By Bryan Caplan
Radley Balko amusingly reveals that ACORN, a group that crusades for the minimum wage, has been trying to pay its employees below the minimum wage for years. Ad hominem attack, right? No, there’s more to it:
In a suit ACORN filed to exempt itself from California’s minimum wage laws, the organization wrote in its brief:
“As acknowledged both by the trial court and California, the more that ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker–either because of minimum wage or overtime requirements–the fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire.”
This reminds me of a guy I know who believes that collusion prevails in every industry but his own. There, it’s “cutthroat competition.” Where does he work? Defense contracting! I’d say his personal experience is a lot more trustworthy than his speculations.
Similarly, here we’ve got a movement that pays no heed to the employment effects of the minimum wage – except in the one industry its members are actually familiar with.
Balko works for the Cato Institute. I was an intern there back in 1991, and I was proud to defend my right to work there for as little as Cato chose to pay me. It’s hard to see how the interns at ACORN could feel the same way.