Dear Peter Schiff, CEO

29 Jan

So there I was, happily minding my own business, taking pictures for Maura’s new communication device, when this pops up on my Facebook feed –

Rich CEO Tells ‘Daily Show’ The ‘Mentally Retarded’ Are Maaaybe Worth $2 An Hour

The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee interviewed Peter Schiff about the minimum wage, and caught these words of wisdom…

And I quote –

Schiff: “If we eliminated the minimum wage law then individuals would be free to accept jobs at whatever pay they’re able to get.”

Bee: “Paint me a picture of a person whose work would be worth $2 an hour.”

Schiff: “You know somebody who might be? Maybe somebody who is, uh, you know, what’s the politically correct word? Uh, you know, uh, for, uh, you know, mentally retarded?”

Bee: […]

So let’s see Peter, what’s the politically correct term for someone like you?

But really, honestly, thanks for letting the world know that yes, people with intellectual disabilities (which is the PC term, for your future reference) aren’t worth as much as other human beings.  Because that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?  Let’s pay those…uh…you know, mentally retarded folks less than what we’d pay a 12 yr old to mow our lawn.  Or a 15 yr old babysitter.

I mean, really, they’re less worthy, right?   They’re not equals.  Obviously.

You do realize that you have just painted yourself as…oh…how can I put this politely….is jackass a polite word?  Oh well, I sort of tried.

Listen, I get it, you’re trying to make an argument.  Some people are just worth less.  Thanks for perpetuating that message.  I’m sure it will do wonders for how society treats my daughter and those like her in the long run.  What is obvious is that I can tell that you knew you shouldn’t say what you were going to say, but you were so caught up in making your argument, you refused to back off.  You had a point to make, and by God, you made it.

Free advice Pete – next time, back down.  If that little mouth goalie says “don’t do it”, listen to him.  He is wise.

For the record, if I may, my daughter is worth a damn sight more than you could ever imagine her to be.  She may not have marketable skills, but she could teach you a thing or three about life.  And her life lessons have been one of the most valuable things in my life.

She’s worth more than $2.


16 Responses to “Dear Peter Schiff, CEO”

  1. Cheryle January 29, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    I JUST LOVE YOU!!! You always know what I would like to say. The only difference is that you actually say it out loud!

  2. Wendy Carroll January 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    Yes indeed. I saw this broadcast and my jaw dropped.

  3. Carlee January 29, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    $2 an hour for a teen babysitter? I. Don’t. Think. So.

    As a teen babysitter circa 1993, I was paid $16/hr.

  4. Joey Batz January 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    “For the record, if I may, my daughter is worth a damn sight more than you could ever imagine her to be. She may not have marketable skills, but she could teach you a thing or three about life. And her life lessons have been one of the most valuable things in my life.

    She’s worth more than $2.”

    It’s stuff like this that makes me think that people make emotional, knee-jerk reactions that have nothing to do with what they are emotionally, knee-jerkingly reacting to.

    He didn’t say that mentally disabled people are worth $2 (as in “not real people” or something like that). He was asked–by a comedy interviewer (I love the Daily Show, but sometimes you have to take it as the satire it is)–who would work for $2/hour. That number was thrown out partially to be funny and partially to make a point. On the spot, he suggested the “mentally retarded”. Well, actually he suggested the politically correct term for, you know, uh, like, mental retards, I guess? It’s not like he just came out and said “the mental retards”.

    The $2 isn’t the “mental retards'” worth as a human being. It’s their worth on the labor market. We all have a value in the labor market, and some of us are going to be higher than others’. It’s pretty much the measure of our skills and ability; it’s the same as us having a credit score, a measure of our ability to repay debt. Some people will naturally have lower values in the labor market than others and, let’s all be honest, the mentally handicapped are going to be pretty much at the bottom, generally speaking at least. I mean, listen, I have a friend who’s mentally disabled. He’s a good friend of mine, but the guy literally couldn’t hold a job giving out plastic cups of water to 9 year old campers. I don’t mean that as a joke. He’s worth a lot to me as a friend, but on the labor market to a prospective employer, what do you think someone like that is worth?

    I’m not going to describe your daughter in the CONTEXT that Peter Schiff was speaking in. Instead, I’m going to let you yourself do it:

    “She may not have marketable skills, but she could teach you a thing or three about life. And her life lessons have been one of the most valuable things in my life.

    She’s worth more than $2.”

    To a prospective employer? No she’s not (well, maybe, I’m not a Human Resources professional but I will say probably not based on what you just said). And that’s what he was talking about.

    • phoebz4 January 30, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      But, in putting a limit on what a intellectually disabled worker should be paid – in his case, $2 – he is stating that people with challenges are worth less than those with higher IQ’s. Even if they can do the same job at the same level. In his book, “mentally retarded” people should automatically be paid less, regardless of how well they do the job they are hired for.

      And in doing this, he lowers the value of these people as human beings. People with disabilities are already seen as second-class citizens, unworthy of so much. He is perpetuating that idea with his remarks.

      • Joey Batz January 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

        Did he say that people with mental disabilities should be paid less than others even if they are able to perform the same quality work? No. The implication of his words, given their context, is that a mentally disabled person would be able to take a job at less than minimum wage ($2/hour? Debatable) that might not have otherwise been available had there been a legally required minimum wage. He never said that there should be a cap on what a mentally handicapped person makes, but let’s face it. More likely than not, and more often than not, a mentally handicapped person’s value on the labor market to a prospective employer is going to be less than a non-mentally handicapped person. It doesn’t mean that they are worth less as human beings, but they are worth less on the labor market. It sounds cold, but it’s a fact and that’s that.

        The idea that Schiff is a jackass who promotes discrimination against the mentally handicapped is just baffling to me. He never said that, never implied that, never hinted that, so where’s everybody getting it from? Must of been another interview that everyone’s raging at.

  5. Effin Autism January 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Nicely done, mama! xoxo Your New Fan

  6. Chris January 30, 2014 at 1:12 am #

    What an idiot, kick him in the ASS! If he had said that about a ethnic group, people all over would be screaming bloody murder. Since it’s just special needs it’s not that big of a deal.

  7. Jan January 30, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    OK, that burns my butt. Research shows that mentally challenged, ID, MR, AU, (choose your term) make loyal, dedicated employees. Walgreens has a warehouse that is equipped for handicapped. It is most productive warehouse they own. They hire disabled individuals and match them to the job. The video is amazing. McDonalds has learned this lesson also. These individuals want to work, because they want to work. They show up no matter what. They don’t have the bad habits that typical people have. Praise God they are smarter than that. They are worth theirr weight in Gold. Shame, Shame.

  8. M January 30, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    How much does Goodwill pay its mentally challenged employees?

    If I cannot produce more than “minimum wage” for my company, does that mean I don’t get hired?

    Let’s look at this whole thing logically, rather than pull out the emotional PC card every time.

  9. Christine January 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    If a mentally disabled person can do the job that a typical person can do, they deserve to get paid what a typical person is paid to do the same job. Certainly, there will be jobs that do not suit a particular person – keeping in mind that covered the term “mentally retarded” which Mr. Schiff used describes people of a wide range of abilities, just as the regular population does. I would not expect anyone to hire a person unsuited for a job (I would make a terrible mechanic, for example) but if a person can do a job, they should not be paid less because an employer feels like they can get away with paying them less. I am offended that a person who reportedly has a net worth of $70 million dollars feels that he should pay any employee so little or “whatever they are able to get.” What he is really saying is that anyone who wants to work should just be thankful for the job no matter how little he gets for that work.

    • Armando February 4, 2014 at 5:54 am #

      first, peter isn’t the one who suggested paying people $2/Hr! Samantha brought that number up…..peter just answered it. you didn’t hear him also mention unpaid interns as being people who would be willing to work for $2/hr….they took a nearly 4 hr interview and used about 70 seconds of it, spliced together answers to different questions in order to make him look bad. such as the “your worth what you’re worth” comment took place at a completely different part of the interview, and it had nothing to do with a persons value but instead their worth productivity wise to a potential employer, huge difference! that’s something that’s not up for debate, a brain surgeons productivity is worth more than a fast food worker! but of course that is not an indicator of your worth as a human being! Peter employs over 100 people who ALL make a very good living earning WELL above the minimum wage….you can’t just decide to pay people in peanuts and get them to work for you, you have to pay them a wage commensurate to their skill level, there’s competition for labor which keeps wages from being a penny an hour! if a special needs person can do the same job as another worker getting paid minimum wage, then they should earn the same pay….many can’t but they would still LOVE the opportunity to work and feel productive and create a good sense of self and self-esteem. but guess what, if you make it illegal for them to earn less than the minimum wage….they will be out of jobs! it’ simple! which is why many of them are exempt from the minimum wage laws..

  10. Morguie February 4, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    That asshat! I am so upset. How nice for that lofty-minded jackass to spout rubbish about human beings he’d love nothing to do with except for exploiting to enhance his own wealth.

  11. Aileen February 6, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    Whew…my Aunt has an intellectual disability (she is not a “retard” – why the f**k is that word still being used??), she is in her 60’s with a mental age of about 8 (but an 8 year old of her day iykwim not a modern day tech savvy 8 yr old). She worked full time in the same job for over 40 years, initially she WAS paid less than other folks because hey she was disabled and should be grateful to have a job right? Thank God a change of management meant she was put on the appropriate pay scale and giving all benefits and entitlements her co-workers had. She was a very valued employee and it was precisely because of her ID that she was, she was routine oriented, hard working, tidy and friendly. She never started rows or fell out with co-workers, she worked hard and took huge pride in what she did and enjoyed it immensely. Yes, she did start out paid less because it was all she could get and was willing to do so and my Nana was grateful to have work for her but Thank God that it was recognised that just because she WOULD work for less it didn’t mean she should.

  12. lilaeve February 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Bravo for writing this – I cringed at that man’s ineptitude while watching the other night! A-friggin’-mazing that he’s touted as a “strategist.”

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