Minimum Wage

Heaven Help California's Non-Urban Cities Under a $15 Minimum Wage

Lessons in how to make double-digit unemployment permanent.

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Protest
Credit: Barry Solow/Baslow

If anybody is wondering why so many California residents outside of the big cities want to break away and make their own states, just take note of the news today that California legislators have made a deal with the all-powerful unions to jack up the minimum wage for all industries and all employers across the state to $15 by 2022 and then tie future increases to inflation. Small business in California will have until 2023 to comply.

There are 13 counties in California that still have double-digit unemployment figures, according to the state's own data. The data isn't seasonally adjusted, so keep in mind that unemployment naturally rises at the start of a new year. But even taking into account an adjustment there are significant populations in the state struggling to find work. None of these high unemployment counties are connected to the big cities. They're inland poor counties like Merced (12.6 percent unemployment), Tulare (12.1 percent unemployment), and Imperial (18.6 percent). They have smaller populations and very little influence in government or the outcomes of ballot initiative votes. It is doubtful that anybody is even thinking about what will happen to those communities or that they even care if the outcome is terrible.

The Los Angeles Times got the scoop on the deal, which may be formally announced by Gov. Jerry Brown today. The deal is intended to hold off a labor-backed ballot initiative that has gotten enough signatures for a public vote. The final minimum wage would be the same under the ballot initiative (read it here) but would provide a shorter window for businesses to comply.

It's also very clear that these $15 pushes are being rushed before the consequences can be fully known post-implementation. But the economics are fairly clear, the Times notes today:

Last year, L.A. County commissioned a survey of 1,000 businesses around the county as part of a larger report on a minimum wage boost.

The economists concluded that as a result of the wage increase, "many prices will increase, including those that lower-income households commonly face; wages will rise for those in minimum wage jobs that remain employed; employment opportunities for those at the bottom of the skills ladder will be diminished" and "employment growth will slow."

A majority of businesses surveyed — and 96% of those have minimum wage employees — said they would likely raise their prices to make up for the increased labor costs.

Only 6% of the businesses overall said it was likely they would reduce the number of minimum-wage workers they employ as a result of the increased wage, but 19% of businesses with minimum wage workers said it was likely they would.

Keep in mind, that 19 percent is just for Los Angeles County, which has a much higher per capita income than other counties with smaller populations. The average Los Angeles County resident makes more than $10,000 more per year than a resident of Imperial County, for example.

But even when considering Los Angeles, it's tough to measure what isn't even there. The elimination of low-level jobs actually drives up the median wage and unemployment figures don't account very well for people abandoning the work force. Noam Scheiber took note last summer in The New York Times of the challenges of trying to estimate whether communities would be able to handle such a massive increase in the minimum wage. It's clear that the politicos responsible for this deal are not thinking beyond their own borders. A statewide massive increase in the minimum wage would be horrible for many communities, even if large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco could absorb the consequences. After looking at the list of cities that had recently passed hikes he notes:

Still, as a general rule, this list is filled with prosperous cities — places it might make sense to single out with high-impact minimum-wage increases. It's their affluence that fuels the demand for low-wage jobs, exacerbating inequality.

"The demand is essentially either driven by higher-income consumers in that area, or by tourism," [Economics Professor Arindrajit] Dube said. These are the very people, he added, who can afford to subsidize a higher minimum wage by paying more at restaurants and clothing stores.

Those are not going to be the same people you find in the farmlands of Imperial County.

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254 responses to “Heaven Help California's Non-Urban Cities Under a $15 Minimum Wage

  1. The economists concluded that as a result of the wage increase, “many prices will increase, including those that lower-income households commonly face; wages will rise for those in minimum wage jobs that remain employed; employment opportunities for those at the bottom of the skills ladder will be diminished” and “employment growth will slow.”

    Hogwash! Greedy businesses will just have give up some of their obscene profits!

    1. Exactly. Everyone knows about the outrageous profit margins in sectors of the economy like mass-market retail.

      1. Most people don’t know or care what margins are. They just see rich people and assume that they’re not paying enough. After all, they’re rich. If they had paid their fair share then they wouldn’t be rich, would they.

        1. It’s not even rich people ? it’s people others assume are rich, like franchisees.

  2. People in those counties should move.

    1. They can’t afford to – they’d have to hike east, and we’d have the Donner Party Redux.

      1. Hogwash. It’d be more like a reverse Tom Joad.

        1. You overestimate these people.

          1. Hogwash!

            1. You keep washing that hog, but it stays a hog.

              1. If you hate these masturbation euphemisms so much, why do you keep making them?

      1. No! It’s an awful place. Tornadoes, blizzards, firestorms! That’s right, gigantic firestorms! And don’t get me started on the zombie elk. (Statistics show the average lifespan for new immigrants is something like three days.)

        Don’t forget the housing prices. Sheesh. The other day a damp refrigerator box in a back alley of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood sold for $2.5 million.

        On top of that, I recently heard that the Boulder city council is planning a coup of the state government, so I hope you like hardcore communism.

        Colorado probably isn’t your cup of tea. Texas is nice this time of year.

        1. Did I mention the constitutional ban on alcoholic beverages that recently made the ballot? Looks like it’s going to pass by a wide margin.

          1. Are the women all obese and covered in track marks? If so, do you need a roommate?

            1. What are these “women” that you refer to?

              1. But yeah, this dumpster’s big enough for another roommate, come on down.

                Wait. Uhhh.. you don’t *really* leave tranny hooker corpses laying around, right? I’m sure it’s just another Reason meme…

          2. They did have a ban on 2 for 1 beer when I was in Denver. That’s enough for me to write the whole state off. Also no firearm signs everywhere. Pass.

            1. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

        2. Texas is horrible. HORRIBLE!

          Cock roaches the size of rats. Rats the size of dogs. Crazy christians wanting to teach your children creationism. There’s only about 4 months out of the year it’s tolerable to be outside. Every species of deadly snake can be found here. And don’t forget fire ants!

          You should probably check out Canada.

          1. You forgot the complete lack of medical services for women, the daily showdowns in the streets between armed miscreats, and the banning of anything non-animal from the dinner table.

            1. You forgot the complete lack of medical services for women, the daily showdowns in the streets between armed miscreats, and the banning of anything non-animal from the dinner table.

              I thought you were trying to make Texas look unappealing…

              1. How about the random shootings? By random I mean only people driving a Prius are attacked.

          2. That explains why your state’s population is in constant flux to Colorado! (Not that I’m complaining — Texans keep my freezer full of meat, which is great now that most of the grocery stores around here have been firebombed.)

            But yeah, check out Canada. I hear Rufus’s taking in borders.

            1. “Boarders”. Stupid chronic wasting disease’s messed up my brain thingy.

            2. He was sightseeing at a bookstore, ie “Taking in Borders”

          3. No. Not Canada.

            The temperature drops to zero as soon as you cross the 49th parallel. You will freeze to death in half an hour. And that’s in summer.

            The mosquitos come in two sizes: Those small enough to get through the holes in the screen and those big enough to open the door themselves. They will suck you dry like you were an extra in a Twilight movie.

            Even if you survive that, the moose stampede will flatten you.

            And if that’s not enough, we have the two Justins!

            Try Florida instead.

            1. Eh. We failed to stop the New Yorkers, I give up.
              *kicks over makeshift roadblock*

              1. Rally the real floridians at the northern end, wait for the californians to move in, then cut off the state and set it adrift.

                1. The only thing more rare than libertarians is real Floridians.

                  1. Hire some illegal immigrant laborers to fill in the gaps.

                    1. Might as well. Every time I pay a licensed contractor, they do shit work.

            2. Good God, people! Has nobody ever considered Delaware?! Delaware is great! It has……uh…..what the fuck is in Delaware again?

              1. People so fucking smart they voted for Joe Biden for thirty years.

                Go Delaware…

  3. Why do places like San Francisco and LA push these things state wide? If these minimum wage hikes are so great for everyone (employees, the economy, etc), then why force their neighbors to adopt it?

    When I lived in Madison, WI, it always drove me crazy when Madison would force Dane County to follow suit. As an example, Madison banned smoking in restaurants, but they then banned it in Dane County with almost all the support coming from inside Madison. What do Madison residents care? It is already banned there.

    1. Because they know damned well that what they are doing is counter-productive and they have to implement it everywhere to eliminate comparisons. I’ve often wondered if half the reason for Stalin’s East Bloc takeover was to squash comparisons.

      1. I don’t think they’re capable of that degree of self-reflection. The same drive that led them to force it upon their neighbors is what drives them to force it upon the rest of whatever area they can influence. It’s the “We know better what’s best for you” syndrome.

        1. I agree they are not capable of introspection. What I mean is that their every instinct is to cover up mistakes, and the best way to do that is prevent all comparisons. If all anyone sees is the same mistaken policy everywhere, how can anyone tell it’s a mistake? It’s why they hate competition, hate markets, hate individuality — all permit comparisons, which permit exposure of mistakes, which means someone is going to be blamed, and the coverup gets harder and harder the more it has to cover.

      2. It isn’t so much comparisons, as it is escape. If you can’t escape the higher minimum wage by moving out to the suburbs, they think you’ll stay there and live with the lower profit margins.

        1. I think this is the most likely reason.

    2. I recall that, during the lag before Dane County adopted it, several large restaurants opened just outside the city limits. So, at least Madison is still paying some price for it.

      1. Sure, just like gas stations and convience stores on the MN side of the MN-WI border greatly benefited from lower cigarette taxes before they were raised (and MN tax revenue decreased as a result). Or all kinds of things. Why shouldn’t you be expected to pay the costs for your decision? =D

    3. Why do places like San Francisco and LA push these things state wide? If these minimum wage hikes are so great for everyone (employees, the economy, etc), then why force their neighbors to adopt it?

      Because they know it will drive business out of their districts. They’re mendacious liars. So if they push it state wide, the concentric rings of damage are spread out, and it makes it so businesses have nowhere to hide. There is no ‘fringe’ for a business to hop over to escape the measure.

      1. … until they move to texas.

        1. We need to impose this on texas!!

          /proggie

          1. There was an editorial in The Buffalo News yesterday about expanding the minimum wage hike in New York and the author stated that the Federal government setting the minimum wage was optimal (but since the progs do not control the Congress at this time…).

          2. This is heard every night throughout Austin.

              1. Austinites are too busy playing Frisbie golf and engaging in eccentric beard grooming habits to give a shit about anywhere except Austin.

          3. In a way, it might happen. The lefties who would move to Maryland, but for the fact that the job growth is in Virginia, are instead moving to Virginia and voting for the very things that put Maryland at a disadvantage.

            1. And then they will complain, move somewhere else and impose the same policies at new locations…cause intentions.

              1. This is why we need to build a wall around California.

          4. Thus the push for federal minimum wage increases.

    4. Because they live in a bubble and don’t really know (or care) about what goes on outside of that bubble. Same reason that the legislators in Albany manage not to know (or care) about what goes on north and west of Westchester County, which includes Albany.

    5. What killed me was that when the anti-smokers were pushing the total ban in Minneapolis, they told anyone who would listen that a smoking ban would lead to MOAR business for bar owners. They said that the bars would be brimming with people who had been dying to drink in a bar, but couldn’t stand the smoke.

      Then when it passed and bars were closing or firing waitresses in Minneapolis, they demanded a statewide ban because the city bars were being killed by those cheating bars in the suburbs who could still allow smoking.

      Sadly, we went for the statewide ban. And no one was ever punished at the ballot box for supporting a bill that killed a bunch of bars and eliminated a lot of wait staff jobs. I wonder what ever happened to all those people who hated smoking so much and were just waiting for a smoke free bar?

      1. They’re home with the kids, because they’re losers who don’t smoke.

        1. It just aggravates me so much when they lie about these hordes of nonsmokers who will allegedly show up once smokers have been run off.

          Then when it has been proven that they don’t exist and that the ban is killing business, the solution is to ban it statewide instead of rescinding the ban.

          The same way I know that if California passes this idiocy, the local progs will demand that Minnesoda follow suit. We can’t allow ourselves to fall behind. Of course they will also say “See CA did it and there are no bad consequences” and if you dare point out that it hasn’t been implemented yet you will be sent off to a camp.

          1. The non-smokers are jogging in place and eating organic kale. They’re not going to bars.

            1. Lies!

              I hated coming home smelling like an ashtray….but I am not one to tell a business owner what to do with their property, so I was not all that happy with the “Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act”.

              1. I’m in the same place, though I wasn’t happy with the laws passing.

      2. In any group of 4 at least one smokes and demands that they go to the bar that allows smoking. Since non smokers are wimps they go along.

  4. The last minimum wage increase has already raised prices and surprised a lot of people who thought they’d get a pay raise for free; this new one is going to wreak havoc. Hell, it’ll wreck the havoc too. And everyone will blame the politicians for not reining in greedy businesses.

    Government really is a win-win-win situation for politicians. They only wrong they can do is not doing enough. They never get blamed for doing something, anything, and never applauded for doing nothing, or better yet, undoing past somethings, anythings.

    1. It is just “bad luck” when prog policies make a hash of things.

  5. After college in Wyoming just three years ago I lived comfortably for two years working 20 hours a week at $12/hour. Sure I didn’t go to bottomless mimosa brunches and professional sports events like many of my friends, but I got by just fine. Minimum wage laws that cover large economically-disparate areas are just stupid. I don’t understand how people don’t see that.

    1. The minimum wage should be $0, and let the local market conditions set the actual wages. The politicians have no ability to determine what a good wage is.

      1. The politicians have no ability to determine what a good wage is.

        Sure they do — MOAR!

      2. The minimum wage is 0$/hr. Just ask 12.6% of Merced County, 12.1% of Tulare County, and 18.6% of Imperial County.

        1. Find, I’ll clarify:

          The legislated price floor on Labor should be $0, to match the natural mininum wage.

      3. The minimum wage is $0

        and any law that claims otherwise just makes reality more obvious (to those who pay attention)

        1. refresh, refresh, refresh…

  6. Where I live, there was a city council member who said if a business couldn’t pay the $15 minimum wage, they shouldn’t be in business.

    “Let them eat cake” is apparently now a political winner.

    1. What’s this person going to say when you go “I told you so” after they complain about the skyrocketting cost of living?

      1. Demand more “affordable housing”, duh.

        1. And make it more expensive!

          1. That’s what Section 8 is for

            /proggie

          1. It’s price controls all the way down.

        2. Palo Alto, CA natch, is talking of subsidizing housing for poor people making $125K-$250K a year, because their restrictive housing policies have boosted the average house price to $2.2M.

          They are also telling a trailer park owner, who wants to sell it and retire, that he can’t go out of business unless he pays $8M to his tenants for relocation expenses.

          And no one in the city connects those two events.

          1. Wouldn’t subsidizing housing in Palo Alto drive up the price of housing?

          2. Wouldn’t subsidizing housing in Palo Alto drive up the price of housing?

            1. By double apparently…

              /squirrels

              1. U betcher sweet ass squirrel housing is more expensive there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the local PETAs have pushed through Fair Squirrel Housing Authority legislation.

                1. Or Fair Authority Squirrel Housing, and the members are FASHists.

                  1. And the waiting list is the FASHList?

          3. They are also telling a trailer park owner, who wants to sell it and retire, that he can’t go out of business unless he pays $8M to his tenants for relocation expenses.

            Sounds like a 13th Amendment issue to me.

          4. Palo Alto, CA natch, is talking of subsidizing housing for poor people making $125K-$250K a year,

            I heard about this the other day. Makes me sick.

          5. “They are also telling a trailer park owner, who wants to sell it and retire, that he can’t go out of business unless he pays $8M to his tenants for relocation expenses.”

            Huh?

            How can the city possibly have any legal authority to do that?

            1. Zoning, I suppose. He wants to sell to some retailer, or a developer of some sort, and they hold the zoning hostage.

              We do not live in a free country, Gilbert.

      2. A la Hillary, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized business” !

    2. So, pretty much the same as saying “If you can’t earn $15/hour, you shouldn’t have a job.”

      Nice.

    3. Alas, “I’d like to see you do it” isn’t.

    4. Lol what a scumbag. They allegedly care for the employee not making living wage such that they impose a policy that causes said employee to lose their job.

      1. And their union masters are perfectly happy with this – because all they care about is enriching themselves. They don’t give a shit about creating jobs.

        1. And their feedback loop is broken, since the majority of union members are public employees at this point. So, unlike private sector unions, which face some adversity when the economy craters, they just whine and say, “Make taxes bigger!”.

    5. That is a common argument that I see in leftist circles quite often.

      It assumes that every business can afford to pay $15/hr because they’re rich. The only reason they don’t is because they’d rather keep all those excess profits. If they go out of business it’s because they’re so damn greedy that they refuse to dip into their obscene profits to pay workers what they deserve.

      It’s all envy, all the time. No thought at all.

      1. Even more annoying is the fact that minimum wage advocates think it will reduce income inequality and those .01% who have X amount of America’s wealth.

        Got news for you, hippies. Minimum wage laws won’t affect the super-rich in the slightest. What it will affect is the upper-middle class guy who owns a bookstore, cafe, boutique, etc. You’re going to either make those types work a ton extra themselves to make ends meet, or go out of business. And the sales from that out-of-business shop will naturally be picked up by the megacorporation’s big-box store, which can tolerate the increased labor costs by using automation and passing along more costs to the customers (who now have limited options).

        So to help the ‘poor’, you’re destroying a segment of the middle class, and making more of the poor unemployed with higher costs of living for them. And meanwhile, more and more money will be going to the super-rich you thought you’d be hurting.

        Imbeciles.

        1. Excellent, C. – and to this –

          So to help the ‘poor’, you’re destroying a segment of the middle class, and making more of the poor unemployed with higher costs of living for them. And meanwhile, more and more money will be going to the super-rich you thought you’d be hurting

          – the same goddamn morons who created these conditions will spend the next election season lamenting how the middle class is shrinking.

          1. And of course, the lack of small businesses will hurt competition, which they will whine about some more.

        2. I honestly feel pretty terrible for small business owners in California. If you own a small business there, just come to Texas and you’ll double it’s profitability. Just don’t push your bullshit political agenda and we promise not to shoot you on purpose.

    6. No, that’s just what they do believe. A job that doesn’t pay at least $15/hr is beneath human dignity. Anyone who can’t find a $15/hr job should, of course, be given public assistance instead. And the EITC is now evil because they believe it is a subsidy to *Walmart*!

  7. Dear America,
    You’re welcome for the higher food prices.

    Love,
    California

    1. Only if we can’t import produce from cheaper countries.

    2. I doubt this will affect the illegal immigrant farm labor.

  8. Does this proposal also give union shops an exemption from minimum wage laws?

    1. The wording of the law isn’t out, but the proposed ballot initiative does not create an exemption.

    2. “Join a Union – you’ll be makes below minimum wage but at least you have a job

      1. “Unions: protecting the common worker from the scourge of higher wages”

  9. I’m waiting for a restaurant owner to fire all his waiters/waitresses and start giving jobs to unpaid “interns” who are allowed to keep tips.

    1. Servers are generally paid 1/2 minimum, and most of these new minimum wage hikes require servers to be paid full minimum wage. Most of these ignorant fuckheads who think they’re about to get a big wage are going to find themselves with a pink slip.

      1. Happening.

        Last month?and particularly last week? Seattle foodies were downcast as the blows kept coming: Queen Anne’s Grub closed February 15. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down February 25. Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala announced that it will close March 21. Ren?e Erickson’s Boat Street Caf? will shutter May 30 after 17 years with her at the helm (though, praise be, original owner Susan Kaplan will expand her neighboring Boat Street Kitchen into the space and continue serving the Boat Street pat?, the amaretto bread pudding with butter rum cream sauce and other favorites).

        Furthermore, less than a week after he was named a James Beard Semifinalist (Best Chef: Northwest) for his work at northern Italian restaurant Spinasse, Jason Stratton announced he would be stepping down from that restaurant and his others?Artusi and Vespolina?immediately to head to Spain.

        What the #*%&$* is going on? A variety of things, probably?and a good chance there is more change to come.
        […]

        With the minimum wage spike, however, he says that if restaurant owners made no changes, the labor cost in quick service restaurants would rise to 42 percent and in full service restaurants to 47 percent.

        1. What the #*%&$* is going on?

          *Stewie voice*

          Are you retarded?

          1. Translates as “what the %(/& is going on GIVEN THAT NO ANSWERS OUTSIDE PROG ORTHODOXY ARE PERMITTED”

        2. And if wealthy Seattle is losing that many restaurants, imagine the carnage that will come in Fresno or Buffalo.

          1. That isnt what was intended! -/prog

          2. Our only hope is that everyone does it and the entire economy resets, making the $15 minimum wage worthless.

          3. Oh, and by the way, the statement “made no changes” means firing people.

            Raising menu prices doesn’t change your labor costs. If your labor costs go up 47%, they go up 47%. You can raise menu prices to help offset that, but the labor cost rise is what it is. So to keep the labor costs from rising, you have to lower labor costs– getting rid of bodies.

            1. When I managed a pizza shop in the mid-80’s, rent, utilities, taxes, and misc expenses were 32%. My job was to keep food under 25% and labor under 28%.

              If we got everything right, the owner cleared about $3K/mo.

          4. People in Fresno have shitty taste in restaurants, anyway.

          5. I don’t have to imagine here in Fresno. Already double the unemployment vs. statewide, that’ll get worse, piled on top of more business failures, as if we hadn’t had enough of those. I don’t have a clue on how our farmers are going to cope. Hey, if enough of them give up, that should take care of the demand for water which’ll make Los Angeles really, really happy. Central Valley smog too. Etc.

      2. California doesn’t have separate tipped and untipped minimum wage.

        1. I wonder if California diners–at least outside of Silicon Valley–tip less than in states where tipped and untipped wages are different.

        2. I’ll remember that so next time I’m there I won’t tip.

    2. Speaking of restaurants, the trend toward greater automation is purely a coincidence.

  10. Wonder if the progs realize that higher min wage favors large corporations to capture larger shares of the market. Like in bookstores.

    Intentions matter, not results.

    If anyone has a prog friend next time they call you greedy for not going along with this (the you got yours) response, please ask them if you can find 3 homeless people to come live with them.

  11. It isn’t fair that the rest of the country has a competitive advantage due to lower min wage….higher everywhere will be great for everyone!!

    /prog

  12. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that every economist on the planet agrees that artificially setting a price above its market value causes surpluses, but for some reason this basic fact of economics doesn’t apply when you artificially set the price of labor above the market value.

    Because special pleading.

    1. It’s different because it’s people, not goods and services! These are real people who need a living wage to survive! How dare you treat them like inanimate objects! You unfeeling jerk! Why do you hate poor people! Why do you hate children! You’re a monster! A fucking monster! Fuck you you fucking FOX News watching Trump supporter! I bet you listen to Rush Limbaugh too! Aaaaauuuuggghhhhh!

    2. I saw a prog yesterday respond to a comment that said “min wage raising will result in less demand for that good”. Prog responded that this was a simplistic view of economics and there are a lot of factors…only to turn around and say that higher min wage will mean more money in the pocket which will be a boom for the economy and growth.

      They really are brain-dead idiots

      1. When they say that, I always wonder why you should stop at $15.00 an hour. If there are no possible negative consequences to a high minimum wage (which they seem to believe) then you could just go to $50.00 and everyone would be even richer!

        1. According to progs more money in your pocket = boom to the economy. Yet they get angry when they propose $50/hr.

          1. when you propose $50/hr**

        2. Because the multiplier effect would be too great and cause the economy to overheat. Duh.

      2. Minimum wage increases cause trickle down effects!

        1. I think you mean “trickle up”.

          But since fluids don’t naturally gain altitude without having force applied to them, what’s trickling?

          (Piss. It’s always piss with the government.)

        2. It’s amazing the same people who will decry “trickle-down” theory just love Keynesian economics and multipliers…

          1. Go ahead and find the economic school of thought that believes in the so-called Trickle Down ‘theory’ of economics.

            I only ask because it doesn’t actually exist. It’s just an argument with no basis in any school of actual thought.

            1. Conversely, Keynesians actually exist. Hmm…

  13. In these studies of the impact of minimum wage, I wonder how good a job they do of capturing the knock-on effects on non-minimum wage workers.

    Sure, everybody below $15/hour gets a raise, but how many of those who weren’t min-wagers before will get a raise to above the new minimum wage? How many people who now make above $15/hour will also get a raise?

    Without these knock-on raises, your comp structure can be pretty well wrecked.

    1. Yes. One way you can deal with the increased costs is to cut the pay of managers and higher skilled workers.

      1. Aka the most mobile members of your workforce.

      2. Cap the mandatory maximum wage at $20/hr. This will allow employers to pay lower-skilled workers more money.

        1. I think a better idea is to fix prices! Voila, no more problem paying for the necessities in life: Starbucks coffee, alcohol, rent, etc.

    2. It’s been talked about, but only in passing. The guy who put in a couple of years as a loyal employee in a low-skill job who’s been building experience making $15, just got dropped to minimum wage. Of course he’s going to demand a raise.

    3. There will be plenty of knock on effects.

      Why do you think the unions were pushing for this?

      A lot of union contracts have wage rates that are tied to some multiple of the minimum wage.

      If the minimum wage goes up X% – so do all those union wage rates proportionately.

  14. This same topic is going around the (moderated) pages of the local paper’s site. The local uberleftist pro-bernie supporter is actually trying to claim seattle proves this to be a good

    http://blog.timesunion.com/cap…..ge-debate/

    I’m trying to tell myself to stop bothering to respond to the guy.

    1. High minimum wages would do less damage in Seattle because Seattle was already pretty rich. The damage done by price fixing is determined by the gap between the natural price and whatever price the state sets, so if people in Seattle are already pretty well off, a $15.00 minimum won’t hurt them as much as it would hurt poorer parts of the country.

      A national minimum wage would also crush Puerto Rico since Congress determined 30 years ago that Puerto Rico should be bound to the US minimum wage, which was moronic because Puerto Rico is so much poorer than the rest of America. As a result, Puerto Rico is getting absolutely crushed by the $7.25 minimum wage, and God knows what would happen at $15.00.

      1. High minimum wages would do less damage in Seattle because Seattle was already pretty rich.

        Sure, if we ignore an unprecedented homeless problem which got worse on the progressives’ watch.

        1. How much of that is people in Seattle becoming homeless and how much of that is people from the rest of the state moving to Seattle because it’s richer so it’s easier to panhandle and has more homeless facilities?

          Because if it’s the latter, then that’s totally unconnected to the minimum wage issue.

          1. The embarrassing facts point to Seattle’s “10 Year Plan to Eliminate Homelessness”.

            Ten years ago this month, King County made a bold promise to end homelessness in 10 years. The ranks of the homeless have declined in Washington state and nationally during that time. But in the Seattle area, the number of people sleeping on the streets and in shelters has only gone up.

            The report sheepishly keeps pointing to “cost” of living in the city. Gee, I wonder what Seattle might do to at least not make that “cost of living” so much worse?

            1. The report sheepishly keeps pointing to “cost” of living in the city. Gee, I wonder what Seattle might do to at least not make that “cost of living” so much worse?

              Not supposed to be in blockquote.

        2. I blame republicans.

    2. They will just find something else!!

      /prog (feels smug for helping the exploited)

  15. This exact farce is playing out here in NY too – and forget the destruction it will cause upstate, what about the bodegas on every corner in NYC? Those aren’t exactly run by rich multinationals – and I suspect a lot of them are paying their staff under the table already.

    1. All business owners are rich money-hoarding scumbags who don’t pay their employees $30/hour because they hate poor people.

    2. I say this most times the discussion comes up, but I started my current job at under $15/hr. And it’s a job requiring particular skills and broad technical knowledge. It’s amazing that people think I should be paid more if I was starting at McDonalds or Starbucks.

      And, considering how long I was unemployed, I would have (easily) gotten a job at some cafe or fast food place, beating out anyone without a college degree, and might have missed the opening for my current job.

      1. Yup. My daughter’s a highly-skilled surgical technician and starting salaries for that in a medium to large-sized city can be below $15/hour. What a slap in the face if she could have just gone and been a burger-flipper or custodian for the same starting wage. So, naturally, surg. techs will want pay raises, because it’s not minimum wage work. And the nurses will demand pay raises, so they continue to make more than the techs … and so on…. sit back and think about that while you enjoy your $100 latte and wait for your $2 million routine medical treatment.

  16. The fucked up thing is that this minimum wage law isn’t as bad as the one passed in Los Angeles.

    The unions crafted the law so that the minimum wage was $15/hr UNLESS YOU WERE IN A UNION.

    1. Yeah, I heard about that. It’s a blatant way to force businesses to hire union labor in order to get under the minimum wage law.

      1. It’s a blatant way to force businesses to hire union labor fund union-backed political machines

        Cronytastic!

      2. Yep. That was the entire point of the law. They get more membership dues. In this case, by stealing from the paychecks from people who are already making less than minimum wage. Super classy.

  17. Why come you gots money and I ain’t gots money?

    1. Because I saved up and you spent it on hookers and booze.

      1. You know how to cut to the core of me, UCS.

        1. I’m not making a judgement call, just stating the fact.

      2. Booze? I thought we were talking about libertarians here.

      3. I thought it was because of guns, germs, and steel.

        1. *Portagee ship comes into view outside Goa*

          “Uh oh”

  18. Prog: “welfare benefits allow walmart to pay low wages”
    Me: “how about we get rid of the welfare since you have said that was the cause of walmart’s low wages”
    Prog: “you teathuglican”

    1. Alternate response: “they wouldn’t be collecting welfare if they had no job?”

  19. I can’t find the quote now, but in the ’90s didn’t Hillary Clinton say that if businesses went out of business due to her healthcare law, it wasn’t her fault because she can’t be expected to save ‘marginal businesses?’

    Anyone remember that? I’m trying to find that quote because it was remarkably callous and really shows that these people just don’t give a fuck.

    1. She’s hardly the only one. But if you try to connect their disdain for “marginal businesses” with the inevitable rise and dominance of large corporations…

      1. I’ve heard this exact argument from progressives – if a company can’t afford to pay a ‘living wage’ that company does not deserve to exist. Better that all its employees be on state welfare.

        1. Here’s a great example from Truth-Out.

          “If a Business Won’t Pay a Living Wage, It Shouldn’t Exist

          Look at it this way: when someone opens up a business, they’re entitled to all sorts of special tax breaks that most people can’t get. They can write off fancy meals; they can write off nights stayed at five-star hotels; they can write off airfare to anywhere in the world they do business, or even might do business; and they can even write off any legal expenses they incur when they get busted for breaking the law. ”

          It’s amazing how stupid these people are. Apparently someone running a tiny corner grocery store can write off fancy meals and all those five-star hotels they’re staying in.

          1. Damn, you found an article that uses your exact language. Nice.

            It is one of my favorite talking points to mock. These morons think they’re sophisticated economists who are actually explaining and defending capitalism and private business.

          2. “I fucking love economics!”

              1. The other argument I keep seeing is that if employees are paid $15 an hour, they’ll be more likely to like their job and work harder, and be better employees.

                If that’s the case, why would anyone need to force them to pay $15 an hour? Sounds like the company would benefit, so why not just eliminate the minimum wage, because smart employers will pay $15 anyway?

                It’s similar to the argument about women making 78 cents on the dollar a man earns. So why are any companies employing men at all? Why not just hire all women at lower wages, then undercut your competitors’ prices and dominate the industry? Oh, yeah, because all employers are sexist, that’s why, right?

          3. They never tell me how they defined $15 as a living wage. I thought it was $10.10 just a few years ago.

            1. It went up due to all this price inflation that keeps going on.

          4. “Apparently someone running a tiny corner grocery store can write off fancy meals and all those five-star hotels they’re staying in”

            This is totally how it works, actually. I went out as an independent consulting contractor a couple of years ago, and man I got to fly around first class, stay in five-star hotels, eat gourmet at every meal, and I had a constant stream of hookers and blow. I wrote it all off, therefore I didn’t pay for any of it, even though I didn’t have a single client! All those people were *so* nice.

            I don’t remember now why I quite that gig.

            1. Are you telling me someone affiliated with Thom Hartmann writing for Truth Out doesn’t have an accurate understanding of how tax writeoffs work?

              Impossible.

          5. I love that they actually think you can write off fancy meals and five-star hotels.

            You better have an airtight reason for that shit when the IRS targets you for an audit because you donated to the wrong political campaign.

            1. “You don’t even know what a write-off is, do you?”

              1. “But they do. And they’re the one’s writing it off.”

          6. It’s also throws in they usual crap about “tax breaks” as if someone keeping their own money was getting a government handout.

            1. Not taking is giving!

          7. It’s also throws in they usual crap about “tax breaks” as if someone keeping their own money was getting a government handout.

            1. mumble mumble blarg FAIR SHARE mumble

            2. Not giving is taking!

        2. But they care!

          /prog

        3. Better that all its employees be on state welfare.

          Well, they would prefer federal welfare, after it is “generously” expanded. To a progressive, the states are useless political divisions that only serve to impede progress. Unless they are trolling libertarians, in which case they suddenly care about “laboratories of democracy” again.

          But this is where the lie that they “care” about “the poor” is really laid bare. They don’t want people to stop being poor. They want people to be equally poor. How can you claim to care about fighting poverty when your own stated goals are to make more of it?

      2. Yep. They favor the large corporations

    2. I believe she said, when confronted with the costs associated with her proposed national health care scheme, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized business”

  20. Similar to what’s going on in the UK where they are now sending home any post-2011 non-EU arrivals who make less than GBP 35K a year.

    First of all, it will drive out everyone who was eating a low wage for now, for rewards later, i.e. a lot of the people who would have driven the next generation’s innovations.

    But more to the current point, only in London is GBP 35K a modest wage. In the poorer parts of the UK, like almost all of Scotland and Wales, 35K is a very good salary. London-centric thinking is set to pretty much drive all the non-EU talent out of the RUK.

  21. $15 by 2022? Clearly they don’t care about poor workers or they’d make this effective tomorrow.

    1. Yea that is a good point to make. If it was as great as the progs make it out to be, why aren’t they doing it tomorrow?

      1. Because even a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian will admit that business need “time to adapt”. The “party of science” needs cover from the priestly class.

        1. “Minimum wage laws have no impact on employment but we can’t implement them tomorrow or they’d have an adverse effect on employment.” /progderp

  22. Ed still has the top spot on the alt text leaderboard, mostly because I had to google “cylon” because I am not a nerd.

    1. “I had to google “cylon””

      *Sure* you did.

      1. He was looking for the rule 34 content.

    2. Let me save you some time: you would. You absolutely would.

    3. I dunno – this was a pretty good one.

  23. OK, who was sitting in the “negotiations” here?
    We had the bosses of the legislature (the unions) and the legislature worker bees who are paid by the bosses.
    Missing from the table are those (the consumers and taxpayers) who will end up paying for it.
    And yet, we will be reminded that ‘our representatives’ “negotiated” the deal.

  24. A majority of businesses surveyed ? and 96% of those have minimum wage employees ? said they would likely raise their prices to make up for the increased labor costs.

    If you lay the above on the table in the middle of a discussion in Facebook (and keep in mind that one does not need a survey to conclude that businesses would invariably raise their prices to cover their added cost) the result will be instant rebuke and vilification from Marxians against the business owners since, for them, the business-owners’ concern with their bottom line is immoral. In other words, the only purpose of a business that is morally acceptable is to employ people and pay them a wage the Marxians of good conscience believe is fair.

    It is doubtful that anybody is even thinking about what will happen to those communities or that they even care if the outcome is terrible.

    Doubfull, indeed! Most of these Marxians dream about turning all of California into a playground for environmentally-conscious surfers, hipsters and models, with the rest working as their personal butlers, nannies and cooks.

    1. In other words, the only purpose of a business that is morally acceptable is to employ people and pay them a wage the Marxians of good conscience believe is fair.

      They either deny or deplore the natural motive of going into business: self interest. They want business owners to be altruistic, and they will drag business owners to the light if they have to.

  25. Can someone help me out…i read a comment on a different site regarding the bastardization of keynes.

    This person had said that keynes had advocated surplus in times of plenty and only really argued for a lot of spending during downturns as he was against government solutions like a welfare state being installed. Thus a lot of spending was a necessary evil to help prevent people looking to a welfare solution in the long run. Also he didn’t like labor unions.

    Anyone know?

    1. If lots of government spending is necessary in economic downturns, then it follows that government spending should be severely curtailed in economic boom times, if for no other reason than to save for the eventual downturn.

      The problem* is that, when it comes time to cut spending because the economy is recovering, governments never do (unless forced, like Greece, and even then not by much).

      * = “the” problem from an internal perpsective; from an external perspective, it is but one of many problems

      1. Yep that is exactly a problem. Same how temporary government programs never get cut. I was more intrigued if he was against the welfare state or not.

        1. I was more intrigued if he was against the welfare state or not.

          If he’s an honest Keynesian, then he has to be. If a large share of government spending is politically inelastic, then you can’t adjust to the boom-bust cycle effectively.

      2. If lots of government spending is necessary in economic downturns, then it follows that government spending should be severely curtailed in economic boom times, if for no other reason than to save for the eventual downturn.

        My understanding is that that is exactly what Keynes advocated. The problem is that obstructionist Republicans stop benevolent Democrats from cutting spending during economic booms. At least that’s what my progressive father would say.

        1. The problem is that obstructionist Republicans stop benevolent Democrats from cutting spending during economic booms

          I have never heard anyone say this. If you can find somewhere that someone argued this?even obliquely?with a straight face, I’d love to see it.

          “The” problem (see caveat above) is that “social welfare” spending and Keynesian economics are fundamentally incompatible. You can’t have government spending take such an inelastic form if it is supposed to fluctuate with economic conditions.

          1. It’s the Republicans who support all this excess defense spending and other corporate welfare. The government would be flush with cash if it only stopped corporate welfare.

            /my father is a retard when it comes to politics and economics

            1. Ok, fair enough. I was erroneously assuming some economic literacy. I forget that “military spending” is the boogeyman to end all boogeymen for some people. Yes, 15% of the budget which generally enjoys bipartisan support is the sole reason we can’t apply Keynesian spending cuts and is definitely the fault of Republicans.

              It’s funny though how the “multiplier” of government spending doesn’t apply to “corporate welfare” if it’s in the defense sector. Yet these same people will turn around and credit everything that’s been invented in the last 40+ years to government, when most of that investment was driven by defense.

              I’m not really clear on how “corporate welfare” outside of defense, which generally takes the form of tax breaks and not direct subsidies, relates to a spending problem. Keynesian economics doesn’t say “balance the budget on either side of the ledger”…

              1. which generally takes the form of tax breaks and not direct subsidies

                I’ve tried to explain that and it is a lost cause. After all, not-giving is taking and not-taking is giving. So when the government takes less from the corporations, it is actually subsidizing them. To the tune of billions and billions of dollars a year. Especially the fossil fuel industry. They get all kinds of corporate subsidies in the form of tax breaks.

              2. I can still remember how my father defined capitalism when I was but a wee lad. He said “Capitalism means means if you have money then it makes money for you, and if you don’t have money you have to work for someone who does.” Like Picketty, he assumes that “the rich” are some monolithic group that never changes, that rich people never become poor, and that poor people never become rich, because it’s a rigged system where money makes money and everyone else is screwed.

                1. Of course, money doesn’t make money. If it did, people who won the lottery would stay rich for the rest of their lives. You have to know how to make money with money, and there are no guarantees in that field. Most people who get rich and stay that way do so by never touching their principal investment. But that means, roughly speaking, for every year with fat returns, there’s a year with no returns whatsoever.

        2. No, no, sarcasmic, you don’t get it. When times are flush, then they’re always going to be flush. And we can get beyond all that little quibbling over pennies here and there and truly take care of the underprivileged!

    2. I think the idea was to smooth out the business cycle. During boom times you pay off deficits and curb spending. Bust times you run deficits and spend to stimulate the economy. The part that gets skipped is paying down deficits and cutting spending.

      1. *flogs self for not refreshing*

    3. “This person had said that keynes had advocated surplus in times of plenty and only really argued for a lot of spending during downturns as he was against government solutions like a welfare state being installed.”

      Yes.
      Keynes’ proposals don’t work for the same reason Marxism doesn’t work; they both require unicorns.
      Keynes needs governments that paydown debt and return excess taxes in flush times while Marxism requires “The New Soviet Man”.
      Andy claim of employing Keynesian econ policies is bullshit cover for spending.

    4. Also he didn’t like labor unions.

      I would say this is for the same reasons as identified above re: welfare spending. Union wages are also inelastic (at least, in the downward direction). How can you spend less as the theory dictates you must, when it is politically impossible to lower spending?

    5. That’s the gist of it. To add to kbolino’s point, James Buchanan argued that Keynes’s own logic undermined the case for running a surplus. If government spending can utilize idle resources and bring us closer to full employment, then economists and lawmakers will always argue that the economy is underperforming and would benefit from more spending.

      My recollection is that Keynes’s focus was on smoothing out the boom-bust pattern. The surplus would help slow investment during the boom and keep too many resources from being irrationally put to use, and then that money would be spent during the bust.

      1. Of course, Keynes’s smoothing is really a question of liquidity. In “bust” times, liquidity dries up. The government injecting cash into the economy is adding liquidity. But that is exactly what the finance sector does. So the real question is, how can the government do something better than the market can, and the practical answer is generally “it can’t”. Keynes’s theorizing basically amounts to “what if we could thwart human nature” with the commonly held but egregiously flawed premise that governments are immune to human nature.

  26. It’s clear that the politicos responsible for this deal are not thinking beyond their own borders

    Does it ever occur to people that *maybe* this sort of assumption is 100% wrong, and maybe they know exactly what they’re doing, in a coordinated strategy of decimating peripheral smaller cities, aiming to create a steady stream of people flocking into denser and denser urban districts, increasing the political power of entenched interests?

    Sure the laws may be bad for small businesses even within their own urban locales, but their constituents are bigger-business interests and big-labor. By selling the hoi polloi on the idea that minimum wage increases benefit them, they are able to put these laws in place that have significant influence reducing competition for big businesses, and forcing ever more people into the urban political patronage system.

    There’s always this generous assumption being applied to progressive politics, pretending that they *mean what they say*, and that their superficial intentions are honest and pure.

    Maybe its just a better editorial approach to limit the darkest cynicism – but at a certain point it becomes a kind of institutional naivete. The support for minimum wage increases is really just another form of regulatory capture; it benefits competitors already paying higher wages by killing off their competitors who can’t handle the arbitrary changes to cost structure.

    1. And, another benefit in their mind, people who’ll crowd into the cities won’t have cars or travel much, so that will fix global warming!

      1. the whole “destroy the suburbs” idea runs through a variety of progressive political efforts. its almost a summary of everything they’re about. they don’t want to destroy the rural areas so much as isolate them and make them irrelevant. But they want to force everything in the sphere of the big urban cities to come under its sway and get all of its wealth sucked into the urban political machines.

  27. Still, as a general rule, this list is filled with prosperous cities ? places it might make sense to single out with high-impact minimum-wage increases. It’s their affluence that fuels the demand for low-wage jobs, exacerbating inequality.

    WTF?

  28. The middle class is the byproduct of a free market economy; it is not manufactured by a politician’s tax gimmicks, minimum wage laws, or government redistribution of wealth.

    There is no such thing as a living wage; there is only a wage that someone can afford to pay. You have to tailor your living around your wage, not have government tailor your wage around your living.

    Any increase in the minimum wage would only be a temporary relief to some as jobs, other wages and prices rebalance around the increase. Also it will hurt unskilled workers looking for their first job.

    It is about supply and demand. If you have an easy time filling your employee needs, you offer lower wages, if you have a hard time filling your employee needs, you offer higher wages; because if you do not your competition will and you will be out of business.

    It is not about what people deserve or what is fair or what is just; it is about what the market will bear. Blame the consumer for shopping for the lowest price and blame the voter for voting for government to fix their problems.

    If you feel workers should get better benefits and higher wages, then go start a business and offer these things to your workers. Lead by example and out compete those who pay less, instead of dictating to people who are actually providing jobs.

    Everything is not an issue in need of a law or statute. Waving the magic government wand / middle finger at businesses does not magically fix everything.

  29. Cronyism, excessive regulations, a convoluted tax code, excessive government spending, an escalating national debt and the Federal Reserve are the major causes of the widening income inequality gap.

    Solutions:
    Abolish the tax code,16th Amendment and IRS.
    Enact the Fair Tax.
    Minimize regulations to only what is absolutely necessary.
    Balance the budget.
    Start decreasing the national debt.
    Abolish the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and all bank regulations except one; require full disclosure on full or fractional reserve backing of deposits.
    Treat gold, silver and cryptocurrencies as legal tender (not as an asset) for tax purposes.

    The income inequality problem is counterintuitive. Big government equals more income inequality. Smaller government equals less income inequality.

  30. Where is the analysis of what will happen when union workers who make more than minimum wage suddenly get a raise by legislative fiat rather than contract (re)negotiation? Many (most?) union wages are contractually set with the minimum wage being a variable in the calculation (e.g.: minimum wage times y). A raise in minimum wage translates into an immediate raise in (those) union wages.

  31. This will break the taxation of labor. Once it goes black market, it never goes back.

  32. In whiny SJW voice

    “Hur, all they need to do is raise the prices per item by a few cents! A few cents! You don’t want to pay a dollar more for a hamburger so workers there can get a living wage increases?”

    We need to let these things happen. Because in blue states it’s gonna happen anyways and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    One of the best advice I get in life is that people won’t learn until bad things happen to them. Only a cold splash of reality across the face would engage the economic illiterates in some sort of introspection. I fully expect CA to pass legislation to allow Disney, Mcdolands and Uber workers to unionize and force their employers to the bargaining table. The crony capitalists who are beholden to progressive interests (and threaten boycott of states if they support freedom of association) should have to deal with pensions and living wages for the rest of their remaining lives.

    1. We need to let these things happen. Because in blue states it’s gonna happen anyways and there’s nothing we can do about it.

      One of the best advice I get in life is that people won’t learn until bad things happen to them. Only a cold splash of reality across the face would engage the economic illiterates in some sort of introspection.

      Except that never happens. They never accept that their policies are the problem. It must be greed… or the policies didn’t go far enough… or… or… any pleathora of excuses; everything and everything but, “Well, shit y’all… we were wrong…

  33. “It’s also very clear that these $15 pushes are being rushed before the consequences can be fully known post-implementation.”

    That’s true of any change. There is no telling what the consequences of a change will bring. This is true no matter how long you look into it. There is no rushed about it. This is hardly the first time that a higher minimum wage has been introduced.

    1. Federal minimum wage have not gone up by more than 70 cents in the last…… 30-70 cents? A 15 dollar min wage is around 6 dollars more than current federal min wage.

      Certain decisions will almost always result in a foreseeable outcome. If you set something to fire, it will burn. If you raise labor cost, it will have a negative impact on jobs and cost of living.

      It’s already happening in Seattle –

      http://oregonbusinessreport.co…..age-jumps/

      1. “If you raise labor cost, it will have a negative impact on jobs and cost of living.”

        These are typically the kind of jobs that illegal workers do. If their work disappears, they will go elsewhere to find some. Raising the minimum wage to $15 isn’t going to change the job market for dentists and lawyers etc.

  34. RE: Heaven Help California’s Non-Urban Cities Under a $15 Minimum Wage

    Now, now.
    You can’t destroy a capitalist enterprise, especially small businesses, unless you make unrealistic wage demands from clueless union reps, over-educated idiots, opportunistic politicians, and morons who know nothing about economics.

  35. This will be a banner year for robotic sales to the food-service industry – particularly fast-food, where you may never see, nor hear, and employee in the future.

  36. Now California needs a Right to Work law to protect the unskilled – entry level workers.

  37. California deserves a $15 minimum wage and they deserve it good and hard.

  38. CA Gov Jerry Brown has just (inadvertently, and completely opposed to what his actual purpose is), just approved the $15/hr min wage in CA – which will gradually/incrementally take affect over the next 7 years. This action will rapidly accelerate the progress of robotics, in replacing illegal aliens, and zit-faced kids in their first jobs.

  39. In these studies of the impact of minimum wage, I wonder how good a job they do of capturing the knock-on effects on non-minimum wage workers.

    They’d do a better job of it if they made a living wage.

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