Paul Grad for Oregon Governor: Abolishing the Minimum Wage Law

As Governor of Oregon, I will seek to abolish the State’s Minimum Wage Law.

The Minimum Wage Law has often been put forward as some kind of humanitarian, good intent effort, but what it is is a prohibition making it illegal for you to work for wages below a certain level. Somehow it seems strange to me to say you’re helping someone by passing a law that says”You will have no income, because I say so in the name of humanitarianism”, despite the fact that the person who was disemployed was evidently quite willing to work for that amount below the minimum wage, or he wouldn’t have agreed to it. It is a strange morality  that gives the poor man and the hobo no income whatsoever instead of some income. Indeed, he has been denied the choice whether to work at that amount below the minimum wage, so that his Liberty has been severely curtailed. He is forced to sit on the beach, when he really wants to be working to get the dollars that buy him the commodities that make his life bearable, but the “humanitarian” comes in and says “It is forbidden.” Such humanitarians are usually not homeless.

But obviously, from the standpoint of Natural Rights Law, this is an abridgment of the unalienable Right to Contract, a crime against the Individual. That is all the moral reason necessary to repeal these laws.

However, there is a more sinister aspect to the minimum wage laws, and that is the racist aspect. According to Professor Murray Rothbard, before the Federal minimum wage laws were enacted, the unemployment rate for both Black and White teenagers was 8%. When the minimum wage was raised to 40 cents from 30 cents, the rates shot up for Black teenagers to 14% and for White teenagers to 11%. With the coming of the Korean War, with millions drafted into the armed forces, the rates fell back to 8%, but when the war ended, and the minimum wage was raised to 75 cents, the rates now shot up to 14% for White, and 24% for Black teenagers. When the rate was to be raised from $1.20 to $1. 65, Professor Milton Friedman testified before Congress that such a rise would mean 33% unemployment for Black teens. But the raise was passed anyway, and within 6 months to a year, the rate soared to 35% for Black teens, and has never come down. The differential between White and Black teen unemployment had always been zero before minimum wage laws; afterwards it has always been much higher for Blacks than for Whites. So this racist effect is clearly the work of the “humanitarian” minimum wage laws.

The fact that White teenage unemployment also rose after enactment, shows that not only is the minimum wage law racially discriminatory, but also discriminatory against youths in general.

The beneficiaries of this hell visited on Black youths, and youths in general, are overpaid trade union workers, who have successfully disemployed the more marginally-skilled workers, thus reducing labor competition, and in turn boosting the level of their wages. They ruin the lives of Youth in the name of doing good, but they know very well what they do.

It’s also often overlooked that a raise in the minimum wage has the effect of excluding many small startup companies, who may have gotten off the ground and perhaps succeeded with the old minimum wage, but who suddenly are confronted with new costs when the wage is raised, and find their business venture now unfeasible. This lessening of competition means less choice for the consumer and higher prices, something the large conglomerates love.

Thus the consumer is doubly robbed, first by paying more for goods due to the artificially higher wages received by the trade unions, and then in higher costs due to lack of competition from startup companies priced out by the higher minimum wage. The quality business that could have been but never was is a social cost of the minimum wage law that the Left never mentions, or even thinks about. But the Consumer suffers from that “never was”.

Moreover, one problem that is never mentioned is how the minimum wage laws rob the young of any experience in handling money and dealing with the economic problem, which is usually the main problem in most American’s lives. The child who could work in his uncle’s or neighbor’s business a few hours a week, or doing gardening or babysitting in the neighborhood, could learn something about earning and spending his own money. This economic experience is invaluable in this society, but minimum wage laws, if observed, rob modern children of this experience. The minimum wage, as it is raised, forces young people to get jobs in the one sector that can afford to pay it easily, the giant corporate sector. Working for one of these financial behemoths, the young person is forced to conform, to act like a robot, and to violate his moral code or get thrown out immediately. Is this the initial work experience we want to throw at young people, turning them into obeying robots? Between government schools and corporate jobs, it is no wonder we have such a passive country.

Ridding ourselves of the minimum wage will give teens a chance to work all kinds of different jobs, at different wage rates. Even the teen who is economically exploited may learn something, and resolve to never let himself be exploited again.

Additionally, in a country that is always verbally praising the free-market system and our freedom, in which there are no “maximum prices” on essentials like food, clothing, and shelter, why is it that in this one area of labor, we are willing to accept a government restriction that could mean the difference between hunger, starvation, and avoiding these miseries for a destitute person? Why in this one area in the Free-Market restricted, when no other area necessary to life is?

If we really believed in Capitalism, we would abolish this overthrow of the Natural Law Right to Contract, an unalienable Right of Mankind.

Libertarians can vote for me by checking the box on the Libertarian Primary ballot. Democrats, Republicans, and Communists can write me in.

Paul Grad,


3 thoughts on “Paul Grad for Oregon Governor: Abolishing the Minimum Wage Law

  1. unfortunantly laws are written by corporate owners not congress, there is no maximum on food prices because those who make money on it wont allow it, I think if people in gov care about justice they will stay neutral and stop catering to special interests. the gov is in debt to the same people who write the laws, why do you suppose they call it a bill? isn’t a bill something you get for services rendered? that is why corp can write any bill they want. all they haggle about is the price of the bill compared to the debt actually incurred (like if I argue with a credit card company for overcharging some interest I did not incur) if a business could be started with limited capital without all that permits fees and paying thousands for consultants to show the gov the plans more businesses could get started. I know many years ago if it was easy to start a business and not have gov red tape to cut thorugh I would of started something too. it would of been animal related by the way. but those days are long gone for me and businesses can hire people and as more productive jobs arise the labor class would start to become scarce and wages would go up, but unfortunantly the wealthy classes know how to create scarcity where they want it and excess where they want it to their own benefit. so it will always be a one way street.

    1. Roberta — Thanks for commenting. I tend to mostly agree with you, although I think it is the entire system, including the voters and Congress, that is corrupt. Ultimately, the Congress and State Legislatures make the laws, so they are fully responsible for the current insane society, not the corporations, though practically speaking we have Fascism or Corporatism in place. And the voters vote those corporate Democrats and Republicans in, again and again. So it is the 99% who vote for the Fascist parties who are ultimately responsible.The Libertarian candidate for President, Gary Johnson, only got 1% of the vote.

      Undoubtedly, getting rid of business license requirements, and all the bureaucratic red tape, would go miles towards promoting small businesses and entrepreneurships. In a free-market society, they would not exist, and one of my proposals is to outlaw business license requirements in Oregon.

      What did the immigrants who stepped off the boats in New York do? They got out pushcarts, and started selling on the streets, and supported themselves. They were pure Capitalists. Now try that in Kitzhaber’s Oregon; you’d be arrested faster than if you were growing pot.

      I’m naive enough to believe that it is not the corporations who ultimately run things, but the consumer. The power of the Boycott is great.

      I don’t think a maximum of food prices would be feasible because it conflicts with Free-Market principles, and would quickly lead to food shortages. Who would set it, and who would know where to set it? The Government? The free-market knows, and sets the price daily through supply and demand. That is the only way to price things.

      I also don’t agree with you when you say “the wealthy classes know how to create scarcity where they want it and excess where they want it to their own benefit.” I don’t believe in classes — that is a Marxist concept and divides people. Is someone wealthy because they got corporate welfare, or because they worked as a government bureaucrat, or engaged in a free-market business with no government subsidies, and made a fortune because they satisfied the consumer’s demands. The first two wealthy gained their filthy lucre through the political means: theft. The last made it through free-market non-coercion: Capitalism, the economic means. There is a huge difference.The first two men are immoral; the last moral.

      I also think it is absurd to think that a “class” always thinks along the same lines, and collaborates in harmony. Given the egomania of many wealthy people, it’s absurd to think they are all going to go along together in some kind of cooperative effort to gouge the consumer. The wealthy seem to hate each other just as much as the poor do.

      The real problem is the voters who vote Democratic or Republican, instead of Libertarian. And even Libertarians are often corporatist shills.

      One of my platform proposals is to place the Corporate rights second in the law, and to place the Rights of Individuals first. There is no mention of “corporate rights” in Jefferson’s Constitution and Bill of Rights. Justice only comes through Individual Justice. —Paul Grad

    2. Roberta — I removed your last comment because it contained what I judged to be religious proselytization, and this campaign is strictly in the political realm. I am a strong believer in a wall of separation between church and state, and this campaign will only deal with the ethical political philosophy of Libertarianism as I see it and as it effects major political issues, and with its economic sequitor, the Austrian School of Economics, or pure free-market Capitalism.

      But I did want to comment on several points you brought up in your comment.

      First, you make the claim, which was a favorite of Stalin’s, that it’s not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes. This cynical but often true truism could be prevented by the system I am proposing for Oregon elections. Machine counting would be out, though since we have the machines, it would be interesting to have them recount the votes after using my system.

      What I would do is have each ballot held up to a video camera and photographed, and then have each voter’s ballot read aloud and confirmed by a team of four observers: one from each of the two major parties in the state, and two independents (or three major parties, and one independent). The entire proceedings would be videotaped. This would virtually guarantee an accurate and truthful vote count. Why have the whimps of both major parties accepted this system that is so vulnerable to fraud, and jeopardized our guarantee to a valid Constitutional Republicanism utilizing democratic elections to choose its representatives?

      Your other point about voting and being part of the system as collaborating in the evil of the system I don’t buy at all. The arguments that Professor Rothbard make for voting, and a quote which I recently read by Lysander Spooner, both point out that if the State gives us this one puny chance to effect a change in its corrupt structure, we should take advantage of it. Spooner, who was a complete anarchist, made a very pursuasive argument, which is quoted by Rothbard in further support of voting, but I forget where I read it.

      My own thought has been this: if you don’t like all the politicians running for an office, vote for yourself or someone you know who is trustworthy, and write them in. This will do two things: first, it will lower the winning percentage of the winner, making him feel just a little bit less confident that the public backs him; secondly, it will show the politicians and the major parties that you and millions like you have no faith in the current batch of politicians. Imagine if a politician won with 10% of the vote, and the other 90% were people writing in themselves, their friends and relatives. It would show what the people think of this modern collectivist government.

      This voting suggestion would also have to be made in collaboration with another proposal of mine: that all election results in Oregon receiving a certain minimum of votes (perhaps 3 to 5) would have to be listed by name and total, and the total number of persons voted for who received less than the minimum would also have to be published in the election results. This would override the outrageous practice of listing all the votes for candidates other than those printed on the ballot as “Others”, so that we don’t know, if we have run a write-in campaign whether we got 5 votes or a thousand. This is a transparency issue, and one the public never seems to query the politicians on. I will require this transparency by State law.

      That said, I do think events like the recent mining disaster in Turkey show that government should probably have a role in setting certain levels of safety for workers. So I’d move warily about getting rid of a lot of environmental or worker/consumer safety regulations; that’s just my bias. As Governor, I’d like to personally review the State safety standards, and see what rationalizations are behind their implementation. I’d bet most of these regulations tragically required cost lives in the past to bring them about.

      Obviously, if I thought political action was absolutely futile, I wouldn’t put my name up as a candidate, and risk being condemned to Salem for four years.

      I also agree with Lord Bertrand Russell, a Left-wing Libertarian (if such a thing is possible) that if one disagrees with a law, one should engage in non-violent political agitation (that is, demonstrations, political campaigning) and other political activities to change it. Even though we can see that the world is being destroyed, and there is nothing one individual can do to change this horrendous disorder, it seems to me we still have to act to try to change it, and voting is one of the tools.— Paul Grad

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