Exclude white trash by excluding pit bulls?

In 2017, I wrote High minimum wage is a city’s way to keep out low-skill immigrants

Friends on Facebook are discussing “A ‘very credible’ new study on Seattle’s $15 minimum wage has bad news for liberals” (Washington Post). Of course, like most things in the U.S. media, this starts off with a lie (the minimum wage in Seattle is $13/hour, not $15/hour). But let’s look at the rest of the article…

Suppose that the goal of a liberal is to live in a city without too many unsightly low-skilled people (see Tyler Cowen explains why rich white Democrats freely express love for immigrants and people of color for how liberals already have segregated themselves away from dark-skinned Americans and immigrants).

Can the liberal make it illegal for anyone without a college degree to live in his or her city? Probably not. Can the liberal make it illegal for anyone without a college degree to work in his or her city? Sure! That’s the minimum wage.

(Imagine that in 2017 a $13/hour wage rising to $15/hour was considered princely. Where in the country right now one could hire a reliable worker for $15 per hour?)

I wonder if something analogous is happening in our neighborhood in Florida, the planned-but-not-gated community of Abacoa (within Jupiter; see our search process). There is no means-tested public housing in our neighborhood and therefore we are missing the social/economic class of those who have managed to obtain a lifetime of taxpayer-funded housing. But there is also a missing class of folks who likely could afford to pay market rent here (as low as $1500/month): white trash.

Palm Beach County is not exactly the white trash capital of Florida, but we do sometimes see tattooed folks walking their pit bulls not too far from here and in neighborhoods that aren’t much less expensive. Why don’t we have tattooed pit bull-owning neighbors within a 1-2-mile radius? The Homeowners’ Association (HOA) for each area within Abacoa specifically bans pit bulls and some other dog breeds with a reputation for aggression.

I wonder if the dog breed rules are partly designed to keep out undesirable breeds of humans…


15 thoughts on “Exclude white trash by excluding pit bulls?

  1. One problem is that tats and pit bulls are no longer reliable indicators of socioeconomic status or lack thereof, party identification or state of mind because they are HIP. I was being stuck (and missed) by a phlebotomy nurse in a MA hospital the other day who was covered with tattoos and had a kind of post-punk/post-grunge hairdo going. When she couldn’t find my veins the discussion turned to cars. She’s married and drives a BMW X1. Her hubby is a tech. worker in the nearby dungeons (with dragons!)

    • Did you ask her if she had a pit bull? They’re popular with a good number of nurses here. They all swear that the ones that bite large chunks out of people who then come to the ER are just raised wrong.

    • @Sam: No, we finally got some blood on the 7th “stick” so I didn’t have time to turn the conversation more toward domestic matters like pets. But I know you are correct, and I would not be surprised at all if she has one or envies and admires someone who does.

      If she’s on rotation with me next time I’ll be sure to ask.

  2. This reminds me of the shops in the UK that used “mosquitos”, high-pitched sounds to deter teenagers (supposedly more likely to engage in shoplifting and other petty crimes), since older people cannot hear the sounds. When the practice became frowned upon, they just switched to… classical music.

    Of course, pit bulls are already explicitly banned in the UK, along with 3 other breeds, after a series of incidents involving little girls being mauled by them in the eighties:


    • Fazal: I can see how Haydn would drive teenagers away!

      It is interesting that folks in the UK can lead a lifestyle free of pit bulls, masks, and vaccine papers! (And, for those who love startups, pay less than 1/3rd the tax rate that Californians pay; see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2019/01/02/move-to-the-uk-if-youre-an-entrepreneur-10-percent-capital-gains-tax/ ) Has the legislation worked as designed? Do you ever see dogs that look like pit bulls over there? We should give the UK credit for creating many of the most beloved dog breeds (e.g., golden retrievers) and introducing others to the U.S. (e.g., Samoyeds).

    • I lived in the UK 16 years, and pitbulls are everywhere, just not under that name. In fact at some point someone in the London assembly thought that the immense cost the London authority bears for ‘testing’ whether a dog is a ‘pitbull’ or not should be saved and all dogs brought in as ‘pitbulls’ just put down. Don’t ask how the testing is done, I doubt there is science behind it. The suggesting was not carried out.

      In any case, a lot of ‘Staffordshire bull terriers’ in the UK look indistinguishable from US pitbulls, aside from having non cropped ears.

  3. It is somewhat hypocritical if Republicans keep out the segment of the population that they (at least Trump) pretend to fight for.

    However, the Democrat hypocrisy is worse: At least in the software industry, we are actively being told that all white people are supremacists and that we have to make room for others (if you were in the industry until 10 years ago, this sounds like right-wing propaganda; unfortunately, CRT is the new reality). Yet they protect their own habitats.

    In general, zoning rules aren’t bad. I don’t want to see pit bulls regardless of their owners and I wish there were pop music free zones. Grouping people according to their noise tolerance (or rather noise addiction in the case of some people) would make everyone happier.

    • Anon: Palm Beach County is a majority-Democrat part of Florida, so I don’t think this is something that a cabal of Republicans has done. Trump did try to help working-class people of all races, e.g., by attempting to reduce low-skill immigration (see https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/trump-clinton-immigration-economy-unemployment-jobs-214216/ for an economic analysis). I don’t think that Trump specifically promised anything to white trash Americans.

    • How common is it for an HOA to regulate both pit bulls and barking dogs ? A quiet pit bull would be less annoying than a black lab with a barking problem.

    • philg: Thanks for the correction, the Republican hypocrisy theory is invalid then!

      Paul: A rule against misbehaved dogs in general would certainly be welcome. In my case singling out pit bulls is a result of the statistics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_States

      Pit bulls seem to be a greater risk to infants than COVID-19. I do believe that well behaved pit bulls exist, but in general I do not like to encounter one.

    • Anon,

      Not a lot of fatalities from pit bulls but the prospect pit bulls running loose in the neighborhood may motivate people to stay indoors or drive cars when they could have otherwise walked. And indirectly contributing to obesity and diabetes and vulnerability to Covid. Dog bites and maulings alone is a drag on the health care system,


      “Fatalities aside, 28,000 people had reconstructive surgery after being attacked by dogs in the U.S. in 2015 with canine-related hospitalization stays increasing 86 percent between 1993 and 2008. On average, the cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay is $18,200.

    • Paul: The barking Black Lab (whose life matters) won’t send any dog or person to the hospital, but is also banned under the HOA agreements that I’ve seen for Abacoa. If the owner can’t stop the dog from barking, he/she/ze/they must relocate the household or “dispose of the dog”. The pit bull cannot move in, a persistently barking dog might have to move out.

  4. Adopting a CPP (Carolina Pound Puppy, AKA Pit Bull) is pretty common way to signal your virtues.

  5. The minimum wage doesn’t apply to workers who earn tips. It’s actually 0 for waiters. The lion kingdom suspects further raising of minimum wage will result in tip jars appearing in Walmart.

    • lion2: $0 for waiters? https://www.minimum-wage.org/tipped says that in California, for example, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $11 and there is no “tip credit” that enables the employer to pay less. The raw Federal rule is $2.13/hr minimum from the employer if the customers are tipping at least $5.12/hr.

      It looks as though Washington State is the best place to work. $12/hour and no tip credit allowed. Of course, the actual minimum wage is $0 if, for example, the restaurant decides to eliminate table service in favor of Panera-style counter service. Whether at $0 or $12/hour, the economically rational American will choose a taxpayer-funded lifestyle instead of working. See https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/the_work_versus_welfare_trade-off_2013_wp.pdf

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