Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Tad Story, the Minimum Wage and the Advancement of Liberty

In the above video, Jeff Tucker tells the story of a mentally handicapped person that was laid off because of a minimum wage hike that applied "to everyone in the store."

That would not be the case. Like everything else when you deal with government, there is a form that needs to be filled out, but mentally retarded individuals are exempt from standard minimum wage hikes.

The Department of Labor explains:
Section 14(c) of the FLSA authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay special minimum wages - wages less than the Federal minimum wage - to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed. The certificate also allows the payment of wages that are less than the prevailing wage to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed on contracts subject to the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA).

A worker who has disabilities for the job being performed is one whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those relating to age or injury. Disabilities which may affect productive capacity include blindness, mental illness, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, alcoholism and drug addiction.
Some form of this exemption has been on the books for ages. It is a prime example, by the way, that legislators and bureaucrats well understand that the minimum wage destroys jobs for low productivity workers. Otherwise, why would they provide an exemption for the least capable in society?

If we are going to advance liberty, we need to get our facts straight. The story about the mentally retarded is not that minimum wage hikes apply to them but that the exemptions, provided to employers of the mentally retarded, are given because the government knows damn well that you can't just declare a higher minimum wage without consequences to the least productive members in an economy.

In the Tucker story, it may have been that the manager did not understand the law, although this sounds unusual, but the key is that advocates of liberty need to properly understand the law and the economics of a situation. Anybody repeating Tucker's story to a person, who knows the law, is going to get blown out of the water in a debate or discussion.



  1. I work in a grocery store in a town that has several schools and industries for people with disabilities. The store has many many employees who are disabled in one form or another. Mostly as bag boys, some are stockers but low skill jobs none the less. These people will certainly be the 1st to go when the min. wage is raised. Sad. And even more sad that Democrats can't do the intellectual leg work to figure out how MW laws hurt the very portion of society they are trying to help.

    1. Democrats? Remind me again, which Republican administration prevented a rise in the federal minimum wage?

      The Grand Old Progressives raise it every chance they get. Two wings, same bird of prey.