interstate. A farmer growing large quantities of wheat just for feeding his own cows could be regulated as part of national price support regulations for wheat. (We've got FDR's intimidation of the Supreme Court to thank for these 1930's decisions.)

And finally, where that wheat regulation did allow a farmer or gardener who wanted to grind his own wheat and bake his own bread to grow a small quantity (defined in the law) free of regulation, in the 21st century the feds can ban a single seed, stem, or leaf of a plant, grown for personal use only, as part of a general scheme of "regulation". Thank Scalia's irrational fear and ignorance of marijuana for that...

One more note: 19th century courts decided that another clause, elastically interpreted, positively forbade wage and hour laws at the state level. I don't know if that would apply to the federal gov't, because AFAIK Congress then didn't favor such laws so no such federal case came before the courts until Teddy Roosevelt and Taft introduced "Progressivism". In any case, it was overturned in the 20th century. Google "Lochner" if you want more info.

jsid-1200521848-586453  Robin S. at Wed, 16 Jan 2008 22:17:28 +0000

Of course they understand what happens, Ach. They don't care. They don't support a minimum wage hike because they think it helps people.

They support a minimum wage hike because they think that people earning minimum wage are too stupid to understand what you and I do -- that a minimum wage hike doesn't change the overall value of the job they're performing to society at large. They support minimum wage hikes to buy votes. There is no other reason.

jsid-1200525661-586455  Doom at Wed, 16 Jan 2008 23:21:01 +0000

The only reason all of the Democrats are not calling for a minimum wage increase (with $20 and $50 at the (more) stupid end), is because the minimum wage has been increased recently enough that those poor saps who were not able to cut it on their old salary who have been "enriched" out of a job still remember.

Edwards is just so filthy stinking rich his maids do not even associate with such riffraff. Sucks to be out of the loop. In honesty, however, most of the candidates are there or pretty close to it. Better advisers? Fair is fair. I like Republicans because, though not quite that rich, they are rich and are proud of it. You bet they will keep their wealth, given the chance, but they like the idea that others can make it. And there are opportunities. Reward for work, unlike Democrats rewards (if weak) for all equally, but more for those who figure out the sharing (equal but better animals). Something like that.

jsid-1200536629-586461  CountyRat at Thu, 17 Jan 2008 02:23:49 +0000

markm, thank you. That was very instructive. I appreciate you going to so much trouble to write such a well researched answer to my question.

I find it very troubling how much "elastic" has been applied to get us where we are today. I do not have your obvious expertise in matters of law, but to my untutored, layman's mind, it seems that the Interstate Commerce Clause has been interpreted so loosely that it has been completely turned on its head. For example, "The farmer's stand selling his own apples is regulated because the produce is similar to and generally interchangeable with other apples sold interstate." It sounds like a clause of the Constitution that clearly limits Congress to the regulation of commerce passing over state lines, has been not just stretched, but twisted to allow Congress to regulate anything related to practically any commerce, even if only because the produce sold is kind of like a product that could have been sold over state lines, but wasn't. Whew!

As a guy who thinks that the Constitution was intended primarily to mark the boundaries within which the Federal government could act, and so, serve as a defense against tyranny, this is not encouraging.

jsid-1200579633-586482  Kevin Baker at Thu, 17 Jan 2008 14:20:33 +0000


I do not have your obvious expertise in matters of law, but to my untutored, layman's mind, it seems that the Interstate Commerce Clause has been interpreted so loosely that it has been completely turned on its head.

The Supreme Court case you want to look into is Wickard v. Filburn (1942). It's the case that essentially gave the Federal government unlimited regulatory power under the Commerce clause.

Note that this decision occurred during the FDR administration, where a lot of us mark the beginnings of the influence of "progressivism" in the Federal government.

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