Destructive Effects of Leftist ‘Good Intentions’

 

I live in Washington State, which is governed (ruled?) by a heavily DemocRat legislature and ruled by a far-Left DemocRat Dictator (who has been ruling by decree since March of 2020).  In my legislative district, both senators and “representatives” are, of course, DemocRats.  Yesterday in the mail, I received a “2022 Session Report” from one of my so-called “representatives”, who definitely does not represent me.

His 2022 session report glowingly referred to all the wonderful laws passed by the legislature and signed into law by our Dictator.  Within this report, he described a new law that I had never heard about, and would probably not even know about if I had not read his report.  It seems that our very well-intentioned DemocRats decided that it was grossly unfair for disabled Washingtonians in some situations to be paid a special “sub-minimum” wage, for which there have been provisions in state law for decades.  So, in their concern for the working disabled of our state, they repealed that sub-minimum wage.  Now, all employers of disabled employees will be subject to the same very high minimum wage that all of the state is now subject to ($14.49 per hour for the state, higher in Seattle).  Here is his statement.

Last year we eliminated sub-minimum wage certificates and this session we are following up by repealing the statute allowing the Department of Labor and Industries to issue special certificates for the employment of individuals with disabilities at wages lower than the applicable prevailing wage rate.  This change ensures that workers with disabilities are valued and treated equitably.

What that really means is that many workers with disabilities will now be unemployed, as this new law spells the death knell for sheltered workshops which are run as businesses.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with sheltered workshops, they are businesses that offer employment to disabled workers who might not be able to work in a standard environment.  These companies employ social workers, vocational-rehabilitation specialists, occupational therapists, and other personnel to train and work beside the disabled, so they can be productive.  Sheltered workshops enable many otherwise-unemployable people to find productive work, earn money, and help support themselves.  The costs of running such a workplace are very high, and the sub-minimum wage paid to disabled employees recognizes that they are high-maintenance employees.  The vast majority of such employees are thrilled to be working, and do not object to their wage levels.  Believe me, I know this because I did an internship at an agency that sponsored sheltered workshops, while studying for my Master’s in Psychology.

So, as usual, when the Left thinks they are “helping” disabled employees by mandating they be paid the high state minimum wage, they are wrong, and they actually will be destroying many of the jobs held by the disabled.  That will raise the cost of many services previously supplied by sheltered workers, and might throw many social workers and therapists out of jobs themselves.  And how many previously employed disabled workers will lose their jobs, and become public charges again?  How many parents of disabled adults will now have to again be full-time caregivers?

That’s a great example of the destructive effects of Leftist “good intentions”.

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There are 21 comments.

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  1. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    “ruled” is correct.  I’ve visited there twice, and it is evident.

    • #1
  2. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    But the liberal despots will feel really good about their intentions, and they can boast to all the underlings how superior they are in virtue and compassion. 

    • #2
  3. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Feeling good is more important than doing good. 

    • #3
  4. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Did unions play a significant role in eliminating sub-minimum wage certificates?

    • #4
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Did unions play a significant role in eliminating sub-minimum wage certificates?

    I don’t know, but that’s a very good question. 

    • #5
  6. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    RushBabe49:

    [Quoting legislator’s statement] Last year we eliminated sub-minimum wage certificates and this session we are following up by repealing the statute allowing the Department of Labor and Industries to issue special certificates for the employment of individuals with disabilities at wages lower than the applicable prevailing wage rate.  This change ensures that workers with disabilities are valued and treated equitably.

    What that really means is that many workers with disabilities will now be unemployed, as this new law spells the death-knell for sheltered workshops which are run as businesses.  

    You are so right. I don’t know if Washington used to include “regular” businesses also to participate in sub-minimum wage for disabled people, but I remember years ago some restaurants (mostly fast-food) employed people of limited mental capability to do certain tasks (mostly clearing tables, sweeping floors, picking up trash, etc.). Their work productivity did not justify full “minimum wage” but the jobs provided people with limited capabilities the opportunity to participate in what the rest of us consider “normal life” by participating in the labor force. For the most part those employees valued participating in the workforce more important than the details of what wage they were being paid. But that opportunity existed only because the restaurant did not have to pay a “minimum wage” that the person’s productivity did not justify. 

    • #6
  7. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Of course besides now discouraging employment opportunities for people of severely limited capabilities, we are reminded of how silly the concept of a “minimum wage” is in the first place.

    People exist on a full spectrum of capabilities, and take varying amounts of management (employee maintenance). A minimum wage discourages employment of people who have any limitations on their capabilities (such as those who don’t know how to show up on time or the importance of following directions, or who have limited or slow reading capability, or a speech impediment, or are hard of hearing) or who might require relatively high maintenance (emotional, personally sensitive, prone to anger, prone to inappropriate language, etc.).

    Right now employers are so desperate for employees that a high minimum wage has a limited impact on who gets onto that first rung of the employment ladder. But a time will come when a high minimum wage will put the first rung of the employment ladder out of reach for large numbers of people who cannot demonstrate top notch capabilities. 

    • #7
  8. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Well we all know what the road to Hell is paved with.

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    RushBabe49: What that really means is that many workers with disabilities will now be unemployed…

    And that means more people on the welfare rolls, more food bank clients, more unhappy people needing therapy, etc. And that means more government jobs and more NGO jobs. For leftists, the harm to actual individuals is not just unimportant, it is a good thing because more unhappy suffering people means more social stress and unrest which can help to Bring the Revolution. Oh–and the opportunity for leftists to publicly praise themselves as friends of Workers.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: What that really means is that many workers with disabilities will now be unemployed…

    And that means more people on the welfare rolls, more food bank clients, more unhappy people needing therapy, etc. And that means more government jobs and more NGO jobs. For leftists, the harm to actual individuals is not just unimportant, it is a good thing because more unhappy suffering people means more social stress and unrest which can help to Bring the Revolution. Oh–and the opportunity for leftists to publicly praise themselves as friends of Workers.

    These are not static numbers, or a zero-sum game, etc.  If paying handicapped people less is keeping more-capable people from getting jobs, maybe those more-capable people really aren’t so capable?

    On the other hand, the handicapped people are likely already getting counseling, housing assistance, etc because of their other problems, so if they stop working it’s not like that’s a brand new problem or cost.  Meanwhile, if someone isn’t working now because they can’t compete with the sub-minimum-wage workers, they might be homeless.  Arguably, having them work is more valuable to society.

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    The financial life of severely disabled people is complex, to say the least. The way around this new law would be to give government assistance to the employers to make up the difference between the former lower pay and the  current mandated pay. The motivation would be the government’s ability to achieve its other goals vis-a-vis disabled people. A job, for example, can provide a social structure that severely disabled people desperately  need to stay well, and that’s something governments can’t afford to do, and it’s not something they do well anyway.

    Being disabled, which almost by definition means not able to work for pay sufficient for financial self-sufficiency, is a terrible way to go through life. Isolation is the worst of it, truly. And the absence of feeling the joy of getting some work done and done well. There’s never enough money to go out for lunch or buy a birthday gift for someone. Disabled people need a little spending money that is their own.

    I just read a fantastic book  on how we can, and why we should, increase employment for disabled people. Some companies will need to adopt assistive technology, for example, to enable partially sighted but legally blind employees to work for them. There is money for that in the government’s coffers, but there are stringent preconditions for employers to get it. But all of these issues can be dealt with to enable more severely disabled people to work.

    What we need  most of all in our private and government helping programs is greater flexibility than we have. We need to be able to respond quickly to changes in work or living or health status.

    The tragedy is that in order to be considered disabled enough to qualify for benefits to enable people to live independently, in apartments rather than institutions, disabled people end up avoiding jobs. The collection of benefits is a fragile house of toothpicks: pull one out and the whole collection collapses.  That’s why most severely disabled people don’t try.

    All that said, severely disabled people are an easy group to take advantage of in terms of wages and benefits. I wonder what prompted the state to pass this law. On the face of it, I would agree with the new law. If someone does an honest day’s work, he or she should get an honest day’s pay.

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MarciN (View Comment):
    All that said, severely disabled people are an easy group to take advantage of in terms of wages and benefits. I wonder what prompted the state to pass this law. On the face of it, I would agree with the new law. If someone does an honest day’s work, he or she should get an honest day’s pay.

    But isn’t that where the problem starts, with people who can’t do an honest day’s work as much as non-disabled people can?

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    All that said, severely disabled people are an easy group to take advantage of in terms of wages and benefits. I wonder what prompted the state to pass this law. On the face of it, I would agree with the new law. If someone does an honest day’s work, he or she should get an honest day’s pay.

    But isn’t that where the problem starts, with people who can’t do an honest day’s work as much as non-disabled people can?

    Absolutely, which is why I said that the government, if the employer is helping the government (us) achieve a greater objective, should make up the difference. 

    However, I have a feeling that what prompted the passage of this bill were instances of exploitation. That’s my guess only. 

    It’s really complicated financially. And there’s some Americans with Disabilities Act angles as well. 

    • #13
  14. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    kedavis (View Comment):
    On the other hand, the handicapped people are likely already getting counseling, housing assistance, etc because of their other problems, so if they stop working it’s not like that’s a brand new problem or cost.

    But it is an increased problem, because unemployment leads to demoralization. As noted in the OP, these people are very happy to have jobs and to feel that they are doing something useful–self esteem and all that.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    On the other hand, the handicapped people are likely already getting counseling, housing assistance, etc because of their other problems, so if they stop working it’s not like that’s a brand new problem or cost.

    But it is an increased problem, because unemployment leads to demoralization. As noted in the OP, these people are very happy to have jobs and to feel that they are doing something useful–self esteem and all that.

    On the other hand, if non-disabled people got those jobs instead, maybe they wouldn’t need ANY counseling, or housing assistance…

    • #15
  16. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    But the liberal despots will feel really good about their intentions, and they can boast to all the underlings how superior they are in virtue and compassion.

    And to the Leftist, that’s what it’s all about.

    • #16
  17. Chatlee Coolidge
    Chatlee
    @Chatlee

    The way around this new law would be to give government assistance to the employers to make up the difference between the former lower pay and the  current mandated pay. The motivation would be the government’s ability to achieve its other goals vis-a-vis disabled people. A job, for example, can provide a social structure that severely disabled people desperately  need to stay well, and that’s something governments can’t afford to do, and it’s not something they do well anyway.

    MarciN,

    The move to get rid of the sub-minimum wage for the handicap is a union backed effort.  There is no compassion for the handicapped themselves who often have real pride in their work, and pride that they can help their families by earning some money.  There is something particularly evil when governments use the pretense of helping to hurt people.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Chatlee (View Comment):
    There is something particularly evil when governments use the pretense of helping to hurt people.

    That’s one of the big complaints about minimum wages overall, isn’t it?

    • #18
  19. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    In Arizona, there was a sub-minimum wage for folks who were in Special Education work programs.  At McDonalds, they had a huge pride in their uniforms and cleaning tables.  Then the unions pushed through a state minimum wage, and eliminated that program.

    Did the disabled get a raise?  No.  They got fired.  And McDonalds have never been as clean any more.  

    • #19
  20. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    In Massachusetts, sheltered workshops were shut down rather suddenly in 2016. This article describes how hard it was for the people who had been working in those workshops to not have them anymore. It’s a sad story.

    • #20
  21. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    But the liberal despots will feel really good about their intentions, and they can boast to all the underlings how superior they are in virtue and compassion.

    And to the Leftist, that’s what it’s all about.

    Harumph.  I’m sorry, but no.  Folks, I gotta say, I think you’re looking at this the wrong way.  

    Please, think about this alternate approach:

    1. The politician’s goal is to create some new program with a ton of opportunity for graft.  This is how you make your money.
    2. Come up with a believable excuse for adopting this crazy new program.

    That’s it.  If you look at it this way, everything makes sense.  

    Note that “good intentions” are not involved.  And if you’re even talking about “good intentions” it suggests that you’re missing the point.

    • #21
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