Skip to main content

How the Minimum Wage Harms the Intellectually-Disabled

A wide range of research demonstrates a dearth of employment options for individuals operating at an IQ below 87. A great many psychologists have staked the claim that society must work to address this problem. 

Given that 15 percent of the population operates below this level, this is a pressing issue meriting serious consideration. Fortunately, we could resolve a great measure of this problem overnight, but unfortunately political considerations will prevent us from doing so. 

How could we do it overnight?

Simply, by abolishing the minimum wage

Persons with IQ below 87 would stand a far greater chance of securing employment if the minimum wage were simply eliminated. 

While many intellectually-disabled individuals are exempt from the minimum wage, many are not — for a lack of eligibility or for unawareness of their respective disabilities — while those who are exempt are often placed in group employment settings by vocational rehabilitation service providers that furnish their own bespoke minimum wages by anchoring to the local minimum wage. 

For example, intellectually-disabled groups are often assembled to offer employers unskilled labor at sub-minimum-wage rates; however, those groups consist of several individuals who are collectively less productive than one intellectually-average individual. 

The non-profit or government agent generously assigns productivity quotients to those individual group members, expressed as a percentage of what the charitable and low-IQ staff member classifies as full functionality, which is represented by the productivity of that same staff member in the performance of those same menial tasks. 

Her proficiency with those tasks, as measured personally, becomes the benchmark — or the denominator  for those quotients, where her score equals 100 percent.

Given that the average non-profit agent in that space operates from a relatively low IQ herself, and given her lack of incentive to perform at a high level — as her performance is never assessed by any other party — the results are predictable: she will set a low bar for productivity, tilting productivity quotients toward the higher end, which unwittingly diminishes employers' demand by rendering the group's labor unjustifiably expensive; in the long run, the employer eventually discovers that the quoted price is too high for the given level of productivity, or rather for the lack thereof, or the climbing minimum wage eventually makes it so. 

As the minimum wage rises, those productivity quotients render the employees increasingly expensive, whereupon they become too expensive to retain, given the higher-IQ alternatives available at the equivalent price level. 

The agent's poor assessment, then, yields irrevocable incongruence between intellectually-disabled persons who were all the while happy to work for the lower wage and employers who were willing to employ them at that rate, which regrettably works to effectively price them out of the market. 

Individuals struggling with only moderate intellectual disabilities, on the other hand, are ineligible for the minimum-wage exemption, qualifying only for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). 

However, this credit effectively saves the employer only a trivial amount, roughly 2 percent of wages, which equates to pennies per hour per hire. 

This discount is especially trivial when considering the inferior level of productivity and the elevated risks of violent, unpredictable or otherwise unprofessional conduct inherent in the behavior of low-IQ, intellectually-disabled individuals. 

Ultimately, society is not independently responsible for the well-being of any individual, and the same is true for those of low intellectual capacity. Indeed, society is nothing more than the sum manifestation of individuals who are responsible only for themselves, insofar as they are not encroaching upon the freedom of others to do the same.

Unfortunately, policymakers and their disciples have ignored this precept in favor of populism and the well-intentioned social policies it has engendered.

However, social policies that intend to improve the lot of those individuals appear to have secured the reverse effect. 

While the free market may not assign a monetary value to the observer's liking, the market for intellectually-disabled employment serves a wholly different end from that served by the higher-skilled counterpart. 

For the intellectually-disabled community, which is largely unproductive in the strictly economic sense, the vast majority are interested in the non-economic values of pride and dignity that accompany rewarding work; they are scarcely interested in the numbers on their paychecks. 

Those numbers are relevant only to bureaucrats and diplomats who are selling something else. 

And those bureaucrats are plainly willing to sacrifice anything for the benefit of their own personal dreams and aspirations, which purely benefit none of the people they claim to help. 

Just don't expect them to be so honest about those sacrifices or aspirations.


Popular posts from this blog

America's Civil War: Not "Civil" and Not About Slavery

Virtually the entirety of South and Central America, as well as European powers Britain, Spain and France, peacefully abolished slavery — without war — in the first sixty years of the nineteenth century.  Why, then, did the United States enter into a bloody war that cost over half of the nation’s wealth, at least 800,000 lives and many hundreds of thousands more in casualties?  The answer: the War Between the States was not about slavery.  It was a war of invasion to further empower the central government and to reject state sovereignty, nullification of unconstitutional laws, and the states’ rights to secession.  It was a war that would cripple the South and witness the federal debt skyrocket from $65 million in 1860 to $2.7 billion in 1865, whose annual interest alone would prove twice as expensive as the entire federal budget from 1860. It was a war whose total cost, including pensions and the burial of veterans, was an estimated $12 billion. Likewise, it was a war that would

Into the Wild: An Economics Lesson

There is a great deal of substance behind the Keynesian motif, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” If this is your prerogative, your axiom, we are destined to differ on matters of principle and timeline. Surely, any quantity or decided cash figure is relevant exclusively to the available produce yielded by its trade. The current valuation thereof, whilst unadulterated, corroborates a rather stable, predictable trend of expectations, whereas its significance wanes once reconfigured by a process of economic, fiscal or monetary manipulation.  Individuals, vast in their interests and their time preferences and overall appetites, are to be made homogeneous by an overarching system which predetermines the price floors, ceilings and general priorities of life. Of course, all of this exists merely in abstract form. However, the supposition proposed by those who champion the agenda of “basic needs” fails to complement the progress achieved by the abolition of presumed guilt by the sole mis

Cullen Roche's Not So "Pragmatic Capitalism"

In his riveting new work Pragmatic Capitalism , Cullen Roche, founder of Orcam Financial Group, a San Diego-based financial firm, sets out to correct the mainstream schools of economic thought, focusing on  Keynesians, Monetarists, and Austrians alike. This new macroeconomic perspective claims to reveal What Every Investor Needs to Know About Money and Finance . Indeed, Roche introduces the layman to various elementary principles of economics and financial markets, revealing in early chapters the failed state of the average hedge fund and mutual fund operators  —  who are better car salesmen than financial pundits, Roche writes  —   who have fallen victim to the groupthink phenomenon, responsible for their nearly perfect positive correlation to the major indexes; and thus, accounting for tax, inflation, and service adjustments, holistically wiping out any value added by their professed market insight.  Roche also references popular studies, such as the MckInsey Global Institute's