Something To Tell The Minimum-Wage Cranks

     The following is a table of minimum wage levels, set by Congress, alongside another figure whose meaning I’ll withhold for now:

YEAR Federal Minimum
Wage Per Hour
1964 $1.25 $0.90
1970 $1.00 $1.50
1980 $3.10 $14.05
1990 $3.80 $3.80
2000 $5.15 $4.15
2010 $7.25 $27.70
2020 $7.25 $23.90

     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.

     Ask yourself:

Do We Need A Minimum Wage?
Or Do We Need Sound Money?


Skip to comment form

    • SteveF on September 21, 2021 at 2:08 PM

    A few people recently have made noise about the longevity of republics, noting that very few last beyond 250 years and that the US is at that mark.

    I think it’s more useful to note that very few independent republics, kingdoms, or other polities last much more than a century from the point that they debase the currency. They might not be conquered and they might not break apart and they might not change their name name, but the discontent and unrest and rioting and armed clashes mark the transition of one nation to another. The US is now fifty years since Nixon completed the decoupling of the dollar from gold and close to a century since Roosevelt began the process and kicked off massive inflation of the monetary supply.

    Side note: The dollar was unmoored because of the emergency caused by price deflation. Income tax withholding was a response to the federal government’s emergency need for cash during WWII. Because of the current “pandemic”, many governors and the President have granted themselves emergency powers, powers which are still in effect in many states even if the executives have graciously allowed businesses to open and children to go to school. In all the world, there is nothing so permanent as a temporary emergency which can be used to seize power.

    • Peter Bickford on September 21, 2021 at 2:31 PM

    Is there a typo in the table in row 3 for the silver value?

    1. No, Peter, that was the year the Hunt Brothers tried to corner the silver market, which forced the price of silver up radically. For a while it was above $30.00 per Troy ounce. Note that the ensuing twenty-year descent of the silver price toward a stable market value actually took it back below the legislated minimum wage. Of course, it didn’t stay there…

    • Peter Bickford on September 21, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    Nevermind–checked the historical charts and it looks like 1980 was a heck of a spike year!

    • John in Indy on September 21, 2021 at 2:57 PM

    Tge Hunt brothers had a good idea, to create a silver-backed tradeable bond to use in trading oil, but they forgot that their brokers had become their  counterparties, and that they could set and reset the rules as needed to protect themselves.

    John in Indy

  1. “The ‘economists’ advocating a $26.00 minimum wage don’t even belong on this planet. ”

    I disagree, as there’s no publicly-admitted way to resettle them on another planet. However, since their break with reality is sufficient to conclude that they may become a danger to themselves or others, perhaps they should be sheltered (“granted asylum,” so to say) in institutions purpose-built to alleviate the potential danger they may bring to themselves or others. Such institutions should be staffed with gentle, caring professionals.

    <a href=””>Nurse Ratched</a> comes to mind as an exemplar of such professionals.

      • Toastrider on September 22, 2021 at 7:18 AM

      Of course there’s a way, sir. Load them onto the rockets and launch.

      The planet doesn’t have to be inhabitable, you know.

      Think ‘The Marching Morons’ 🙂

    • Bear Claw Chris Lapp on September 23, 2021 at 11:48 AM

    Fran you left out what happened in 1971 also. Plus that was the period nixon also moved to get China favored nation in trading status.  The globalist have had a field day with us ever since.

    That period and 1913 each had 2 great things done against the American people.

Comments have been disabled.