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» Thursday's Daily News from The Club for Growth Blog
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» Minimum Consistency from EconLog
Radley Balko amusingly reveals that ACORN, a group that crusades for the minimum wage, has been trying to pay its... [Read More]

» Minimum Consistency from EconLog
Radley Balko amusingly reveals that ACORN, a group that crusades for the minimum wage, has been trying to pay its... [Read More]

» BUUUURRRN! from Grandinite
If you like your leftyism somewhat hypocritical, then have a read of THIS post from Morgan Spurlock Watch. Also, check out Canadian Comment’s post entitled: Paul Martin’s Legacy So Far. “If only Paul Martin had not become Prime Mi... [Read More]

» as if we needed any more proof that minimum wage from The Defenestration of Blog
As if we needed any more proof that minimum wage laws are moronic ACORN, a group that agitates for high mimimum wages, has petitioned a court in California to exempt itself from the state's minimum wage laws! [Read More]

» Morgan Spurlock's Activism...Rigged? from Insulted
Morgan Spurlock, who tried living on McDonalds food for thirty days straight in the critically acclaimed Supersize Me has created an interesting show based on his movie's premise: allowing various individuals the opportunity to spend 30 Days doing some... [Read More]

» Minimum Consistency from EconLog
Radley Balko amusingly reveals that ACORN, a group that crusades for the minimum wage, has been trying to pay its... [Read More]

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From Radley Balko's Spurlock Watch: What's funny is that Spurlock dismissed the "a higher minimum wage means fewer jobs" argument... [Read More]

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Radley Balko's Spurlock Watch claims a group affiliated with Morgan Spurlock's TV series refuses to pay their own employees fair... [Read More]

Comments

MT

It's common knowledge that activist-organizers are often underpaid and overworked. The AFL-CIO used to admit as much on its website where one would go to apply for an organizer position. One might point out that there are more gross abuses in volunteer positions--which are the mainstay of all political and social activism as well as much of religious life. We traditionally make a distinction between jobs that people take because of their beliefs, and jobs that people take in order to make a living. Have you any sense of the implications, if in fact groups that utilize the labor of people who are working in positions in the former category are subject to the same constraints as those in the latter? Have you got a solution? It's about time someone did.

I still don't see what this has to do with the credibility of a group that seeks to raise the minimum wage. It seems to me a trivial irony of the political process when one considers that it takes armies to protect the peace, personal restraint to foster liberty, and property to have a free market.

Lucas Wiman

I frequently wonder about minimum wage advocates, and what planet they're living on. While I do understand that adults with children need a much better than minimum wage, do they consider the highschool and college students who partially live off minimum wage jobs. I have very few expenses other than tuition (paid for by people other than me), but even working part time at minimum wage, I was able to pay for my room, board, and a fair amount of leisure money. Had the minimum wage been higher, I would have either had a much harder time finding a job, or had to take on a more responsible job which requires some kind of skill. Neither of these sounds very attractive when my focus needs to be on school. I think people in need of a "living wage" should go out into the job market and find one.

Noumenon

It seems to me a trivial irony of the political process when one considers that it takes armies to protect the peace, personal restraint to foster liberty, and property to have a free market.

Well said. My take on it: must every employee of the AARP be made to donate money to the Social Security trust fund before the organization can advocate for higher taxes and benefits?

All in all, though, it seems like not even a concerted PR attack could make ACORN look this bad if it was really clean.

josh

The other obvious, preaching to the choir problem, does ACORN want to help poor people or people like Lucas whose parents can afford to pay his college tuition?

TJIC

I had an amusing interaction with an Acorn worker four days ago:

http://tjic.com/blog/?p=878

Visitor: I’m from Acorn.

TJIC: Sorry, I can’t help.

Visitor: We don’t want money; we just want your signature on a petition.

TJIC: What does the petition say?

Visitor: It says we’re trying to raise the minimum wage.

TJIC: I don’t believe in the minimum wage.

Visitor: Exactly!

TJIC: I think you misunderstand me. I don’t believe that there should be a minimum wage AT ALL.

Visitor: Right, I…uh, what?

(continues at the blog)

Aaron

"I still don't see what this has to do with the credibility of a group that seeks to raise the minimum wage."

If they were Libertarians aruging that people enter into contracts by free will, then everything would be okay.

What if instead, they were a group of environmentalists advocating the abolition of nuclear power and promoted Kyoto, yet obtained all their collective electricity from nuclear and coal-fired plants?

To send the appropriate message, they have to be all-out. They'd send a much better message if they obtained their power from sustainable resources.

If these people believe in a living wage, then their message is diminished in their willingness to work for less than a living wage, because, by extension, people working for minimum wage or less could have entered into a contract of their own free will.

If they even thought of countering with the possibility that folks who work at minimum wage do so because they are exploited, then the fact that the activists work for the same wage could be construed that their political beliefs allow them to be exploited.

dtrod

http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_acorns_nutty_regime.html

check out city journal's article on ACORN. Losers.

Lucas Wiman

Here's the text of an email I sent my father after I saw a recording someone made of this show:

Last night I saw an episode of Morgan Spurlock's new F/X show called
"30 Days." The premise of the show is someone (in this case him) does
something weird for 30 days (act like a Muslim, work as a bartender at
a gay bar, work a minimum wage job, etc.) He and his wife worked
low-wage jobs for 30 days, and ended up something like $800 in the
hole at the end. Of course, around $250 of this is in the form of
deposits which only have to be made once per address. Their biggest
expense was medical bills, which is not entirely unrealistic--that
sort of thing happens. But the way they handled the medical problems
was idiotic. Morgan went *to the emergency room* because his wrist
was in a lot of pain after he started a landscaping job. Their advice
was, shockingly, to go easy on the wrist, take aspirin, and ice it
when it gets swollen. They also bandaged the joint. Note that these
are all really obvious things which he could have done for about $10,
including bus fair. His wife went to the emergency room for a bladder
infection. Doctor's office: $125 including prescription. Emergency
room: $600. Treating a swollen joint yourself $10. Emergency room:
$600.

I wonder how many people watch this show and think "Gosh, life at
minimum wage is totally impossible." Well, it's not easy (especially
if you have kids), but poor people know how to live cheaply. At the
beginning of the episode, after they moved into their new address,
they longed for furniture (which they eventually got donated by a
church which accepts furniture donations). They asked "Where can you
go to get furniture if you don't have any money?" [My roommate] and I both
said (almost simultaneously) "trash piles." One of my friends has 7
couches in his house, all obtained from trash piles. At another point
in the episode, they were at the grocery store, and were $7 short on
the tab. At this point, Morgan says "OK, I guess we'll put back this
water, and this Coke." That's right, he was buying bottled water and
soda. The mind boggles.

Mike C.

But the way they handled the medical problems
was idiotic. Morgan went *to the emergency room* because his wrist
was in a lot of pain after he started a landscaping job.

It's even worse than idiotic. Every state in the union has workmen's comp for job-related injuries. The fact that this cost him anything at all just shows how dishonest his portrayal was.

blueeyes

Minimum wage still earns you $10,300 a year, still above the poverty line for a single adult, and that's with a veerrrry generous strategy of 40 hour work weeks. It only takes two hours of overtime a week to bump that amount into the 'single parent' poverty level. And while you'll certainly hear horror stories about the problems of living near or at the poverty line, it still will buy you the mimimums. I should know - I did it for a year and a half. It's possible to survive even with real disasters (not the cost of Coke and a bladder infection).

There are many downsides to raising minimum wage. If you'll remember the highest minimum wage has gotten in 2005 dollars ($8.85 in 1968), where inflation doubled and the CPI pretty much followed the same. Thankfully, capitalism tends to correct the mistakes of politicians, but it wasn't exactly the best few years for any economists.

gina alexiou

It would have been nice too if they would practice what they preached maybe their campaign would carry more weight and have better results , and lets face it try living on min. wage what is it 5.45 or something like that , i guess its ok for a teen working a mickey D' s but not when you have a family to support .

anony-mouse

"lets face it try living on min. wage what is it 5.45 or something like that, i guess its ok for a teen working a mickey D' s but not when you have a family to support."

But, that's not the issue. The issue is whether a minimum wage hike reduces employment opportunities and/or raises the general cost of living in an economy, which it arguably does. That benefits the minimum wage worker not one iota, because either s/he cannot find work, or s/he is still spending the same proportionate amount of income as before.

Furthermore, speaking partially from experience, the typical fast food restaurant has such high turnover in both the part-time and managerial positions that a dedicated, competent worker can start part-time and very quickly rise into a management position if so desired. That results in a job higher than minimum wage, with reasonable opportunity for wage increases, and a limited range of benefits (the degree of which depends partially on whether the store is a locally-owned franchise, part of a franchise conglomerate, or a corporate-owned).

The Redonkulous Linker

You said: "the first episode of Spurlock's 30 Days was co-sponsored by ACORN." But according to the link you provided, only the PREVIEW screening was sponsored by ACORN. This is an admittedly minor point, but it shows that ACORN didn't have anything to do with sponsoring the show or its content, it just sponsored a screening that happened after the show was produced.

Scott

(From your linked article) "Those findings are damning enough by themselves. Eighteen thousand dollars per year at 54+ hours a week breaks down to about $6.40 per hour..."

Unless ACORN could argue all these low-level employees are 'management', wouldn't they be required to pay 'time-and-a-half' for the weekly hours over 40... reducing the effective hourly rate to under $6.00/hr.?(Paid the equivalent of 61hrs/wk for 50wks/yr)

Aaron

You might want to link to Econopundit, who also criticizes the minimum wage Spurlock show...including Spurlock turning down better paying jobs and not realizing he can get workman's comp for an injury.

MrLefty

Spurlock isn't responsible for what ACORN does as a corporate entity.

ACORN is, and should be lambasted for being hypocrites, but that doesn't mean that their argument in favour of an actually liveable minimum wage is "wrong".

Eric H

Mr. Lefty is right. Their hypocrisy doesn't mean that their argument in favor of an actually livable minimum wage is wrong, it just means that they're hypocrites. The fact that their argument in favor of an actually livable minimum wage is wrong, however, does mean that their argument in favor of an actually livable minimum wage is wrong. Their arguments to the regulators against an actually livable minimum wage are correct.

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