We've the sad news that the minimum wage is being raised yet again:
The national minimum wage will increase by 20p an hour to £6.70 from October, the government has announced.
The changes will benefit more than 1.4 million workers.
And will disbenefit some unknown number of workers who will lose their jobs. True, a modest rise will leave only a modest number losing their jobs but as they therefore lose 100% of their income that's still quite a large effect. However, we also have another report today:
The number of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds who have been unemployed for more than a year has risen by almost 50% since the coalition came to power, according to figures released by the Labour party.
There are now 41,000 16- to 24-year-olds from black, asian and minority ethnic [BAME] communities who are long-term unemployed – a 49% rise from 2010, according to an analysis of official figures by the House of Commons Library.
The effects of a minimum wage will be hardest felt where that minimum wage actually binds. Among the young and untrained and among those who are unfavoured for any other reason (like, here, perhaps ethnicity for all that we would desire that there is no such discrimination). Which make this news about the new minimum wage even worse:
The hourly rate for younger workers will also rise, and for apprentices it will go up by 20% - or 57p - to £3.30 an hour.
Yes, of course the correct minimum wage is a rate of zero. But we're unlikely to win that argument but at least we can argue for a rate that doesn't do so much damn damage to the least favoured portions of our society. The minimum wage discriminates against those black, asian and minority ethnic youths. Indeed, such discrimination was a stated reason for the introduction of the minimum wage in the United States back in the times of Jim Crow. It's actually a racist government policy. We should therefore end it.