Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage vs. the Carwasheros

New York's new $15 wage floor pits man against machine.

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Jim Epstein

Labor activists have long claimed that working conditions at New York City's car washes are the worst of the worst. In the Big Apple, an estimated 5,000 men scrub and vacuum other people's vehicles for a living. A decade ago, it was common for these so-called carwasheros, many of whom are illegal immigrants from Mexico and Latin America, to earn $3 per hour plus tips, with no extra pay for overtime. Straight cash, off the books.

When demand peaked in the winter months, they would often put in 12 hours a day, six days a week. Regulators paid little attention, so by and large car wash operators ignored labor laws.

The situation started to change in 2008, when state investigators conducted the first car wash sweeps in recent memory. The following year, the U.S. Department of Labor settled a lawsuit against one of the city's largest operators, with cumulative back wages and damages totaling $4.7 million. In 2012, the retail workers union and two affiliated labor groups launched WASH New York, a campaign to organize employees of the city's more than 200 car washes. Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Car Wash Accountability Act, which created a punitive new licensing regime.

But it's a law passed in April raising the state minimum wage from $9 to $15 that will have the most profound impact on the industry. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, made the minimum wage hike one of his top legislative priorities, traveling around the state to build support in a red-white-and-blue R.V. To signify its importance, he named the initiative the "Mario Cuomo Economic Justice Campaign" after his recently deceased father. The $15 minimum will take effect in New York City on December 31, 2018.

It's conventional wisdom among progressives that low-skilled workers like the carwasheros stand to benefit most from high wage floors. The opposite is true. The 67 percent wage hike will obliterate jobs at car washes and further the agenda of anti-immigrant conservatives—some of whom explicitly advocate for increasing the minimum wage because it reduces employment opportunities, halting future waves of illegal immigration and encouraging those already here to return to their countries of origin.

When labor costs rise, employers hire fewer people. But some liberal economists say the law of supply and demand doesn't apply to the labor market. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman claimed in a 2014 interview with Business Insider that minimum wage increases have a negligible effect on job losses because they mostly affect service-sector positions that can't be replaced by automation.

Krugman's remarks were out of touch with reality on several counts. In much of the U.S., car washes started automating a half-century ago as operators struggled to find reliable employees. In New York City, owners bucked the national trend because they could tap into a large pool of illegal immigrants willing to work long hours for little pay. Now that labor groups have succeeded in dramatically raising labor costs, the city's car washes will simply play catch-up with the rest of the country—replacing men wielding hoses and rags with nimble units of spinning brushes and massive hot air blowers. It's already starting to happen.

Men vs. Machines
The car wash industry was born in 1946, at a time when more than 10 million American men were coming home from World War II, and Southern blacks, who had flocked to Northern and Midwestern cities to work in war-related industries as part of the Second Great Migration, were looking for new opportunities. The timing isn't a coincidence: In a tight labor market, the car wash business might not have taken off.

The "Minit Man," which was the world's first conveyorized automated car wash system, required a large crew of workers, including vacuum operators, spotters to clean areas the machine had missed, and finishers charged with wiping down vehicles as they exited the tunnel. One worker on the line was occupied solely with maneuvering an overhead rack of spinning brushes to avoid knocking out radio antennas and radiator ornaments.

Mike Dahm, whose father started Mike's Minit Man in Indiana in 1948, estimates that in the early days, the company had 40 men on duty during peak demand. Herb Geller, the son of a Minit Man car wash owner in Dorchester, Massachusetts, recalls a particularly busy day with 50 men on the job.

Big changes came in the 1970s, when the Sherman Carwash Company came out with far more sophisticated equipment to automate the car washing process. Operators were in the market for better machines because it had become difficult to find workers interested in cleaning vehicles for a living. "That's when the revolution started," says Martin Geller, a car wash engineer and former owner with 43 years of experience in the industry. "Sometimes half the guys wouldn't show up, so you lost business. But the machines were there every day."

Operators with the means to make a significant capital investment could eliminate most of their workers. Mike's Minit Man (renamed Mike's Car Wash) was one of the first in the country to go fully automated in 1978. Founder Joe Dahm invested in state-of-the-art machinery, including powerful hot air blowers that replaced the crew charged with drying off vehicles as they exited the tunnel. The cost of a basic exterior wash at Mike's fell to just $2, but the increase in speed and volume led to a significant revenue boost. "We think those blowers set us up for success," says Mike Dahm, now the company's president.

The Free-Vacuum Revolution
Automating the exterior wash required designing brushes that could reliably wipe away every caked in spot of dirt without scratching paint or knocking out side mirrors. It was a major engineering feat. Figuring out how to mechanize an interior cleaning, however, is orders of magnitude more difficult. Only a robot capable of maneuvering around car seats and distinguishing between a misplaced wallet and a crumpled fast food wrapper could replace a human with a rag and vacuum. The technology isn't there yet, and it certainly wasn't available four decades ago.

A solution to that conundrum came via a German businessman named Joseph Enning, who in 1960 first observed the wonders of the machine-assisted car wash while working for a television manufacturer in New York City. Enning was inspired to quit his job and move back to Germany, where he founded the Mr. Wash empire, whose 34 locations cleaned 6.3 million vehicles in 2015.

In Germany, labor laws are more onerous than in the U.S., making hiring workers are more expensive. Enning, who has a Ph.D. in industrial economics, had long been interested in pushing the limits of automation. A Mr. Wash location today can do exterior cleanings on as many as 3,200 cars per day, with just six employees overseeing the work.

Enning's answer to the interior problem was straightforward: Set up an area with free vacuums and put customers to work cleaning their own vehicles. The idea would later catch on in the U.S. thanks to Benny Alford, a second-generation car wash operator in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who traveled to Germany in 1996 to observe a Mr. Wash facility. "You just couldn't find many people who wanted to make a career out of vacuuming cars anymore," says Justin Alford, Benny's son and business partner.

Benny Alford combined the free vacuum idea with another labor-minimizing technology: Working with a firm called Innovative Control Systems, he installed the first automated sales attendant, so that customers could line up at an electronic gate and pay for a wash without ever interacting with a human. Alford opened his first exterior-only car wash tunnel with free vacuums in August 2001. The setup required only two employees on-site to make sure everything was running smoothly

"Benny's idea was to put a few things together at once," says Eric Wulf, the CEO of the International Carwash Association. "And what he did transformed the business." Benny's washed more than 200,000 cars at $3 a pop in its first year after remodeling, according to a consultant who worked closely with Alford.

Sonny's Enterprises, which helped outfit the new car wash, started selling this model to other clients. Within a few years, Sonny's became the nation's largest producer of conveyorized car wash equipment. "Nowadays more than 90 percent of car washes built in the U.S. only need about three people to run them at once," Wulf explains.

Today, Mike's Car Wash has 17 locations in three states that together did $40 million in sales in 2015. Still an automation pioneer, the company offers a $20 package that includes a tire shine, wheel cleaning, underbody scrub, and wax job—all done entirely by machines. But the equipment costs $2 million per location, which is out of reach for most small businesses.

Bucking the Trend
In New York City, where unskilled labor is plentiful, the capital investment required for full automation didn't make sense. In the 1980s, there was a two-and-a-half-fold increase in the flow of legal immigrants coming into the U.S. from Mexico and Latin America. By 1990, about 10 percent of the foreign-born U.S. population—roughly 2 million people—resided in New York City. (There's no reliable data from this period on illegal immigration, though it tends to track the legal rate.) It thus became relatively easy for Big Apple car washes to find cheap and reliable employees. "It wasn't work that Americans wanted to do," says one veteran operator, who spoke with reason under the condition of anonymity because he's worried about political retribution.

Car wash owners came up with new ways to put these men to work, and some even converted their partially automated tunnels to full-service hand washes.

"In the 1980s, there was a shift to recognizing that there were big profits in detailing," says the anonymous source. "Detailing" means cleaning every crevice of a vehicle by hand—sometimes even the engine.

The same shift occurred in Southern California's car wash industry about a decade later. From 1990 to 2000, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. rose from 3.5 million to 8.6 million, according to data from the Pew Research Center—and one in six landed in the Golden State.

Car washes capitalized on the influx. From 1990 to 1997, Herschel Kilgore, a veteran consultant and designer, converted about 180 automated car washes to full-service hand washes. The equipment at these shops was often wearing out, and replacing it with 30 to 40 illegal workers capable of providing additional services was a logical business move.

Labor conditions for some of the workers were a shock to the sensibilities of progressives, however. In California, activists and public interest attorneys took notice in the late 1990s. In 2004, their efforts led California to pass A.B. 1688, the Car Wash Workers Law, which among other things required every operator in the state to obtain a "surety bond," a form of liability insurance. This made it easier for plaintiffs who won court judgments against car wash owners to collect their payouts, and led to an explosion of wage and hour litigation.

In 2008, the United Steelworkers formed the CLEAN Carwash Campaign to unionize California car washes, though it had limited success. Labor activists also began to push for better pay for workers. A big turning point came this April, when legislators in Sacramento (like their counterparts in Albany) passed a statewide minimum wage hike to $15 an hour.

But even at the lower rates, carwasheros in New York and California were voluntarily accepting the jobs. Why would they choose to endure such grueling conditions for such little pay? "Working at a car wash isn't an option that we think is great, but it was their best option," says Don Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University. "So how do we make them better off by taking that away?"

WASH New York
In 2012, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), along with two affiliated groups, launched WASH New York, a campaign to unionize the car wash industry in the Empire State. It was a mammoth undertaking. "We felt that it was important for the movement to show that if these workers can organize, then any workers can organize," said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum in a 2014 speech.

It hasn't gone particularly well. Car washes are mostly small, independent businesses, so organizing the industry has involved fighting a succession of expensive battles. More importantly, it turns out many carwasheros aren't interested in joining a union. To date, just 10 car washes out of more than 200 in the city have signed on to join RWDSU.

WASH New York and its allies responded with a plan to make the experience of any car wash owner who resisted their efforts a living hell.

Take 39-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Marat Leshehinsky, the owner of Vegas Auto Spa, a small car wash in the outskirts of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Labor organizers started secretly meeting with his carwasheros in May 2014; in November the workers petitioned to form a union.

Leshehinsky fought them on the grounds that Vegas Auto Spa has annual revenues of less than $500,000, which means it falls outside the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. So protesters went to Leshehinsky's house in Brooklyn twice and frightened his two small children. On the second occasion, someone threw a rock, chipping Leshehinsky's front door. They also blanketed his neighborhood with a flier that included a personal photo taken from his wife's Facebook page.

On March 4, 2015, shortly before Leshehinsky finally gave up and granted his workers a union contract, RWDSU and its affiliates staged a protest in front of Vegas Auto Spa, during which two members of the New York City Council were arrested for blocking traffic.

Labor groups helped draft a new licensing law, signed by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio last June, that among other things will require every car wash operator in the city to obtain a $150,000 surety bond—except for unionized car washes, which only need a $30,000 bond. Since car wash owners with bad credit might not be able to obtain a $150,000 bond, unionizing could be their only path to staying in business.

The New York City Car Wash Association, a local industry group, sued to overturn the law on the grounds that the government can't "interfere in the collective bargaining process on behalf of one side or the other." In a positive sign for the plaintiffs, the city agreed to put a temporary stay on the law while the case is adjudicated. But the car wash industry has already started adjusting to the new labor climate by moving to increase automation.

'The Circle of Life'
"We decided to go exterior-only no-wiping mostly because of the labor problems," says New York City car wash owner Martin Taub. "Do we need the labor department and the unions breathing down our necks?"

Taub, 64, is a Romanian immigrant by way of Israel who over the years has held an ownership stake in about 25 car washes in the city. When he started in the industry in 1975, most car washes were at least partially automated. Then many converted to labor-heavy detail operations, and now they're swinging back. "It's the circle of life," says Taub. "I just wish they would invent some robots."

Taub still owns three car washes—one in the Bronx, one in Brooklyn, and one in Manhattan. Three years ago he converted his Brooklyn location into a modified version of the exterior-only free-vacuum model pioneered by Benny Alford. There isn't enough space to install an electronic gate, so he keeps a couple of employees on site to direct traffic and accept money from customers.

Taub says that his Manhattan location, an enormous operation that spans the whole block from 46th to 47th Street on 12th Avenue, won't remain a car wash for long. He's already in talks with real estate developers to sell the land.

Outfits in less desirable areas of the city are also converting to other uses. Cambria Car Wash in Queens just laid off 20 workers and will soon be replaced by a pharmacy and Dunkin' Donuts. Ofer Amar, the property's general manager, cites "what's coming with the minimum wage" as a major factor.

Taub's Bronx location is still full-service, but he's considering automating there as well. The location brings in more revenue than his Brooklyn car wash, but the advantage of the latter approach is that it's "headache-free," says Taub. When the minimum wage goes to $15 an hour, automating will be a no-brainer. "Since I have 15 guys on the property, I wouldn't be able to charge less than $30," he says. "Who's going to pay $30 for a car wash?"

Amir Malki, a leading car wash equipment installer in the region, says over a dozen car wash operators in New York City have inquired about putting in the necessary machinery to cut their labor costs.

One owner, who talked to reason under the condition of anonymity because he's worried about the political repercussions of speaking out about the minimum wage, says he's considering purchasing $300,000 in equipment, which would allow him to eliminate 15 of the 22 men who currently staff his full-service hand wash.

When the minimum wage goes from $9 to $15, he estimates that his expenses per wash will rise about $7 to $22, meaning he'll have to charge at least $25 to make a profit. "Now put yourself in the shoes of the customer," he says. "The first thing they'll do is wash their cars at home. Or they'll drop from washing their cars three times a month to once a month." If he automates, he figures he could lower his price to about $8. "That's the only way I can think of to survive."

"I can't think of any industry where the service that's provided is so expendable," says economist Boudreaux. "In economic terms, you'd say that the demand for car washes is highly elastic." In other words, the industry faces strong pressures to keep prices down, because car washes aren't a necessary service, so an increase will lead to a quick fall-off in customer traffic. That's why most can't afford to pay their workers $15 per hour and stay in business. "Car wash operators have no choice but to automate," says Boudreaux.

Those lacking the capital or credit to fully automate can also purchase equipment piecemeal. One option is to install a Dry 'N Shine—a giant spinning wheel wrapped in absorbent material that rolls over the vehicle to sop up moisture. Amir Malki says the machine can eliminate as many as six guys. But it costs about $70,000 including installation, so prior to the passage of the $15 minimum wage his New York City clients mostly held out. "They'll come around," says Malki.

Southern California operators are also starting to automate. In 2004, Tom Ennis Jr. started construction on a full-service car wash in El Segundo, but he shifted course later that year when the Car Wash Workers Law was signed by then–Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Republican. El Segundo 5-Minute Express opened in 2006 as the first fully automated car wash with free vacuums in the region.

Since then, Ennis' competitors have been slowly following his lead. Herschel Kilgore, the designer of El Segundo 5-Minute Express, estimates that in five years about 90 percent of Southern California's 1,500 conveyorized hand washes will be automated or closed, mainly because of unionization, minimum wage laws, litigation, and other regulations that are driving up labor costs. The carwasheros in Southern California and New York City will have to scramble to find new jobs.

California businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Ron Unz thinks this is "a feature, not a bug" of minimum wage laws. Writing in The American Conservative in 2011, Unz observed that "in today's America a huge fraction of jobs at or near the minimum wage are held by immigrants, often illegal ones." Mandating higher wages would mainly hurt the "most recently arrived, especially illegal ones with weak language or job skills"—in other words, those "who possessed the weakest ties to American society."

"To a large extent, the undocumented job window in America would have permanently slammed shut," Unz wrote. He even suggested that the U.S. Border Patrol will gradually become unnecessary. Unz is probably right that job-killing regulations are a more effective immigration deterrent than armed men or Donald Trump's $8 billion wall.

Unz's economics are sound; it's his moral compass that's questionable. As for minimum wage activists and union organizers, if you take their rhetoric at face value, the reverse is true. "Every worker, regardless of what they do or where they came from, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect," said RWDSU's Appelbaum last year.

If progressives want to get behind an anti-poverty program that would actually help immigrant workers, they should support an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Illegal immigrants are already eligible for this federal program, which provides a direct income subsidy to low-wage workers. In a May 2015 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett called the EITC a better way to deliver on "the American Promise" of "a decent life for anyone willing to work."

"I may wish to have all jobs pay at least $15 an hour," Buffett wrote. "But that minimum would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way, crushing many workers possessing only basic skills."

Is it more dignified to have little pay or no pay at all? The $15 minimum wage will be most detrimental to those men and women abroad who in the future won't bother coming to the U.S. because the American job window has been "slammed shut." But their poverty will be out of sight, never troubling the conscience of Appelbaum and his fellow progressives.

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236 responses to “Minimum Wage vs. the Carwasheros

    1. Wow. Thats a blast from the past.

      1. Funk continues!

    2. Where is Krugman’s economic theory deriding rain and snow for creating the conditions upon which inequality is foisted upon a volunteer workplace that allows people to agree to work for an agreed upon wage with their employer?

      The injustice of rain and snow must be fixed by the central planners or else we will all be further exploited by this evil mother nature and all of her greedy impulses.

    3. The song “Car Wash” is public domain, so people can do what they want with it.

  1. I quit my office job and now I am getting paid 90 Dollars hourly. How? I work-over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was to try-something different. 2 years after…I can say my life is changed completely for the better! Check it out what i do.W4..

    SEE HERE—-> OmegaJobs.Tk

    1. I quit my job making 90 Dollars hourly at this place and went to work at the car wash making 100 Dollars hourly.

      1. Did you observe your bank draft during this process?

        1. I did. Protip: Do not keep paper in your pockets when working around water.

        2. Banks with taller chimneys usually get better drafts.

  2. I prefer may car washed with the tears of orphans.

    1. If I wanted a rusty car I’d buy a Volkswagen.

  3. It’s been at least twenty years since I’ve been to a car wash where actually employees were washing cars. There’s one in town, but I’m not interested in paying more for something that will take longer than a touchless automated system.

    1. The one I go to, the illegals standing around outside will towel dry your car and shine your wheels up for $5. They do a really good job.

      1. Almanian posted upthread (re your question the other day).

        1. Good. You mean in another article? Or name change?

          1. Duh, never mind.

  4. “Krugman’s remarks were . . . massive hot air blowers.”

    I often use an ellipsis to shorten a statement while still retaining the core meaning.

    1. That’s why…carwash…ankles…industrial strength….minimum wage…hotdog…robot.

    2. Did Krugman get his Nobel prize in something like music or peace? Something that did not take any scientific rigor to accomplish? Are we sure he didn’t just make shit up like he did in these quotes?

      1. Krugman does not have a Nobel prize.

        1. From the Wikipedia: “In 2008, Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography.[5] The Prize Committee cited Krugman’s work explaining the patterns of international trade and the geographic distribution of economic activity, by examining the effects of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services.[6]”

          1. If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.

            John Maynard Keynes

            1. Krugman is a smart guy and a good economist. Unfortunately, he uses this credibility to step out of his wheelhouse entirely and act as a public intellectual for a certain sector of the Democratic Party (somewhere in between the sectors similarly served by Summers and Reich).

              This sometimes involves him stepping out of his wheelhouse entirely, a la Chomsky, and talking about foreign or environmental policy. But other times it involves intellectually dishonest arguments for pet political causes. Notice, for example, that he argues “for minimum wages” in the abstract, citing the famous New Jersey study to say that they have minimal impact on employment. He does not address the specific, draconian MW proposals before us these days, because his sense of professionalism would not permit him to lie outright about their likely effects. But neither does he say that they would indeed hurt jobs, nor address the distortionary effects all MWs have on the composition of unemployment, nor call them out for favoring rich teens instead of poor immigrants.

              His voice could do so much good if he raised it on the left in favor of an EITC expansion instead of this stupid, elitist distortion. I don’t see how he can sleep at night.

          2. The Swedish Central Bank Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is not a Nobel Prize.

            1. Chipper Morning Wood is correct, DenverJ. Krugman does not have a real Nobel Prize but one that has Nobel in the name.

        2. Sure he did, as Denver notes. It’s his claim to relevance. Like the President’s. Most of Krugnuts’ writing has nothing to do with the subject for which he was recognized, of course. But that doesn’t stop legions from hanging on his every word of derp.,,

          1. Krugman’s entire line of reasoning is built around ‘spend more’, that’s all he has.

      2. I’ve heard and read, various economists who think that everything Krugman says these days is crap but who do agree that the work for which he earned the Prize was really excellent.

        1. He must have realized that feeding progressive hogwash to dolts pays better than toiling away at a think tank.

          1. Well, Yeah!!! Look at OBarry. He could have been a 6 figure Harvard professor. Instead, he’ll collect more for each speech he makes than he would have made in a year indoctrinating students,

    3. I am convinced Krugman is nothing but a troll. He concocts the dumbest shit he can think of and watches his lefty buddies eat it up.

      1. He’s a DNC hack. He provides cover for their asinine ideas

      2. It doesn’t take a Nobel faux-prize to know where the money lies.

  5. But some liberal economists say the law of supply and demand doesn’t apply to the labor market.

    Same thing the the Progressitarian economists say, except they apply it to a shift in supply instead of a price floor.

    1. well, when the nanny state minions get involved, the rule changes from supply and demand to appeasing thte gummint manglers. What DOES continue to fumction according to the law of supply and demand is the service itself.

  6. further the agenda of anti-immigrant conservatives?some of whom explicitly advocate for increasing the minimum wage because it reduces employment opportunities

    Michael Dukakis used to advocate this

  7. Unz’s economics are sound; it’s his moral compass that’s questionable.

    I don’t see why it is “morally questionable” about discouraging illegal migration by making jobs unavailable. No, what is “questionable” is Unz’s grasp of political reality, because those missing jobs will just be replaced by government benefits, benefits that Democrats are eager to extend to illegal migrants in addition to displaced American workers.

  8. “Leshehinsky fought them on the grounds that Vegas Auto Spa has annual revenues of less than $500,000, which means it falls outside the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. So protesters went to Leshehinsky’s house in Brooklyn twice and frightened his two small children. On the second occasion, someone threw a rock, chipping Leshehinsky’s front door. They also blanketed his neighborhood with a flier that included a personal photo taken from his wife’s Facebook page.

    On March 4, 2015, shortly before Leshehinsky finally gave up and granted his workers a union contract, RWDSU and its affiliates staged a protest in front of Vegas Auto Spa, during which two members of the New York City Council were arrested for blocking traffic.”

    These people are sickening. Do they realize they WASH CARS?

    And then there’s this gem:

    “Every worker, regardless of what they do or where they came from, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,”

    Except immigrant small business owners. Naturally.

    Unions and government. The dynamic duo of stupidity where economics are concerned.

    1. Business owners are the bad guys! I mean, they employ people in providing goods and services to willing buyers! How fucking evil is that? Government and unions are the virtuous ones, because they use force, coercion, intimidation, and violence to get their way! They’re the good guys! It’s those weaselly profit-seekers who are the bad guys! Because inequality!

      1. Dude, it’s worse than that. They actually make more from the workers ‘ labor than they pay them!!!!

        1. Which is why they won’t be paying most of them anything soon, but we will be either in EITC or other schemes soon. Move them to public subsidies since that has such a great track record in helping people move up the income ladder

  9. I wash my own car but truth be told. I have little time to waste three hours cleaning in and out because when I wash my car it’s a pretty detailed affair. My mechanic still can’t believe how clean I keep our 2008 VW City; too bad I can’t do much about all the little electrical nuisances but I digress.

    So, to save time, I go to a place. They charge $11 for a basic exterior cleaning and $15 for ext/int (along those lines). Not the end of the world. I go once in a blue moon as I do keep the cars neat.

    BUT, if min. wage laws were to drive prices up as mentioned in the article (and I can’t see why it wouldn’t), I would simply adjust my life to find time to clean it myself or go to an automated car wash right by my house.

    I have no idea why they’re messing with car washes. It’s the most basic entry level employment for people. Leave it the f alone.

    1. Entry level employment? No one can buy a house and feed a family with that! They need a living wage! That’s why we need to outlaw entry level employment! $15/hr minimum wage, now!

      1. + $25/hr

        1. +100k per year. According to Paul and the proglodites, it wont affect job creation. we need to be more like Switzerland and vote on a mandatory minimum income, not wage. it worked so well in the USSR dinnit.

    2. Just wait until they protest little Jimmy down the road for only charging 5 dollars to wash your car so he can earn some summer cash.

      1. LOL does that even exist anymore? Little Jimmy probably has his hands full playing video games and sexting his classmates.

      2. I had an enterprising kid (12 years-old) come and offer his snow shoveling services (among other things). I called him a few times if anything to encourage him. He would charge me 5 or 10 bucks for my walkway. No skin off my back. The way I see it, we’re gonna need more people like him in the future.

  10. True, no work and the illegals go back home. The housing construction boom collapsed in NC around 2007. Most of the construction was done by Mexican labor. When construction ceased the Mexicans decamped for home.

    1. This depends on how generous the welfare program for illegal immigrants becomes over the next few years. Some may stay on the teat.

  11. “I’m twenty-six years old, and I am going to explain everything about Muhammad Ali to you.”

    -The internet for the next week.

    1. “His momma called him Clay, imma call him Clay.”

      1. “Mohammad Ali: Here is what you need to know”

        1. Nine Ways Muhammad Ali Was Ahead Of His Time

          1. ::insert photo of Muhammad Ali::
            Seven transgendered boxers from the past. Number 4 will shock you!

            1. Muhammad Ali used this one weird trick to surprise his opponents

    2. Oh god yes. It’s gonna be like dear leader’s funeral, everybody trying to our mourn each other.

    3. I sting like a butterfly and fly like a bee!

      1. It’s. “float” not “fly”, Rufus

        1. Minwage went up for monocle polishers too – so expect more vision problems and typos here at the Reason commentariat

      2. When I first heard someone singing that song, I heard him as “Looks like an elephant, stings like a bee.”

        Float like a fish, stink like pee.

        1. Float like a turd and stings like when I pee.

    4. Hunter Thompson’s Rolling Stone stuff about Ali is pretty good, yall should go read it.

    5. I’ll say this much (as someone who is 2×26 and then some): he had the courage of his convictions. There aren’t that many people who would jeopardize their careers by taking a stand like he did (saying “no” to the draft).

  12. But some liberal economists say the law of supply and demand doesn’t apply to the labor market.

    Some liberal economists are wrong.

    1. liberal economists are wrong

      Stop being redundant.

  13. Well, they already finished putting Asian immigrants out of business by targeting nail salons and bus companies. Time to screw over Hispanics. Who’s next?

    1. Restaurant workers and bodegas

    2. Whichever egg needs breaking next to make the big commie omelet, that’s who’s next.

  14. No job is safe from automatiom

    1. That’s good news.

      No job should be safe from automation.

    2. I am a retiree. When will they automate my job? I would love to get a settlement and retire….wait….uh……never mind.

      1. Mind…

        1. …BLOWN!

    3. I don’t know about that. I work in software development, and I don’t see my job being automated. heck, I’m the one doing the automating!

        1. Fuck yeah. My boss likes me so much he went up the management chain to get me a 10.5% raise this year.

          Muahahahahaaaa!

          1. Unfortunately, it’s a 10.5% raise of sarc’s HnR time, not take home cash.

            1. I’ve been cutting back on my HyR time as of late. Trying to actually earn my paycheck for a change.

      1. You still program in machine language? Assembler?

        Languages get more and more features. Dev tools automate more and more mundane tasks. Libraries add more and more canned features.

        And hardware gets faster and faster to absorb more and more bloat from all that automation. It’s an exact comparison to factory tools, construction equipment, cash registers, everything being more and more automated.

        1. I never thought of it that way, but you’re right.

        2. 20 years ago, a professor told me to not waste my time on programming because there wouldn’t be any programmers around in 5 years. All the code that ever has to be written will already be written and people will just cut and paste it together to make whatever program they want. Sort of like legos or something. Obviously, she was not a programmer. I ignored her and have been making money writing code for the last 19 years.

          1. I’ve been making money doing it for the last ten years, and expect to continue for another twenty.

          2. People who teach know everything. Whenever I listen to a teacher friend talk, it’s always about how hard they have it. Constant complaining about all those student loans, and how little they get starting out. They get pissed when I point out how nearly every other degree related profession has the same problems and no one had a gun to their head to make them get en ed. degree. Then they have the balls to complain about the hours. Seriously, they need to try working in pretty much any other profession before they open their mouths about that shit.

      2. You’re safe for a while. Don’t think about the fact that we’ll be the only ones working soon, while the others are at home serfing the intertoobz and drinking with half of our paycheck.

      1. Classic! tho the innernet is trying

  15. If progressives want to get behind an anti-poverty program that would actually help immigrant workers, they should support an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Illegal immigrants are already eligible for this federal program, which provides a direct income subsidy to low-wage workers. In a May 2015 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett called the EITC a better way to deliver on “the American Promise” of “a decent life for anyone willing to work.”

    Good lord, did you really write that in seriousness?

    Fuck off, slaver.

    1. Or you could take it as his snide way of pointing out how little progressives really care about the little people.

    2. I agree! WTF? However, as someone who prepares over a hundred tax returns a year, I would point out that the first requirement for the EITC is that every name on the return (taxpayer, spouse & qualifying children) must have a social security number that is valid for employment. And, yes, they check! If the ssan has shown up on a return already filed or if the name doesn’t match the Social Security Administration records, the return is bounced. Hopefully, most illegal aliens don’t have ssans valid for employment.

      1. Hopefully, most illegal aliens don’t have ssans valid for employment.

        In my limited experience, they mostly do. Its hard to get a job (that isn’t cash-only day work) without one.

        Its called “identity theft”. Many? Most? illegals have done it.

        1. I hope I have a few of them paying into my SS.

    3. Everyone gets annoyed at Robby for his strenuous disclaimers, but this is why they are necessary.

  16. *applause* – fantastic article, and exactly why I continue to read Reason.

    “It wasn’t work that Americans wanted to do,”

    Anybody got some commentary suggesting that a 12 hour shift at a fucking car was qualities as serfdom? Murkins still aren’t lining up in droves to pick vegetables and fruit despite the poor labour participation rate. Hmm, why could that be?

    1. Yes. Let’s talk about serfdom.

      In exchange for protection, service was required: in cash, produce or labour, or a combination of all.

      Let’s talk about requiring a quarter to half or more of a peasant’s labor going straight to the Top Man so that His Nibs can better protect and provide for us all.

      1. Dude, it’s all explained in the social contract. If you didn’t like the deal why did you sign the contract?

        1. Yeah! You signed that contract when you didn’t decide to move to another country and live under theirs!

          1. Gillespie doesn’t sound like a Japanese name to me.

  17. OT: Britain continues campaign to erase free speech.

    1. Not that they ever had free speech to begin with.

    2. FTA: The Express & Star reported that the complaint centred on a remark the ex-England international is said to have made about a black security guard who was in a darkened part of the stage, about whom Mr Gascoigne allegedly said he could not tell “if he was smiling or not”.

      Jesus H Christ. So no comedian who makes any kind of racial joke (except about whites) or sexist joke (except about white men) or sexuality joke (unless it’s about white heterosexual men) can ever safely perform there? But rape gangs can operate pretty much freely in Rotherham?

      Limetree Island is sinking.

      1. England is America’s future today.

        1. Don’t think so. No First Amendment in the UK or in Europe.

          The FA is one of the things I’m relatively optimistic about, its in pretty good shape, so far.

          1. Obviously you haven’t been to a college campus or within 100 yards of an abortion clinic lately.

            1. FIRE does a pretty good job dealing with the nonsense on campuses, most of which would not pass constitutional scrutiny.

              There is no free speech in Europe, or the rest of the world for that matter, its basically what you’re allowed to say and I dont see that changing.

              The US is unique with its commitment to freedom of expression under the FA. I have no allusions, if this debate were occurring today there would be no First Amendment, nor a Second Amendment for that matter.

              Pause a moment and give thanks to the Founding Fathers for recognizing and codifying these civil rights into the US Constitution.

              1. Founding “Fathers”? You white cis shitlord, how dare you!

                You may refer to them only as the ‘Founders’, and then only to decry their racism, sexism, slave ownership, or oppression of the trans community. Nothing positive!

                (All aside, sometimes I wonder if the college kiddies screaming that they want no more history/literature/science that involves straight white men, if they recognize the system that allows them to complain so loudly, in comfort and without fear, was created by those same straight white men. I wonder if they ever look at other places on earth, in which they think all the residents are superior to our founders, and see what would happen if they dared to dissent.)

                1. No, I dont think they do.

                  There does seem to be a problem here on campuses, I suspect I know the source of the problem.

                  I also dont exactly know what proportion of students believe this BS, a majority or just a few loud-mouthed idiots.

            2. “Obviously you haven’t been to a college campus or within 100 yards of an abortion clinic lately.”

              Funny, I’ve been to both lately (ok, near an abortion clinic, not inside) and I can say, unequivocally that no one did anything in any way to abridge my 1A rights.

          2. I hope you’re right.

          3. “Don’t think so. No First Amendment in the UK or in Europe.”

            Unfortunately, that doesn’t count for much. All they have to do is get the SCOTUS to rule that racism doesn’t count as free speech. They already came dangerously close to basically gutting the 1A in the Citizens United case.

            1. I dont see so-called racist speech being ruled as not covered by the 1A by SCOTUS, dont worry about that really happening though I’m sure many on the left desire such a decision very devoutly indeed.

              For now due to stare decisis I dont see them revisiting that decision, though who knows…

      2. The Limeys will all be in Burqas within a decade. I think the French will beat them to it.

        1. There are people pushing back in both countries and I don’t think those people are going to roll over. Not saying they’re going to win, but that it’s not going to be a one sided battle.

          1. They’d better do something, and soon.

        2. Not a decade. But probably in another generation or so, at least in France.

          Demography is destiny. France is done.

          An investigation of the French youths’ religious beliefs was conducted last spring by Ipsos. It surveyed nine thousand high school pupils in their teens on behalf of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Sciences Po Grenoble, and was released on February 4, 2016, by L’Obs, France’s leading liberal newsmagazine. Here are its findings:

          38.8% of French youths do not identify with a religion.
          33.2% describe themselves as Christian.
          25.5% call themselves Muslim.
          1.6% identify as Jewish.
          Only 40% of the young non-Muslim believers (and 22% of the Catholics) describe religion as “something important or very important” ;
          But 83% of young Muslims agreed with that statement.

          http://pjmedia.com/blog/latest…..muslims/2/

          1. Just a few more terrorists attacks is all it will take in France. The Islamists will then demand that France surrender to Islam and we all know what happens when someone demands that France surrender.

            1. I’ll start my white flag business now. Do the Franks use Amazon?

              1. You take all the white material, I’ll take the black. You make the surrender flags, I’ll make the burquas. All the world will live in peace and harmony.

                1. Ebony and ivory!

                  (No, you don’t want to gag listening to that tripe)

  18. The 67 percent wage hike will obliterate jobs at car washes and further the agenda of anti-immigrant conservatives?some of whom explicitly advocate for increasing the minimum wage because it reduces employment opportunities, halting future waves of illegal immigration and encouraging those already here to return to their countries of origin.

    I take issue with this in a couple ways:

    First, are they “anti-immigrant” or,”anti-illegal immigrant”? Many Most people think those are two separate things and lumping them together is disingenuous.

    Second: I’ve yet to hear many people say they want the minimum wage jacked up so the illegals will lose their jobs and go home. Care to cite a few links to support that statement? (Also circling back to my first complaint, why did you note they are illegals in the second part of the sentence but just say anti-immigrant in the first part of it? Again, two very different things to most people.)

    1. Most people think those are two separate things and lumping them together is disingenuous.

      Yep. It’s an intentional effort to frame critics of illegal immigration as racists with bad intentions.

      1. The LiberCosmotraian Moment!

    2. I’ve yet to hear many people say they want the minimum wage jacked up so the illegals will lose their jobs and go home.

      It does sound plausible though.

      I thought I read somewhere that the original MW laws were enthusiastically supported by labor unions to keep out blacks.

      1. But his comment specifically targeted conservatives. I want him to offer some support for the remark.

        1. I listen to a fair amount of conservative talk-radio while driving, and I have yet to hear that specific argument.

          1. It’s the first time I’ve heard it.

        2. Fair enough, agreed.

      2. If they reaaly wanted to cut down on illegal immigration, they would end the war on drugs which would make Mexico a much safer place to live.

        1. Mexico as a source of illegals is receding in importance, due to its own demographic and economic changes.

          1. Mexico has become more of a conduit for illegals and less a supplier of them over the past decade or so.

            1. That is true. But many of those people are also escaping drug war related violence.

              1. Oh, I was just parroting R C Dean’s sentiment. What you said is absolutely true.

    3. Plenty of conservatives want there to be fewer work visas issued in addition to ‘securing’ the border. Pretty sure that’s the dominant position at National Review.

      I have heard the argument, “legalize immigrants, forcing them to compete at the minimum wage,” though I don’t know how prominent that is among conservatives. It’s pretty clear that, so long as businesses can still operate with undocumented workers, raising the minimum wage would put them in even greater demand. Businesses will need labor that costs less than $15/hr.

      1. Actually, don’t most conservatives want more work visas issued? They just want to replace the shadow economy of illegal immigrants with a legitimate immigration policy where everybody coming here to work is doing so legally? I’m pretty sure just about every person calling for mass deportations is also calling for expanding the number of work visas issued to fill the gap once that deportation and border-securing happen.

        1. I’m pretty sure just about every person calling for mass deportations is also calling for expanding the number of work visas issued to fill the gap once that deportation and border-securing happen.

          I’ve seen a good number of “immigration skeptics” who want (or seem to want) a total freeze on immigration or at least a drastic reduction in illegal and legal immigration.

          Perhaps there’s more nuance (unskilled vs skilled, temporary visas vs. permanent residency), but it seems that many people are against, or at least “skeptical” of, immigration in all forms.

          See, e.g., PapayaSF.

          What you’re really talking about is a compromise position; enforce the law strictly first, then ease the burden of the law (“tall fence, wide gate”). There are a lot of people who don’t want the latter part of that formulation to happen, although they may not be a majority of those who want the former.

          1. The best possible scenario is that we leave immigration laws exactly like they are now and enforce them. Because anything the government does, as fucked up as it is now, will make it much, much, worse in every conceivable way. The words ‘comprehensive reform’ should be terrifying to anyone who cares about liberty.

            1. The words ‘comprehensive reform’ should be terrifying to anyone who cares about liberty.

              Agreed, but mostly because of the statist status quo. To be fair, mainstream libertarians (Gary Johnson, Cato, Reason, etc.) are really just a little less statist than the status quo, so they glom on to “realistic” proposals that don’t generally increase liberty in the aggregate due to network effects. Of course, they also do (or did, at least) a lot of good in the form of small-issue investigation and advocacy, but that doesn’t make them “big picture” experts (not that anyone really is).

              It bothers me to see people start off from unlibertarian premises then play the “more libertarian than thou” game; I have seen it from both pro- and anti- on any number of issues.

              1. N.B. this “reply” which doesn’t seem to have much to do with what you wrote is more of a general musing than a directed response.

            2. I agree Hyperion. We have decent immigration law, and have the flexibility to let more skilled and unskilled workers here on a temporary basis as demand dictates. But it needs to be done within a framework that recognizes who is here and for how long. And it needs to be done in conjunction with abolishing the welfare state.

              I know this runs counter to a lot of the open borders people here that I consider to be quite intelligent. But I just don’t ascribe to that theory when you have entire cultures that are anathema to our way of life (be they Islamists or otherwise) that will take away our freedom by way of the ballot box if too many of them get here. Look at France, England, Sweden and a host of other countries that are circling the drain from a freedom standpoint one local election at a time.

        2. I don’t know what most conservatives want. It’d be great if most of them do want more legal immigration, but I don’t think it’s that widespread. It is definitely not “just about every person.” I do know some want immigration further restricted (as kb said, there can be nuance between unskilled vs skilled workers). For example, one conservative criticism of Trump was that his companies relied on H-1B visa workers. He defended himself by saying that the incentives drove him to that, and policies should change so it makes sense to hire domestic workers. So both parties in that dispute think that H-1Bs should be restricted.

          Really, this should be obvious when Trump and others talk about jobs for Americans. The emphasis doesn’t make much sense if legal immigration is going to expand.

        3. I do.

          The reality is that a certain demand for entry into the US exists. There is also a limited supply of legal entry visas.

          People want to come here because life is better than the place they’re leaving. It can be either political or economic.

          Illegal immigration is a function of the demand being greater than the supply of visas. I don’t mind immigration, but I do want those who come here to be regulated and documented.

          We can adjust the economic demand by how many jobs are available at what wages, and by how much welfare is available. We can also adjust the number of available visas.

          Make it easier to be legal, and hell to be illegal.

  19. Wait, so the laws of supply and demand do apply to the price of labor? So, would that mean that an increase in the supply of cheap labor will drive down the price of labor? You, know, like if the U.S. were to be inundated with, say, 10 million illegal immigrants, that would drive down wages?

    1. That’s correct. It does have the benefit of driving down prices as well. If course until the government gets involved.

      1. Driving down what prices? Not actual rents (which are now insignificant in govt measures of prices) which will go up. Not on utilities or gasoline (though maybe a bit on transportation). Those three buckets alone account for 60%+ of the spending among those who will be competing with the new labor for their income.

        If you actually look at what people at different income levels spend their money on, the change in prices (eg restaurants, hotel/travel, clothing, personal services, etc) mostly benefits those at the higher income levels. The competition for jobs/income only affects those at the lower levels. So open borders and ‘free markets’ in migration actually does have social engineering effects – that is exacerbated not solved by more ‘free markets’ in labor migration.

        And when a portion of the population can’t satisfy its needs through the market/pricing system, it will surprise surprise seek to satisfy its needs through the voting system instead.

        1. Not on housing (rents)? You ever been to a construction site? Who do you think builds all of the new houses and apartments? As far as inner city rents go, all that is so distorted by government at all levels anyways.

          1. Illegals building houses does not reduce rents. Argue with it all you want but its reality and easily proven.

            And yes I agree that govt/taxes distort housing prices and rents and incentives for construction. And that distortion is EXACTLY what current property/home owners want since everyone now believes that they can steal from everyone else via inflation. And golly there’s another bit of social engineering.

            And my main point still stands. Those folks bitching about their current situation know FAR more about their situation than you do. And since the free market isn’t solving it (and advocates for ‘free markets’ don’t give a rats fuck about rentier cronyism that benefits them), they will pursue their self-interest via the voting system. You have zero chance of convincing them that they are just stupid and that you know better.

            1. Well it all comes back to getting the government out of the picture. Eliminate the welfare state (corporate and personal), eliminate price and wage controls, eliminate the WOD and the cost/benefit picture changes dramatically for a whole host of issues including immigration.

              1. I would add that with the exception of the terrorist assholes, Europe immigration problems would not be nearly as bad if they followed that same prescription. They’ve created an economic situation that insures 90% unemployment for immigrants yet they still bring them in and expect everything to turn out fine.

                1. They’ve created an economic situation that insures 90% unemployment for immigrants yet they still bring them in and expect everything to turn out fine.

                  This is where the rubber meets the road for social welfare states, I think. Differences in attitudes and expectations, as well as social/cultural boundaries, can result in disparate outcomes under the same set of government policies. It is ironic that these policies were established to ameliorate disparity of outcome, but ultimately one cannot overcome human nature through government action.

              2. Getting govt out of the picture is just babble – esp when you have specifically avoided the main underlying ‘force’ elements of govt. Who grants exclusive title to land and thereby grants a monopoly? Who enforces the terms of transfer/sale? Who is called upon to evict someone who trespasses on it? That is the force required to even be able to collect rent. Otherwise what you have is universal squatting (and no one will build on land or lend money against any of that where they can’t strictly enforce the title exclusivity). So what are you really asserting here?

                Get govt out of the picture except when it comes to enforcing the property rights of those who already have property? Well golly gee. Guess what they are gonna do next now that the state is working on their behalf and only on their behalf? They are gonna try to get someone else (eg someone who employs people who pay rent) to pay for that govt – and then tilt the market using govt force (eg welfare, price distorting, etc) so that it benefits them more.

                1. So you are advocating what exactly?

                2. Who is called upon to evict someone who trespasses on it? That is the force required to even be able to collect rent.

                  Required? Every tenant is delinquent?

                  The sheriff is called upon as much to protect the lessee from the landlord as the vice versa. The government enforces contractual agreements between two parties. If you renege on your end of the agreement, then you will face the penalties you agreed to.

                  If you don’t like it, then don’t rent.

            2. And since the free market isn’t solving it

              What free market? The market that exists is not free.

              they will pursue their self-interest via the voting system

              Which is to say, they will impose new rules and extract new rents. I.e., more of the same.

              Yet these new rules and new rents will just as much be extracted off the backs of bystanders and non-aggressors.

              You’re just peddling excuses for violence you like.

              1. You’re just peddling excuses for violence you like

                No I am asserting that NAP viewed from the perspective of someone who owns stuff already protected by govt and who propounds NAP to others is very different than NAP viewed from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have anything and is being lectured about NAP.

                Has nothing to do with what I like or dislike. It just fucking IS.

                1. No I am asserting that NAP viewed from the perspective of someone who owns stuff already protected by govt and who propounds NAP to others is very different than NAP viewed from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have anything and is being lectured about NAP.

                  So, what? Violence is justified if the disparity is large enough? Your aggression is justified if your envy is strong enough?

                  It just fucking IS.

                  No, it’s really not. Most poor people aren’t covetous thieves at heart.

                  1. No, it’s really not. Most poor people aren’t covetous thieves at heart.

                    No. They want to feed their family and put a roof over their head and maybe get ahead a bit. But when rent is 40%+ of their pay – and their landlord gets the tax deduction on their rent and the landlord squawks about free market while reaping the benefits of NIRP/ZIRP/bailouts and raises the rent when his pay goes up; then why are you surprised when the poor schmuck tries to get his through the govt too?

                    I am not advocating anything here. I am merely pointing out the obvious. And I don’t understand why so many free market ideologues are so willfully clueless about what actually happens in the world.

                    1. And I don’t understand why so many free market ideologues are so willfully clueless about what actually happens in the world.

                      ZIRP, NIRP, and bailouts are not free market policies

                      And tax deductions are not subsidies; your landlord may pay less tax than he would without the deduction, but he’s almost certainly still paying a lot more tax than you are.

                    2. But when rent is 40%+ of their pay

                      then they shouldn’t have signed the lease. A 1200+ sq ft apartment with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, washer and dryer, central heating/AC, and high-speed Internet is a far cry from what’s strictly necessary to feed your family and put a roof over your head. Yet that is the bare minimum that many people will accept. If you have the money, then it’s not a problem; if you don’t, then you expect too much. The same goes for cars, and healthcare, and other “big ticket” expenses. Expectations have grown out of pace with the means to afford them.

                      Despite all of the hand-wringing about “stagnant” wages and “raising” prices, the cost of living to the standards of the 1950s is no higher today than it was in the 1950s. The effects of monetary policy have largely been to provide the illusion that you can live to the standards of the 2010s with no additional upfront cost. That is a fallacy, to be sure, but it is one paid largely on the backs of the frugal, savers, and net taxpayers. No one with thousands of dollars in debt has any right to complain that their landlord isn’t paying enough taxes.

                      The lie you tell is that “free market ideologues” and “Randians” have created this system for their own benefit. But such individuals command an insignificant share of the voters. Nobody wins elections by appealing to Objectivism or laissez-faire economics. They win elections by promising to deliver something for nothing.

                    3. This.

                      I got married in the mid 80’s when the economy was still struggling in my post-industrial hometown. So we moved – to the DC ‘burbs where jobs were plentiful. However, rents were high, so we bundled up. I put my name on a one-floor, three-bedroom apartment. My wife, two children and I were in the first bedroom, my wife’s brother, his wife and three children in the second bedroom, and my wife’s two unmarried sisters in the third bedroom (they helped watch the kids.)

                      Within two years we all got husbands or better jobs and moved on. Next we rented half an older house, after that a nicer townhouse, and ten years on bought a house we had built. Ten years after that we moved back to our hometown, turning the cash from the home sale in Virginia to a house fully paid fro with cash in Pa, which we’ve been in for twelve years.

                    4. ZIRP, NIRP, and bailouts are not free market policies

                      And yet most free market advocates who personally benefit from them a)ignore that and b)ignore the impact of that on those who suffer from that distortion and c)blame those who don’t benefit from that distortion as anti-free market when they open their mouths.

                      A 1200+ sq ft apartment with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, washer and dryer, central heating/AC, and high-speed Internet is a far cry from what’s strictly necessary to feed your family and put a roof over your head. Yet that is the bare minimum that many people will accept.

                      Stop jerking off to theories and ideas. Get out in the real world. Folks like you are gonna be the ones calling the cops to use force to criminalize ‘competitive housing’ far below those standards – like say this – http://kwgn.com/2012/05/14/den…..ban-9-4-7/ — and then lecture THEM about NAP.

                      And while there are few people who accept that standard of housing; there are a large number of people who are about 1-2 paychecks away from being forced to accept that standard of housing. Those are the folks who go to sleep every night worried about tomorrow. They are the ones who will listen to ‘living wage’ or ‘we are from govt to help’ or ‘we’re getting bad deals from China’. They WON’T listen to free market folks selling lollipops unless you can deal with their reality.

                    5. Folks like you are gonna be the ones calling the cops to use force to criminalize ‘competitive housing’ far below those standards

                      You know nothing about me, yet you presume to know and judge. I don’t vote for ever more complicated zoning ordinances. I live somewhere with a relative minimum of such nonsense. But I have only one vote, and if enough of my neighbors want it, then my only choice will be to accept it or move. That’s the system we live in. That’s “the real world”.

                      Since this entire thread is about the minimum wage and the harms it causes, one would presume that anyone not attacking the title premise is in agreement with it. And so am I. That goes double for any regulations that prevent someone earning a “low” wage from being able to afford to live. I don’t call the cops when someone sets up competitive housing (with respect for the private property of others), I applaud it.

                      And yes, I know lots of people are just one or two paychecks from living in the conditions I described to living in the conditions you’re pointing to. I am also positing a connection between those two facts. To some extent, the government has made “being poor” illegal unto itself, but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people end up there because of bad choices.

            3. Oh, and along the way I upped my income from $5/hr to nearly $40/hr, doing the same job, by productivity gains through newer technology and my continuing free education on the internet, teaching myself database and coding languages.

      2. It does have the benefit of driving down prices as well.

        Quibble. I would say “it has the benefit of driving prices to their true position”. Sometimes that will be down when the regulations and oversight go away and sometimes it will be up.

        1. I concede to that quibble.

    2. Admiral Akbar senses a trap.

  20. I see a fatal flaw in this logic. Some employers do not pay their illegal alien employees minimum wage or overtime or any benefits. That’s why they hire them.

  21. I’ve gotta wonder why any unskilled/semiskilled person remains in/near NYC. Structurally – what is keeping them there? From what I can see, median rents for a 1BR in the outer outer exurbs are in the $1500 range and other prices are high too. It makes little sense to me why anyone earning under say $50,000 or so remains in/near NYC. Which basically means that roughly half the population of NYC (except for maybe the waiters who think they will make it big on Broadway someday) would be better off moving almost anywhere than remaining in NYC.

    If half the population left, that would obliterate rents – so I can see why landlords want to keep poor people there. If the min wage goes up, half of that money will simply end up in their pockets thru higher rents anyway so they are a natural ally for ‘living wage’ progs crony. Other property owners are prob similar – if they’ve leveraged up on debt to support their prop purchase, they will do anything to spread the risk of falling asset prices to someone else (eg someone who employs people). Pols want to keep people in place and dependent so they don’t incur redistricting risks or independent voters.

    I guess I’ve answered my question about why poor people remain there.

    1. I was watching one of those house hunter shows one day, it’s probably been a couple years ago or maybe more, where a couple in Manhattan were looking to move to Jersey because of the rent. They had a tiny one bedroom apartment, where the kitchen was so small they had to store their cookware in the over. The rent was 2400 a month. No parking space either, so they couldn’t own a car.

      1. oven, not over.

    2. I doubt poor unskilled/semiskilled are living as a single occupant in a 1BR.

    3. A lot of those “1BR” apartments have more than one bed inside.

  22. I’ve been reading “What is Free Trade” by Frederic Bastiat and one point he makes that is quite obvious but is always lost in the conversation is that politicians and labor associations (not necessarily unions) always try to increase labor and production at the expense of the consumption side of human life.

    In other words everyone tries to get the government in their pocket to protect their profession at the expense of their consumers so that everyone pays more for everything.

    Fascinating read.

    1. Bah, Bastiat was a crazy teabagger! The words Free Trade are just pretty words used by wreckers, kulaks, and robber barons to oppress the masses and get rich off their labor!

      1. I hope you are being sarcastic and not a retard.

    2. When you are a producer, it is easy to believe that the purpose of the economy is production. As far as government goes, as a producer it is easier to get the ear of politicians than if you are a consumer. Not only that, but the best way for government to help consumers is to get the fuck out of the way, and there’s no power in that. So it is only natural that producers and government team up to fuck over consumers for their own personal benefit.

      1. I think it’s notable that producers can tilt the ear of politicians and bureaucrats more than consumers because they can provide jobs (which voters want) and taxable revenue (which is necessary to give voters other things they want). Cronyism and rent-seeking are the price of artificial stability, which is a revealed if not stated preference of many voters.

        1. Most people think businesses exist to create jobs, not products.

          1. Most people think businesses exist to pay them the amount of money they need to live on.

  23. “halting future waves of illegal immigration and encouraging those already here to return to their countries of origin”

    That statement might have made sense if it weren’t for the copious and generous social welfare benefits that everyone, regardless of legal status, is eligible to receive as a benefit of being here.

    1. You sound like one of them Trump-nazis.

      1. Definite Trump Nazi, only Trump Nazis want any limit on illegal immigration at all. Just throw those gates wide open, we have plenty of room for half of the 3rd world.

        1. OMG, typical pants shitting retarded comment I’ve come to expect from people like you who ignore the vast research proving that all immigrants just want to start profitable businesses (except for the ones who blow shit up, but that’s the price of freedom)
          /cytotoxic

          1. Funny how Cytotoxic, a flapping headed, beady eyed Canadian, has such strong opinions on America’s immigration policies. Also, didn’t he vote for Trudeau? He’s already sold his soul to Beelzaboot.

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  25. I do not know whether to be amused or upset at thiscavalier attitude of “let the taxpayers support the low wage workers and we can live in a Luddite paradise” here

    Those carwashes are relics. When everyone else has automated, the available cheap labor allows to remain mired in the past. Reminds me of that washer salesman who in India tried to convince a housewife to buy one. The answer was “why should I buy one when I can get a laundress to do it for pennies?’ You might think that it is good for the consumer, the housewife, maybe for the laundress, but it is lousy for appliance makers and salesmen. And in the end, the housewife is cheated of good laundering, and the laundress of a better job at an appliance factory.

    Expensive labor is not the only reason people choose technological progress. A better product is also the result. L

    Labor costs, like all costs have a floor, which is how much it costs to produce it. When someone consistently buys something below costs the difference has to come from somewhere, and if you do not now where that somewhere is, chances are that it is your pocket. If it costs so much money to live close enough to where you work, then the idea to let the taxpayers make up the difference amounts to saying “subsidize my business” to people who might never shop there. I wonder why you think that is a reasonable demand to make of taxpayers like me.

    I do not like having my pocket picked so that you can live in a Luddite paradise.

    1. Labor costs, like all costs have a floor, which is how much it costs to produce it.

      The cost to produce labor is fucking, an ability possessed by at least 99% of the population at some point in their lives. There’s a reason most historical economies were based around slave and child labor.

      1. I hope that you are not endorsing slavery.

        By the way, you could take a look as to the effect of cheap labor (aka slavery) in the American experiment. At the beginning the Southern states were the richest and had the greater population. By the eve of the Civil War the reverse was true (Check “Abraham Lincoln, Authoritarian Savior” by Alexander Groth). Dependence on cheap (slave) labor did the South in, while the North prospered.

        1. You’re shifting the goalposts. You said, or at least implied, that there was a natural price floor on labor and that the minimum wage reflects that floor. I am calling that argument into question. What you just said about the economics of slavery is true. It also has nothing to do with your original argument.

          To reinforce my own point, the natural price floor on labor is and always will be $0. Any costs incurred to bring a person from birth to working age (food, shelter, etc.) are already sunk. Saying that no one should be employed for $1/hr because it’s “below cost” is saying that it’s better they aren’t paid at all, or worse yet are paid for doing nothing by welfare programs.

          1. There IS a floor. People need to stay alive to work, and staying alive requieres certain things that cost money.. Wages are supposed to cover that.

            1. Unless you can raise zombies…

              You could get robots, of course. but robots need electricity, and oiling, and maintenance…

              The cost is never 0 until you get a workforce that lives on air.

            2. I imagine that you think that a car’s cost is its sticker price, and never considers the gas it has to consume to function.

              1. I imagine that you think that a car’s cost is its sticker price, and never considers the gas it has to consume to function.

                When I sell that car five years later, the buyer doesn’t pay me extra for every dollar I’ve ever sunk into the car on gas and maintenace. In fact, he won’t even pay me the sticker price! The fact that there are ancillary costs besides the sticker price is irrelevant at the time of sale. Items depreciate and maintenance costs do not increase the value of the item.

                Similarly, the wage a business pays its workers is between the lowest the worker will accept and the highest the business will pay. There is no inherent connection to any previous, ongoing, or future expenses. Those are up to the worker himself to pay (or not) as law and custom require.

                1. The resale value is irrelevant. I imagine that you do not buy a car to resell, but to use it. You used it, and the cost of that use was the gas.

                  What you propose is to get a car, and put gas on it at $1.00 the gallon, below what it costs to produce and say that “the station owner agreed to it”. Now do the math. How does the station owner make a difference?

                  a) he’s going to burn the station for the insurance soon.
                  b) he’s going trhough a nasty divorce, and wants to give the wife the gas station
                  c) the station is a front for a money laundering scheme
                  d) he sells drugs on the side
                  e) he makes other customers pay the difference
                  f) he gets a government subsidy

                  In this case we have f) and as a taxpayer I want to now what the f***k I am getting for my money. I want to say that I do not think that this is a wise way to spend it. It is MY money that you are spending, because it seems the market needs some help from us taxpayers and the govrnment to function as you think it should

            3. Wages are supposed to cover that.

              According to what? And you keep dodging the salient point. Some wage is better than no wage, even if that wage is “not enough”.

              1. They made that argument about slavery too. That at least you got fed.

    2. You think a machine does a better job than a laundress? No way. Machine laundry does not improve the results over hand washing, in fact vice versa. In places where people’s time is less valuable, hand laundry is a better use of it than making machines. One of the reasons washing machines are practicable is that clothing mfg. has also improved, so we can afford the wear & tear on the fabrics caused by the machines. Lately the machines have gotten much better in this regard, but it wasn’t that way for many years. Washing machines also necessitated improvements in detergents. Still, you won’t get better results with a machine than you would using a cake of soap by hand; it just takes longer than washing & drying loads by machine.

      1. Well, if the laundress uses the time-honored system of beating with a rock, the clothes might last longer with a machine. Also clothes that might need disenfecting can be washed with real hot water or bleach in a machine better than by hand.

        But you do not address my concern which is that somehow the mantra “let the market take care of it” has devolved to “let’s stick the taxpayers with the bill”. And speaking as a taxpayer, subsidizing someone’s obsolete business model seems to be a silly way of addressing any problems.

        1. And speaking as a taxpayer, subsidizing someone’s obsolete business model seems to be a silly way of addressing any problems.

          Would you rather they weren’t paid at all, or collected welfare?

          You may say the business model is “obsolete” but obviously there is some demand for it. The supply may be subsidized, but if so then attack the subsidy directly. The (statutory) minimum wage is a red herring with respect to the obsolescence and/or subsidization of a business model.

          Moreover, the market consists of different segments. The relative value of time and money across the segments varies greatly. For you, the capital cost of technological solutions may be outweighed by the labor cost of manual solutions. For other people, the opposite is true.

          1. I do not say that the business is obsolete, but the business plan is. And whatever society ills need fixing, as a taxpayers, I prefer that they do not be handled via a Goldberg machine of subsidizing a dinosaur of a business model. I prefer less silly solutions.

            1. You’re the only making it convoluted. It is not. I offer $1/hr. You either accept or reject $1/hr. Whether or not it’s “enough” is up to you, not the government.

              1. Sorry, when to be “enough” you have to tap on the taxpayer’s money, then the taxpayers, and the government has a say. If I am paying I want to know what the f**k I am getting for my money. You think that because I am a taxpayer it is OK to take my money to subsidize your ideological dreams?

                If they have to raise prices and pass it on to their consumers, it means that it is they who pay instead of what we have now, which is that people subsidize the labor costs, even if they never set foot on the business. I prefer that businesses do it the old fashioned way, that they get my money by giving me something in return.

    3. I do not like having my pocket picked so that you can live in a Luddite paradise

      if I finish all of my chores and you finish thine
      Then tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1699

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOfZLb33uCg

      1. Weird Al is God

  26. Am I crazy or has America not had drive-through car washes for long, if at all?
    I mean, they’ve been in Canada for at least 40 years.

    1. i.e. automated drive-through car washes. Where you pay the guy at the gas station $10, you punch a code, and you drive through. Our alternatives if the DIY ones where you put a loonie in the box and select water, foam, wax, brush, etc.
      I didn’t see a human-powered car wash until I was in AZ in my late 40s.

      1. I guess it depends on the local economy. Where I grew up (upstate NY) there was no bottomless well of cheap labor like there is in NYC and furthermore the economy was always shit so the minimum wage is much more of a hit than in expensive regions. All carwashes were automatic as far back as I can remember (35 years or so).

    2. When I grew up in NYC–longer ago than I’d care to admit–I don’t think I EVER saw anything except automated car washes.

  27. Am I crazy or has America not had drive-through car washes for long, if at all?
    I mean, they’ve been in Canada for at least 40 years.

    1. Are you confusing drive-thru w chain-driven?

  28. I was paid in cash for some side jobs here and there. The IRS probably knows this, but it’s sort of pointless and politically inconvenient for them to pursue these transactions. But once minimum wage officially hits 15 bucks in these big cities, I wonder how long the local government can ignore cash business? The left is keen on prosecuting wage theft and while they might be hesitant to go after immigrant owned businesses, all they need is sob story or a sympathetic victim to enact far reaching measures.

    When the legal minimum wage is 10 bucks, you don’t lose out that much if the employer pays you 9 dollars an hour in cash. When it goes up by 15 bucks, some illegals will start to get ideas. Some Asian places pay as little as 5 bucks an hour.

    I’m thinking illegals will be able to unionize in the next 3 years, and at that point “jobs Americans won’t do” will officially go to automation or transition into something else. If you think about it, the free market won’t tolerate many jobs that exist only because certain segment of the population is up to it. If there’s no demand for work or it can done more efficiently barring participation of certain individuals, the market will adjust accordingly.

  29. They already came dangerously close to basically gutting the 1A in the Citizens United case. They just want to replace the shadow economy of illegal immigrants with a legitimate immigration policy where everybody coming here to work is doing so legally?

  30. According to conservatives supply and demand don’t apply to the illegal drug market.

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  33. My first actual job, other than a paper route, street vending, and one summer on a government funded training program at a college radio station, was in a car wash. The wage (this is 1977) was 2.20 per hour, and wash paid in daily cash, at the end of each day. It was the most filthy and toxic work I’ve had to this day, and that includes more than ten year of commercial and institutional janitorial work. Are low wages better than none at all? That’s a question for the workers to answer. But when you get your car washed remember to tip well if you get good service; it’s a really horrible job.

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  37. So in other words, when unions and labor laws kill off the stationary car wash business, a new app that allows self-employed carwasheros to find customers will replace the entire carwash business, and then city governments everywhere will be wondering how to force them to buy licenses, get background checks, and pay taxes.

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