Minimum Wage

Activists Push $15 Minimum Wage for Los Angeles


I should have taken a photo of the block of empty storefronts in my neighborhood on the way into the office this morning.
Credit: sgroi / photo on flickr

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is higher than the unemployment rate in California (whose unemployment rate is already higher than the national average). Calculated at 8.5 percent in April, it's actually double the unemployment rate of San Francisco.

Nevertheless, the fact that Los Angeles lags behind in our slow economic recovery is not stopping labor activists, fresh off a victory in Seattle, from pushing for a $15 minimum wage here. According to KPCC (L.A.'s National Public Radio affiliate) a ballot initiative was submitted by the Los Angeles Workers Assembly and the Peoples Power Assembly:

The move follows Seattle's approval of a new structure that will gradually increase wages to the $15 threshold by 2017.  However, activists pushing the L.A. measure want the higher wage to take effect immediately if it is approved by voters, as soon as November.  Small businesses and nonprofits would see a two-year delay before implementation of the new wage. 

Presumably the two-year delay would give small business owners enough time to find a way to discreetly burn their shops down and collect the insurance money. You know, I'm half-tempted to say that a minimum wage boost implemented immediately will reduce unemployment in Los Angeles, because the unemployed will no longer be able to afford to live there (see the example of San Francisco above). Nearby bankrupt and extremely poor San Bernardino, with its 11.8 percent unemployment, can look forward to an influx of population from people whose jobs were replaced by automation or whose employers have shut down entirely.

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  1. I hope they get their wish of $15/hr minimum wage because I want them to learn the hard way what increasing minimum wages does; however, I know that they won’t actually learn anything from it. Does this make me a bad person?

    1. Until they begin to view labor as a commodity like anything else I wouldn’t put money on them “learning anything”.

    2. The jobs will all get moved to lower wage locations. The lesson the progressives will learn from that is that the federal minimum wage has to be increased so corporations can’t “cheat” by moving the jobs to lower wage locations.

    3. Let’s make it $50 so the results are clear.

      1. Excellent! Then everyone will be making six figures and there will be no one left who isn’t financially quite comfortable!

    4. I want self-serve kiosks at fast food restaurants.

      One of my friends and I argued back and forth about minimum wage killing entry level jobs. He didn’t believe it did. I pointed out that when they started pushing for the hike Dominos started running this ad.

      He was especially pissed when I sent him a pic of a self-service kiosk at a McDonald’s in Berlin and said “this machine earns a living wage!” (the ones in Berlin looked like the machine on the left)

      1. This is great. For once, all of this lefty bullshit and government market intervention will accidentally work in the favor of technological advance. Just imagine, a world where drive-through orders are taken accurately.

        O wonder!
        How many goodly creatures are there here!
        How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
        That has such robots in’t.

        1. I eat at Panda Express fairly frequently (they’re near where I work and I haven’t burnt out on it like I have the other nearby quick places to eat). I finally decided to set up an account online. Now I log in to their website, select one of my saved orders and punch in my CC info.

          When I get there I walk up to the register and they hand me my food and receipt and I can skip the long line.

          If someone sets up an app, grub hub style, that lets me order at any local fast food place and pay before I walk in to pick up my food, I’d gladly let them take a small percentage cut off the top.

          1. The age of robots is near, and coming closer thanks to people utterly failing to realize that they are hitting the accelerator to unemployment. I guess the good news is that all of those robots will make field labor an American job again.

          2. Amazon is doing something similar with groceries in California right now.

            Only a matter of time before they partner with Taco Bell to engorge America’s children within a half hour of ordering via the trifecta of corporations, drones, and trans fats.

    5. Bad? Maybe not. Misguided? Yes.

      Many people who had no say in the matter and either didn’t explicitly support it or outright opposed it will potentially be hurt.

    6. I live about 35 miles outside of Seattle, so I can’t wait for this experiment to play out. It means a total smorgasbord of restaurants are gonna move out in my direction. Nom!

      One of the more enjoyable pillars of their argument is the ever-irrelevant snapshot of who actually holds minimum-wage jobs. “You may think that minimum-wage jobs are held by teenage kids, but think again! They’re held by obese, dropout single moms with a bunch of kids!”

      As if the age and lack of discretion and personal responsibility of the workers should make any difference. The work is low-value and low-skilled, and could be done by trained chimpanzees and automation, let alone migrant workers with an IQ anywhere in the upper double digits.

    7. I am more optimistic. This is so mind numbingly stupid and the results will be so catastrophic and disruptive that they will have to notice and any such laws will probably be repealed or the minimum wage reduced to $10 an hour.

  2. I feel no pity for California cities that try to burn themselves down.

    1. Think of all the jerbs created by all those broken windows!

  3. No, not the Wiener Factory!

  4. Make it $30, that will be much better

    1. Well, since the GDP/employed worker is about $100K, maybe we should set it at $48…that should result in perfect income equality…right?!?!?

    2. You aren’t playing the long game, sir. If you really cared about people, you would advocate a $50 an hour minimum. Why do you hate the children?

      1. $50? What are you, some kind of fucking slave driver? $60 is obviously the bare minimum.

        1. Don’t be ridiculous. $60 seems like a ridiculous amount. You’re being ridiculous, so stop that.

          1. At what wage do I start to automate the monocle factory?

            1. A “living” wage.

              Any worker than lives long enough can only cause trouble.

        2. Hey, maybe $60/hr works for you flyover country rubes, but this is Cali. It would be unrealistic and unfair to have a minimum wage of less than $75/hr.

      2. A burger-flipper or wastepaper-basket-emptier should be able to own a 3,000-sq-ft home with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, a swimming pool, a flat-screen LCD TV in every room, a minimum of two late-model SUVs, several computers and gaming consoles, along with full luxury digital cable.

        How is your paltry $50-per-hour going to give these wetback sonsabitches the lifestyle to which they’re so obviously entitled?

  5. I’m actually all for this. It would be an interesting case study.

    1. They will finally get to prove libertarians wrong and usher in a new golden age of pregressive idolatry. We shall all drink the milk of the golden calf and bathe in the goddess of equality.

    2. Yeah, I think the Koch brothers should go all Machiavelli and throw millions at this cause.

      That said, while the idea of Los Angeles completely collapsing amuses me on some level, it wouldn’t actually impact the people I would most enjoy seeing miserable.

      1. DC?

    3. Given that LA is pretty expensive, just what is the market wage there for unskilled labor?

      1. Nobody knows. We have 1/3 of all welfare recipients here.

        1. 1/3 of all wellfare recipients in the country live in LA? Please tell me that isn’t true.

          1. 1/3 live in California.

          2. 1/3 third are in California, a fact the progtard hive refuses to accept or process.

      2. Don’t know, but I expect a $15 minimum wage will attract a lot of Mexican immigrants willing to work for $11.

  6. Seattle first. Then, LA! What other cities need to be turned into wastelands?

    1. NYC

  7. Fuck it. I say do it. Do it now.

    1. Fuck it. I say do it. Do it now.

      Are we going to be roasting marshmallows over the border while the City of Los Angeles burns?

      I like marshmallows.

      1. Yes. And I’m going to flip a whole bunch of muni bonds when the City of LA goes junk.

        This whole fiasco might actually turn Inglewood into a nice city.

        1. This whole fiasco might actually turn Inglewood into a nice city again.


        2. What does that mean and how can I get in on it? Explain your money making scheme to me Playa.

  8. Do it angelinos, you don’t have the hair on your ass! *gets bag o’ popcorn

  9. And when youth unemployment reaches 100%, they’ll blame greedy businesses.

  10. Presumably the two-year delay would give small business owners enough time to find a way to discreetly burn their shops down and collect the insurance money.

    Keynesian stimulus!

    1. Around here that’s called a “Greek lightening strike”

  11. Activists Push $15 Minimum Wage for Los Angeles

    Ah, yes. The “We Love Poor People To Their Sad And Miserable Death” crowd.

  12. “Presumably the two-year delay would give small business owners enough time to find a way to discreetly burn their shops down and collect the insurance money.”


    *grumbles and goes back to work at giant insurer*

    1. I think I smell a gas leak.

  13. arguing with morons becomes tiresome. When someone insists on shooting himself in the foot, get out of the way so the blood doesn’t get on you.

    1. a buddy of mine told me he was about to puke the other day. I should have believed him…

      1. “Oh man, I got so fucked up last night I blew Chunks!”

        “That’s OK. We all drink too much from time to time.”

        “No man! You don’t understand, man! Chunks is my DOG, man!”

  14. “…the Los Angeles Workers Assembly and the Peoples Power Assembly”

    For a philosophy that has a 100% record of failure, communism sure has a lot of staying power.

    BTW, any news from Venezuela?

    1. This is what I never understand. The graveyards of the the 20th century are littered with the failures of these policies yet they still have such amazing popularity.

      I don’t get it.

      1. It’s a religion, not a plan.

        People are hardwired to need a God. Not all of them, but most of them. If they lose faith in invisible sky daddy, then they’re going to turn to a convincing substitute. Best case scenario, they get new agey or start obsessing about angels or ghosts. But materialism is on the rise, so it’s more likely to be a cult of personality or an ideology.

        For dyed in the wool materialistic theists, though, the Cult of the State is the most appealing option. Especially in the U.S., where we go ahead and represent the State as a long-bearded, white-haired, stern old white guy in archaic but symbolically appropriate dress. If Uncle Sam was typically depicted in a throne on the clouds, you could hardly tell ’em apart.

      2. They didn’t have The Right People In Charge.

    2. Venezuela #1 paradise on Earth.

    3. You know, the silence on Venezuela is stunning. I saw a car in South Florida that had something on it about people needing to pay attention, so the silence appears to have been noted by Venezuelan-Americans, too, not just right-wing-fascist kooks.

  15. Rolling Stone’s Top 5 Most Dangerous Wages

    1. Low Wages
    2. High Wages
    3. Excessive Wages
    4. Unfair Wages
    5. $8/hr

    1. You saw that, too? Too funny!

  16. I think you are all missing the point. The $15/hr will just come out of those greedy CEO’s salaries, finally bringing them down to what everyone else makes. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

  17. A little more gradual, but San Diego also just raised it. It was supposed to be by ballot measure, then the council figured out that they could just ram it through themselves, so that’s what they did.…

  18. I think a great reality show would be to give a fast food franchise to a group of prog min wage supporters and then in the middle of the season raise the minimum wage to “living wage” standards and see how they cope.


    Economists said higher wages in Europe’s biggest economy could help people spend more and stimulate the economy, promoting economic growth.

    Somehow I missed this when it happened. Good to see German laborers getting their dignity back by eliminating the least-skilled workers from the job market.

  20. With higher wages, city council can then raise taxes! There can’t possibly be anything going wrong from that. It’s not like people will lose their jobs and then not be able to afford the taxes.

    Detroit is the model.

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