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By Scott Greer
As fast food workers nationwide went on strike last week to demand that their wages to be doubled, political commentator and bestselling author Larry Elder surprisingly found himself siding with the New York Times in opposition.
“The ideal minimum wage is zero,” Elder declared to WND.
He found support in a New York Times editorial from 1987.
“The editorial lays out all the arguments that Milton Friedman himself would lay out: It induces the need for replacement and automation, and it destroys entry-level jobs for the people who need them the most,” Elder explained.
“These are usually secondary-wage earners or tertiary wage-earners, often women, often minorities – the very people that the left claims that they care about.”
Elder elaborated on the negative impact of raising the minimum wage, arguing that meeting the demands of the striking fast-food workers likely would force many employers to eliminate jobs.
“It’s estimated that 500,000 black people lost their job as a result of the last time that Congress raised the minimum wage,” Elder said, “and Lord knows what would happen if they doubled the minimum wage, which these people are proposing.”
Elder pointed out the minimum wage has never been raised more than 100 percent since it was created in 1938.
He refuted the claim that the minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation and should be set at a higher rate.
“The first minimum wage in 1938 was 25 cents; that is equivalent of $4.07 in today’s dollars,” Elder said. “So that claim just isn’t true, they cherry pick from the baseline from which to begin the argument.”
He noted fast-food chains, such as McDonald’s, are now installing computerized cashiers that would eliminate jobs.
Elder also cited the experiences of his father, a restaurant owner who had to work diligently to keep the business afloat.
“My father was a child of the Great Depression and had to hustle his butt off; this was well before anyone had heard of the minimum wage,” Elder said.
“He always told me he never got a job from a poor person … and he just intuitively knew that when you took more money out of the pockets of business people, it meant that they had less money to invest and hire more people.”
Elder recounts valuable lessons he learned from his father in his book “Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives … Eight Hours.”
Elder writes: “A man’s relationship with his father – every boy, every man lucky enough to have a father in his life has to figure that out. My own father? I thought I knew him – even though he seldom talked about himself. And what I knew I hated – really, really hated. Cold, ill-tempered, thin-skinned, my father always seemed on the brink of erupting. Scared to death of him, I kept telling myself to find the courage to ‘stand up to him.’ When I was fifteen, I did.” After that, said Elder, “We did not speak to each other for ten years.
“And then we did – for eight hours.”
As reflected in the book’s subtitle – “Two Lives … Eight Hours” – one extraordinary, all-day conversation between Elder and his long-estranged father utterly transformed their relationship.
Calling it “stunning,” Burt Boyar, co-author of a bestselling autobiography on Sammy Davis Jr., says of “Dear Father, Dear Son”: “Above all it is a wonderful read. I am tempted to call it a page-turner but in my case I hated to turn every page because that meant I was getting closer to the end, and I did not want it to end. … The book is filled with emotion. It is, of course, a handbook for life. I guess it is that above all things. Any kid who reads it and follows the advice of how to live his life just has to come out well.”
Elder, a “firebrand libertarian” according to “Daily Variety,” has been the subject of profiles by both CBS’ “60 Minutes” and ABC’s “20/20.” His previous best-selling books – “The 10 Things You Can’t Say in America,” “Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America” and “What’s Race Got to Do with It? Why It’s Time to Stop the Stupidest Argument in America” – all have met with critical acclaim.