The following is a table of minimum wage levels, set by Congress, alongside another figure whose meaning I’ll withhold for now:
Wage Per Hour
Did you know the federally-set minimum wage is still only $7.25 per hour? (Some of the states have different laws for wages paid by companies that operate in those states.) The folks screaming for $15.00 want a huge increase. The “economists” advocating a $26.00 minimum wage don’t even belong on this planet. But it’s that “mystery” third column that really tells a tale.
The “mystery” third column is the value in that year’s dollars of the silver content in five United States quarters minted in 1964 or before. Each such quarter contains approximately 0.181 Troy ounces of silver.
Note that in 1964 –you were wondering why I started with that year, weren’t you? – the minimum hourly wage was five quarters. So that year, the legal tender value of those quarters slightly exceeded their silver value. But run your thumb down the column and watch what happened to the relationship.
The price of silver in dollars has shot up not because silver is becoming more scarce, but because the Federal Reserve Bank keeps creating more dollars – dollars that have no backing by any physical commodity. That, not the increase in the prices of commodities, is inflation. When the dollar was statutorily defined as the value of a particular weight of gold or silver, and any holder of dollars could bring them to a Federal Reserve System bank and demand that they be redeemed in gold or silver, there was no issue of a minimum wage. Wages increased much more slowly then than now, it’s true, but the prices of food, clothing, shelter, fuel, and virtually every other commodity of importance slowly but steadily declined. That was because of steady improvements in American productivity, which made the effective standard of living of the American worker rise over time, even if his hourly wage in dollars didn’t increase.
Do We Need A Minimum Wage?
Or Do We Need Sound Money?