Saturday, May 4, 2013

How Not To Increase The Black Employment Rate

This morning on the way to work, I listened to NPR's Scott Simon interviewing Darrick Hamilton, an economist from "The New School".  (I often listen to NPR since I'm forced by the government's men with guns to help pay for it.)
The topic was the incredible disparity between black and white unemployment rates.  It's now a 2 to 1 ratio.

I interviewed black guys for about four hours yesterday, so I listened to the whole thing.  It took an ACT OF GOD to keep me from shoving my fist through the windshield. 

Go here to listen to the whole thing.  If you're a regular reader of this blog, stay away from glass and sharp objects. 

Perfesser Hamilton wants to have a Federal Job Guarantee.  Hit the link for the whole thing. 
By creating a National Investment Employment Corps (NIEC), states and municipalities could develop inventories of needed jobs for all who are able to work, matching skilled and unskilled alike with full employment opportunities. Jobs would address physical and human infrastructure needs, including building, repair and maintenance of bridges, damns, roads, parks, museums, mass transit systems, school facilities, health clinics, child care centers, even restoration of our damaged postal system. Pay would range from a minimum of $20,000 to a maximum of $80,000, each job also providing benefits, opportunities for advancement, on-the-job training and professional development.
Christ Almighty in a sidecar.  Wealth is created by moving assets from lower valued uses to higher valued uses.  Nobody becomes better off in the long run by hiring more government munchkins to train more and more black unemployed drug war victims in the skills needed to build museums, or the "restoration of our damaged postal system" LOL.  But enough about Perfesser Hamilton's FDR-era fantasies....

I interviewed 5 black guys yesterday.  One of my supervisors (who happens to be black) sat in with me.  We heard 5 depressingly similar stories. 

All 5 candidates had a criminal record related to the Nixon-Ford-Carter-Regan-Bush-Clinton/Rodham-Bush-Obama Drug War. 
All 5 candidates would have cheerfully taken $5.00 an hour.  It would be illegal for them to work for that amount, BTW.  I could hire all 5 at $5.00 an hour.  Barack Obama, in his wisdom, will only let me hire 3 of them at $8.00 an hour and stay within my semi-budget. 

A couple of these guys were really, really sharp.  They have absolutely no business coming to work for me, unloading shipping containers.  One of them was an honor student and captain of his high school basketball team, and had had a fairly good Air Force gig. 

When we didn't have a minimum wage, black folks sometimes had a higher employment rate than whites. 
When we didn't have a drug war going on, we weren't locking up so many black guys and totally ruining their employment prospects. 

The disparity between black and white unemployment is a solved problem.  Eliminate the minimum wage.  End the idiotic drug war.  We could do this tomorrow. 

But we're just too compassionate. 


Tudor said...

Agree about the War on Drugs bit.
Remain unconvinced by the minimum wage argument. You really think hiring five people at $200 a week (40 hour week) is a long-term answer? Short-term, yes. Gets people back to work and on their feet - but a lower/non-existent minimum wage creates a broader unemployment/poverty trap.
The question seems to be whether you'll end up with two people permanently on or below the poverty line, but working, or three.... I know, I know, it's a bad analogy/poor sample base.
So, let's say social benefit of >40% of $5ph workers stuck in poverty trap pretty well permanently, but working. <60% pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to go onto better jobs and advancing their careers.

Marshall said...

wow. This guy thinks that the dollar for dollar cost of employing a person is equal to their wage.
I usually try to figure out how these people reach their odd little ideals. Not this one.
When you claim that you can employ people at $50k, with a full benefits package, and it costs you... $50k, you dont deserve any thought my pea sized brain is able to produce.