Is Bernie Sanders Working Undercover for White Supremacists?

by Don Boudreaux on March 1, 2021

in Seen and Unseen, Work

My late, great colleague Walter Williams would have put the following point far more eloquently than I do in this letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Editor:

Suppose that a KKK Grand Wizard is caught on tape squawking out the following: “Compared to white workers, a larger portion of black workers are low-skilled. So companies that employ low-skilled workers give disproportionate help to blacks. These employers are helpin’ to raise the inferior race up to our level! To discourage this assistance to our inferiors, I propose that government punitively tax the employment of low-skilled workers!”

The predictable public reaction to this proposal would be revulsion. Properly so. This proposal would be dismissed as the poisonous fruit of hatred and ignorance.

So where’s the revulsion at Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) proposal to punitively tax certain firms that employ low-skilled workers – that is, to punitively tax firms that employ workers currently earning less than $15 per hour (“Plan B for a $15 Minimum Wage,” March 1)?

Because wages are lower the lower are workers’ skills, and because a larger portion of black workers than white workers are low-skilled, Sen. Sanders’s proposal to punitively tax the employment of low-skilled workers amounts to a proposal to use the U.S. tax code to encourage labor-market discrimination against blacks.

Don’t black jobs matter? Don’t black livelihoods matter? Where’s the outrage at Sanders’s proposal?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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