CEO and Former Republican Senate Candidate: “Mentally Retarded” Worth About $2 an Hour

peterschiffI’m sure many of you have met those people who “just don’t get it.”  I had a friend growing up who was born into a wealthy family.  I remember a debate I had with her once about who had it harder, rich people or poor people.  She said rich people did.  Her example was that when her basement flooded the damage amounted to over $100,000 to fix, whereas a poor person who can’t pay for their electric bill only needs a couple hundred dollars.

I remember this debate so vividly because I honestly couldn’t believe the ignorance.  She just didn’t get it.

Well, that’s the same feeling I had watching an interview from The Daily Show where the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, discussed his ridiculous beliefs about the minimum wage.

His belief is in line with many “free market loving” Republicans who believe that workers should be paid what they’re worth.  Which sounds great, until you realize the reality that the “worth” of a worker is determined by the person paying them – a person whose only real concern is growing their wealth, not yours.

By all means if we want to hire tens of millions of independent arbiters to go into every job, assess the work each worker does then assign a fair value to each employee that their employer must pay – then I fully support abolishing the minimum wage.  Because I can promise you one thing, most workers would be paid much more than they are now.

Honestly, who really feels that they’re paid what they’re worth?  Look at teachers.  They mold the minds of our future generations, yet their salaries are often below $50,000 per year.  Firefighters risks their lives saving others, yet they’ll never be part of the top 1%.

So don’t give me this nonsense about “workers should be paid what they’re worth.”  Especially when you see the pay of some of these executives making 300-400 times more than the average employee at their company.

Well, Mr, Schiff took it a step further by basically saying the “mentally retarded” should only be paid about $2 an hour.  In other words, if you suffer from some kind of disadvantage in life which has precluded you from obtaining many skills required for better employment opportunities – you should be devalued as a human being.

Oh, but he wrote an “explanation.”  Basically he blamed Comedy Central for airing that part of the interview, claiming that the only reason he used the phrase “mentally retarded” is because he couldn’t think of the proper phrase.

Using that logic, it’s perfectly acceptable to say anything derogatory if the socially acceptable term escapes your mind.

But let’s think about his $2 per hour comment for a moment.  That would be $80 per week x 52 weeks = $4,160 per year.

Basically what this man is advocating is that businesses should be allowed to pay workers based on “what they’re worth.”  So if they deem a worker to be worth no more than $2 per hour, how’s that worker expected to live on that?

Oh, I know – they can rely on government programs.

Then these people will come out complaining about the millions of people on these government programs, while simultaneously supporting policies which force more people to rely on government programs.

Not to mention that by drastically cutting the pay for millions of Americans you’ll hurt demand for products.

And again, don’t give me this nonsense about “paying workers what they’re worth.”  The reason why we have a minimum wage in the first place is because businesses weren’t paying workers enough.  If they were, there wouldn’t be a minimum wage.

It’s the same reason why we have child labor laws.  If companies hadn’t tried to exploit child labor, we wouldn’t need child labor laws.

But this belief that by just allowing businesses to “regulate themselves” and all will be right in the world is ridiculous.  These businesses operate to make profits, not jobs.   Most employers make their employees well aware of the fact that they’re replaceable.  If you don’t like working for them, quit – we can find someone who will.

Even with regulations, most companies do anything and everything possible to get around them.  Why do you think there’s such a big push by many of them to eliminate the minimum wage?  It sure as heck isn’t to pay their workers more, it’s so they can pay them less.

Quick question: Without regulation on offshore drilling, do you think we’d have more or fewer environmental disasters like the BP oil spill in the gulf a couple of years ago?

If you really believe we’d have fewer of these instances, you’re crazy.

The same goes for the minimum wage.  If we ended it, these companies would abuse a society that didn’t have protections for its workers.

Instead of having $2 an hour sweatshops like they have all over developing Asian countries, we’d have them here.

This whole argument is absolutely absurd.  And Mr. Schiff’s ignorance about it was appalling.

I would encourage all of you to head over to his Facebook page and let him know exactly what you think about his ignorance.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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