Minimum Wage

California Passes $15 Minimum Wage; New York to Follow

Legislators hurry to act before the alarm bells can be rung.


Credit: Annette Bernhardt / photo on flickr

That the state of California would announce a massive, game-changing new labor mandate and pass it in less than a week tells you exactly how much legislators and proponents absolutely do not want a discussion of the consequences. That's precisely what has happened. Both houses of California's legislature approved Thursday a deal to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years everywhere in the state. The only concession for small employers is that there will be an extra year for them to comply.

The entire deal was announced and passed in less than a week while economists were still analyzing the potential consequences. Legislative analysts released the report detailing the consequences of the minimum wage increase on the state's budget just a day before the legislature voted on it.

When the deal was announced I warned about the significant potential impacts in areas outside major urban centers, poorer non-urban communities where there aren't wealthier people to absorb the rising costs increases in the minimum wage. FiveThirtyEight economics writer Ben Casselman offered some similar concerns tied to actual statistical analysis of how many jobs it may impact. He helpfully provides a chart that shows what percentage of occupations, based on the community, will be affected by such a drastic minimum wage increase. All those poorer counties that don't house major cities are the places where the greater percentage of occupations will be affected by the minimum wage increase.

It's easy to imagine the people who argue that this is all the more reason for the wage increase—to help those people in poorer parts of the state also get a raise. But such an argument misses the much larger point that the greater the percentage of people who will receive the pay increase means that there is a much smaller percentage of people who are able to absorb the increased costs of doing business and purchasing goods and services that will naturally follow.

(As an aside, in answer to a question asked after my blog post on Monday, California law prohibits the use of collective bargaining to arrange for employees to make less than the state's minimum wage. This is not a situation like what happened in Los Angeles, where unions pushed for a minimum wage increase and then tried to exempt themselves in order to get an advantage over competition.)

And here's a few other issues that really aren't getting much attention (probably deliberately so) as the legislature and governor rush this mandate into law:

About those government costs. Once the minimum wage reaches $15 an hour, legislative analysts say it will cost the state government an additional $3.6 billion a year in changes to just state employee wages. The state budget for 2016-17 proposes $168 billion in spending, to give some context. But that's just state spending. It would likely also impact municipal government costs. Do keep in mind that even if local governments don't employ lots of workers at minimum wages, many collective bargaining agreements tie base pay to whatever the minimum wage actually is. So there could full well be a number of employees both in the public and private sector who make more than $15 an hour now who will nevertheless be able to demand raises anyway because of the increase.

Even more pension obligations. Don't forget that the increase in wages doesn't just obligate taxpayers to fund government employees only when they're actually working. Wage levels determine post-retirement pension payments, so those are going to skyrocket as well. The state of California has billions and billions of unfunded pension liabilities (representing the amount of money taxpayers have to pay when pension funds don't perform as well as promised). And again, that's just for state employees. Municipalities have their own pension crises, and they've contributed to the bankruptcies of cities like Stockton and San Bernardino. The City of San Bernardino recently dismantled its own fire department and contracted with the county in order to try to reduce its obligations.

Impact on salaried employees. In California, it's not just the low-skilled hourly wage slaves that will be affected. California is persnickety about the circumstances through which employers may designate employees as salaried and therefore exempt from many hourly pay and overtime guidelines. One of the rules (and not the only rule by far) is that these employees must make at least twice the minimum wage. Right now that's about $41,000 given California's $10 minimum wage. By the time this increase is in full effect employers will have to pay managers and others on salaries a minimum of $62,400 annually or shift them back to hourly wages.

In Casselman's FiveThirtyEight analysis of California's wage jump, he notes that America is seeing job growth at both the top and bottom of the wage scale (and he has graphs to prove it), but it's the middle getting hollowed out. Because of this salary rule, we can see exactly how that happens in California. This salary rule won't likely affect people in upper management or well-established salaried employees. But it will likely result in an elimination or reduction of these types of positions in the middle of the employment spectrum. Critics of the minimum wage like to talk about how it pulls the rungs out of the bottom of a metaphorical wage "ladder," making it harder for poor and unskilled workers to find opportunities into the workforce. In California (and probably other states as well) these increases will also result in pulling some rungs out of the middle of the ladder as well, reducing opportunities for wage laborers to try to transition into management roles.

On the other side of the country, New York has decided to follow in California's footsteps, though a little more carefully. A "deal" with legislative leaders (and not anybody who actually has to pay for the costs) will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a timeline that shifts depending on location and will be subject to an impact review once it hits $12.50 an hour. The plan also includes 12 paid weeks of paid family leave, an entitlement that Peter Suderman explains here actually has negative impacts on women in the workplace. 

NEXT: Friday A/V Club: The Media Pranks of Joey Skaggs

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  1. Maybe the California legislature is actually a bunch of neoMalthusians? They’re just trying to get rid of the excess population in the state?

    1. No, they’re just stupid and short-sighted.

      1. That seems a much more likely explanation.

        Though a lot of them probably also happen to be neo-Malthusians.

      2. Don’t forget corrupt and greedy. This isn’t aimed at helping the easy-to-fire unskilled laborers who will likely experience the real minimum wage of zero, or whatever the black market rate is; it’s aimed at helping the Party-funding unions whose contracts are tried to the minimum wage.

  2. I’ve been in a horrible mood all morning with this pall of dread over me as I contemplate how many places I do business with will be closing.

    Also whether it will end up being cheaper to buy grocies online now as well because of the labor costs needed to stock the local stores. I will not use a “self-service” checkout, even if it means I have to stop doing business with somebody. Those machines piss me off every fucking time I have had to deal with the pieces of shit.

    1. I use self-checkout exclusively at supermarkets. I would use them at Target and Trader Joe’s as well if I could.

      1. They will soon.

      2. Half the fun of shopping at Trader Joe’s is interacting with the attractive male staff…

        Not that that appeals to most of the commenters here.

        1. Not that that appeals to most of the commenters here.

          Seriously. Who wants to pay Trader Joe’s prices?

          1. Wut? Have you not had their relatively low-priced and delicious cheese?

            1. tbh I rarely go to the Trader Joe’s here in town because there’s a Smith’s half a minute from my house. Maybe I’ll make a detour.

              1. Not being a man of high fashion is one thing…but not being a man of Trader Joe’s is just criminal.

                1. Gas money is cheese money, man. If I spend the money to get the cheese I’ll have to spend the cheese to get the gas and the gas to get the cheese and the cheese to get the gas…

                  1. *spins around in circles over the bottom of a bat*

              2. It depends on what you’re getting. In our area Trader Joe’s was the only place to get limes that weren’t pure pith for a while. They did some black magic and kept stocked with really good limes at affordable prices. As Doyers notes their cheese section is excellent and reasonably priced. I usually avoid staple foods like rice, milk and eggs because I can get them cheaper elsewhere. They have decent wine options at a reasonable price and their liquor section is very competitively priced.

                They actually operate on a similar model to ALDI in that they don’t carry a huge variety of products and house-label a lot of their products and it allows them to negotiate better prices.

                1. I would have to drive past 2 publix stores before getting to trader joes. Pass.

                  1. Fine, don’t go buy $10/L vodka that’s actually pretty good.

                    1. I don’t drink vodka. What else you got?

                    2. Same for Whaler’s dark rum…

                      Sometimes I need to cut loose and molest some house guests.

                    3. Fine. I’ll check it out.

                    4. They’re great for all kinds of liquor and alcohol. Wine, beer, liquor, cheese, and odd frozen foods & snacks are what TJs is there for. You can also get other stuff while you’re there.

                  2. Sounds like a feature, not a flaw.

                    1. Damn squirrelz:

                      I would have to drive past 2 publix stores before getting to trader joes. Pass.

                      Sounds like a feature, not a flaw.

        2. “Half the fun of shopping at Trader Joe’s is interacting with the attractive male staff…

          Not that that appeals to most of the commenters here.”

          Who doesn’t like interacting with attractive male staff? A straight man appreciates beauty in all its forms, Jesse.

          1. Sometimes two or three times a night. Heyooooo!

      3. ^This, pretty much. Only if I have a huge load, which is frowned upon at self-check, or the self-check is crowded, will I use a human checker.

        Tonio’s tips for self-check:

        *If you have alcohol, always make sure an attendant is on-duty so you don’t get stuck waiting for the attendant to return and do your ID check. Scan alcohol first if attendant is on duty, or wait until attendant returns if that’s not an option.

        *If you have super-heavy objects, like cases of water, scan those last as that much weight on the scale can make it difficult for the scale to register light items.

        *You don’t have to bag large items like six-packs of paper towels, but the attendant may have to put stickers on them once you’re done.

        *ALWAYS make sure your produce has labels with the code on it. Memorize codes for frequently-purchased produce (ie, limes) or store those in your shopping list app.

        *Make it a point to greet and say thanks to the person staffing the self-check section. They will come to recognize you and will automatically clear any errors for you.

        1. *Always go for the self-check closest to the attendant on duty.

        2. Only if I have a huge load,

          Well now…these abstract euphemisms are getting really masturbation.

          1. As I was posting that I realized I’d failed on phrasing. Sorry.

            1. Never apologize for posts with masturbation double-meanings!

        3. You forgot – don’t get in the line if you have more than 3 items that need the codes keyed in, don’t get in the line if you are old enough to own a Beatles album on vinyl, and don’t get in line if you see someone in front of you old enough to own a Beatles album on vinyl.

          1. You forgot – don’t get in the line if you have more than 3 items that need the codes keyed in, don’t get in the line if you are old enough to own a Beatles album on vinyl, and don’t get in line if you see someone in front of you old enough to own a Beatles album on vinyl.

            Or if you or the person in front of you is paying with germ-laden green-colored pieces of paper.

            1. You mean Nurgle’s Notes?

          2. I am old enough to own Beatles albums on vinyl, thank you very much, and I rock the self-check. But I agree that most older people suck at technology.

            Where I shop the self-check has a single queue which feeds all the self-check stations. So it takes several old people and/or hippies to clog things up properly.

            1. You forgot that at least one of the self checkout stations will be marked as “out of order” and another will say “can’t process cards”.

              1. I always check for things like that on the way in to the store. My store doesn’t have that many outages, though. The other customers, or disappearing attendant, are the biggest problems.

          3. Also. . . don’t get in the line if you have more than 2 brain cells to rub together.

        4. The main problem with self checkout is that I lose the fun of seeing human reactions when I buy razor blades and apples on Halloween, or rope, duct tape, and lube on any other night.

          1. One of my favorite moments as a teen… went to the “small-town” pharmacy and bought potassium nitrate and blue-tip matches. Yes, we were making explosives….

            I thought the guy in line behind me was going to have a stroke!

      4. I go out of my way to go to a Jack-in-the-Box that’s about 15 minutes away because they have the self-ordering kiosk. Hell, I’d use them at car dealerships, doctor’s offices, and anywhere else I could. They’re pretty much the only reason to go to Chili’s other than the skillet queso.

      5. In California you cannot use self-checkout if you are buying alcohol and alcohol is one of the few things I buy at Trader Joe’s.

    2. Well you have only yourself to blame because something something state henchman.

    3. Really? I rather like the self-checkout lanes. Almost always less crowded than the regular lanes.

      1. And always take longer to process the same number of groceries. It won’t let me scan at anything approaching decent speeds, forcing me to use the “disable grandma” rate even if I can manage a better one. Then there’s that obnoxious weight sensor that can’t wait long enough for me to organize my bags properly before pestering me about putting it in one. Plus at the end you have to deal with the human anyway because the machine can’t handle X or Y got screwed up while I was trying not to yell at it.

        1. It sounds like you either only tried these a few times and gave up before you really got good at it, or the ones at your grocery store suck. I’ll admit that the scan rate is slower, but the line is usually shorter too, so that makes up for it.

        2. Maybe your store just has shitty machines. The ones where I shop work really well most of the time.

        3. It’s a trade-off for me. If I’m buying a small number of items, self-checkout is much faster. Big shopping trip, it goes better at the human register.

        4. See above.

          1. Also, pre-plan your scanning order to optimize bagging. I use big-ass reusable bags so I don’t have to worry as much about that, but BYOBag requires attendant interaction.

        5. My complaints:
          Fruits, veggies, anything w/o a barcode.
          Bulky stuff that won’t fit in a bag.
          Too much stuff that won’t fit in one bag.
          Repetitive things, like a dozen cans of tuna. I can’t just wave one can back and forth, I have to scan and deposit each one before doing the next.
          The awful slowness of them, almost as if the union contract requires amateur grade self-check scanners.
          Unforgiving of mistakes. If I put something in the bag before the scanner beeps ok, or if I reorganize the bag, or anything in the bag slides off the scale, or do anything to jiggle the weight, it gets incredibly confused and I usually have to start over.

          And probably more. If I only have a few simple items, I prefer them. More than one bag full, or too many fruits and veggies, forget it, it’s faster to wait in line.

          1. Human cashiers have a quantity button so they can scan one can and then specify quantity. They will not implement this feature on self-check because it would make it too easy to shoplift by scanning the one can of tuna and then placing several cans of salmon in the bag. Fortunately, cans scan fairly reliably.

            Large items – do not bag but do place on scale.

            See above for other hints.

            1. But those limitations are what keep me form using them very often. The slow human wait is more than compensated for by the fast cashier for anything more than a few simple purchases.

        6. Some stores, like Giant has solved your problem.

          You get a hand held scanner that you can use to scan groceries and immediately bag them as you go through the store. Quickly pay at any checkout line by handing over the device.

          Or, you know, you can order and pay online, then go pick it up – or have it delivered.

      2. Me too, unless I’ve got more stuff than will fit in the bagging area.

        1. The self-check stations at the stores at which I shop have a Large Item button on the screen. That tells the system to not expect the weight of that item on the scale. Stores can require the attendant to approve customer use of that feature, but see above for my tips on this.

          1. I tend to just keep my bags on my arm until I’m done checking out and then dump all of my stuff in. Even when I’ve had attendants come by and see that I have my own bag, and they’ve punched in their code I’ve had problems with it. It’s just easier to bag at the end at that point.

            1. That, too.

    4. I will not use a “self-service” checkout, even if it means I have to stop doing business with somebody. Those machines piss me off every fucking time I have had to deal with the pieces of shit.

      I use them exclusively at Safeway (when offered). They’re bulletproof. Sure, there’s always some octogenarian who struggles with it and tries to pay with exact change, but other than that, I’m through faster than the standard lines.

      1. The fewer surly middle-age cashiers I have to deal with, the better.

        1. When forced to use a cashier it’s always hard to choose between the surly middle-aged alcoholic, the bored/angsty teenager, and the slowly deliberate retiree.

          1. Around here it all eastern European chicks, old rednecks and mentally handicapped people of indeterminate age.

          2. it depends on the cuteness of the bored/angsty teenager. Otherwise, go for the slowly deliberate retiree (at least you know your order will be correct).

            If I wanted a surly middle-age alcoholic checking my groceries, I’d use the d**n self-serve checkouts.

            1. I’ve noticed in the past 25 years, while shaking my fist at those damned kids who won’t get off my lawn, that there are very few bored/angsty teenagers working minimum wage jobs anymore. I attribute this to three wholly unscientific theories:

              1. I grew up in a small midwestern town where those kinds of jobs were filled solely by bored/angsty teenagers because those were the only people who thought their time was worth $4.25 and hour. But since I’ve lived in big cities most of my adult life, there are a whole shit-ton of people who think “check out girl” is in fact a lifelong career (and think it’s worth fifteen bucks an hour).

              2. Differences in employment rates/unemployment rates now versus then, making it more likely that surly middle-aged slackers are looking for minimum wage jobs, and pushing aside surly teenaged slackers.

              3. Lazy kids, and go-getter kids who think they have to cram a school-sanctioned activity into every last minute so they have a shot at getting into a university.

              A corollary is that checkout lanes are always staffed by surly middle-aged clerks, except when I’m buying booze. Then the world must stop spinning on its axis while the bored/angsty teenagers tries in vain to find a manager to perform the magical task, that only a manager can do, of swiping a 12-pack across the scanner.

              1. How many of those surly middle-aged clerks were the same people who were teenagers running the checkout all those decades ago?

                1. Many, many reasons not to go back and visit my old hometown, but when I do, I notice a fair number of the same people in the same jobs.

              2. You forgot lower income houswives for #1. You probably don’t see them unless you shop during the weekday, but they are the ones who staff the stores when the teenagers are in school.

                1. Good point. I always wanted the day shift as a grocery bagger once summer came around, but those spots were already filled by old retired guys and the guys who were a few years ahead of you in high school, but ten years ahead of you in age if you know what I mean. So I was stuck working the same afternoons and nights as during the school year.

            2. Also, I see what you did there. Nicely done.

              If I wanted a surly middle-age alcoholic checking my groceries, I’d use the d**n self-serve checkouts.

      2. The weight-sensors on the Safeway self-checkouts drive me crazy. I put a bag on there and it flips the fuck out and summons a store-employee. I can’t bag anything until I’ve scanned everything and paid.

        1. Not sure about Safeway, but check for a “My Bag” button on the screen. You have to hit that just after you scan your rewards card. Also, see above.

        2. our local Meijer has conveyors on the self-serve lines for larger orders. That way you don’t have to deal with the bag issues. You just leave the bag in your cart, then use it at the other end (past the scales).

          I would say they’re idiot-proof, but I know God is always hard at work making better idiots.

          1. That is awesome. Does the scale weigh the cart or does it weigh the groceries on the belt?

            1. Weighs groceries on belt. Its one of the reasons I go to Meijet.

              Generally, wife scans and I bag at other end.

          2. Giant Eagle has a mix of conveyor and the other kind for self-check. Mostly, it works great. But as you say, there are always better idiots out there. I sometimes have gotten hung up on coupons, but that is usually because they don’t empty the bin out often enough and the sensor gets all fucked up.

    5. Maybe the fault lies not with the machines…

      1. Nope, it’s definately those machines. Come by, I’ll show you how piss-poor they’re implemented.

        1. Try several other stores. Most of the ones I’ve used have been pretty decent and consistent once you take the time to figure them out. If yours is complaining about a barcode or a weight, then you should report it to the management to they can fix it, because they don’t do that when properly programmed and calibrated.

    6. The only thing that sucks ass about the self-checkout lines, at least in CA, is that you can no longer purchase booze with them. So there goes that convenience. Otherwise I love them.

      1. WTF? I can purchase beer and wine using self-checkout in Virginia, and we’re one of those states where the state runs all the liquor stores.

        1. Yeah, well, it’s a law round these parts. Too many children getting alcohol poisoning from liquor purchased at self-checkout lines.

          1. Someone needs to summon Playa Manhattan. to discuss this. He knows the story behind it. IIRC it’s a gimme to the grocery worker’s union. There were anti-Fresh & Easy protests because it was *all* self-checkout and stunts were pulled and now you can’t just have a worker tap out their code to acknowledge that they’ve IDed you.

            1. UFCW was trying to take down Fresh and Easy because they didn’t have union cashiers.

              They did it under the guise of “public safety”. They held a press conference in front of the headquarters in El Segundo, complete with local clergy. The addressed the “scourge” of underage drinking, and blamed the self checkout at Fresh and Easy.

              The CEO stepped in front of the mic, and apologized that his entire chain of 100-some-odd grocery stores had been cited exactly 3 times for selling alcohol to minors. He then pointed out that the Ralph’s right up the street had been cited 11 times in the last year for selling to minors.

              So, of course the union won anyway, because our state is fucking corrupt. Selling alcohol at a self-checkout terminal is now punishable with jail time.

              1. Huh, I had no idea that the law was actually linked to underage alcohol sales. The more you know!

              2. That is maddening. Virginia may suck on other alcohol regulations, but at least we’re a right to work state.

            2. Someone needs to summon Playa Manhattan.

              Chipotle, Chipotle, Chipotle

              1. Chipotle, Chipotle, Chipotle

                Tomorrow’s headline: Entire H&R commentariat felled by norovirus after commenter accidentally summoned the spirit of Chipotle

        2. At least you can buy beer and wine in a grocery store. Not in lovely Pa.

          1. That was an incredibly painful culture shock for me when I went to a CVS in Philly on a Sunday morning hoping to get some brunch beer.

          2. Shocked me too when I moved to Philly a few years ago.

    7. I want to go on another rant about those chip-card readers, but I think I did already.

      1. Fuck I hate those.

    8. I’ll use self checkout if it is most convenient (I haven’t had a lot of trouble with the machines as long as I’m not bying alcohol). But I always kind of feel like I’m getting ripped off. I’m paying for someone to scan and bag my groceries as part of the price of the food and I’m going to get it, damnit. They should give you a small discount or something for using self checkout.

  3. Look. it’s not legislators’ faults that those fatcat businessmen are sitting on Scrooge McDuck-sized piles of money that they greedily refuse to give to their employees.

    1. There is one moron in the local paper who is literally making the argument that any business who can’t afford $15/hr is “close to failure anyway” even if they’re thriving at current labor cost levels.

      1. Profs don’t give a shit about small businesses.

        1. Profs or progs? (Though the former tend to be the latter anyways.)

              1. Not if they’re on the sale rack at Publix…

      2. any business who can’t afford $15/hr is “close to failure anyway”

        I see that a lot, too. I suspect it’s a canned left-wing talking point. Ask him for a citation or evidence on that.

      3. That’s all they’ve got?

        It’s obviously bullshit. Lots of small businesses, especially restaurants, run on tiny margins. Payroll going up 50-100% is going to fuck over a whole lot of small businesses. So everything will be a shitty chain restaurant with lots of automation.

        1. Exactly, most small businesses are what the college prof would consider ‘close to failure’ anyway. It’s the nature of the critter (especially when government makes Roscoe’s Tacos do as much paperwork as McDonalds).

          1. What’s funny is that it’s *exactly* the same argument John D. Rockefeller used when people criticized his putting smaller oil companies out of business.

            Except when he did it through market forces, it was evil. Do it through government fiat, and it’s good.

            1. Intentions matter!

        2. And without a moderately large class of entrepreneurs, support for capitalism will continue trending shitterward until we go full on commie.

      4. “any business who can’t afford $15/hr is “close to failure anyway””

        I love that argument. It’s like if I stabbed someone in the gut and then said, “well if you can’t handle some massive blood loss and peritonitis, you were probably too weak to live anyway!”

  4. It’s what the people want and that’s all that matters. Right?

    1. Well, it’s what certain people want, yes. I think this tells us who matters, for sure.

  5. $15? Fuck that, you ever try raising a family with a three-bedroom house in the suburbs with two cars on that? Everyone is entitled to a $50/hour minimum wage, that way everyone can have the comfortable life that they have a right to!

    1. If we raised the minimum wage to $1,000 an hour, then everyone would be able to buy a house within one or two months, and pay cash for it, too!

      1. Brilliant!

        Whenever proggies start in on raising the minimum wage, I like to bring up the “why not raise it to $50/hour?” example. And then watch them try to rationalize why only some government-mandated arbitrary wage increases have bad effects.

        1. The worst part is that they are doing this state wide as if the cost of living is the same in downtown San Fran as it is in Ridgecrest. What rural business can afford to pay anyone $15/hr? I expect every fast food joint in Barstow will be fully automated by the end of the decade.

          1. I expect every fast food joint in Barstow will be fully automated by the end of the decade.

            I look forward to not having to interact with unmotivated half-wits who can barely speak English and invariably manage to fuck up my simple order for a buritto and a Coke.

            1. I think you’ll find instead that some of them will be replaced by illegal immigrants paid cash instead of a robot. They still won’t speak english and will continue to fuck up your order, but won’t be paying social security

            2. Yes in-fucking-deed.

            3. I for one welcome our burrito-robot overlords.

          2. That’s the really crazy part. $15/hour is not a bad rate in some places. It was over 10 years ago now, but I was considering buying a house on $35k/year, where in SF or NYC you’d barely be able to afford to live without roommates.

            1. Indeed – in more easterly parts of the state you can still buy a decent-sized house for less than $100k.

  6. So I never noticed the +- on the comments before, i guess they help when you hit the thread depth max. Weird. And NOW we have “promoted” comments?

    1. The +/- is new, but I’m only seeing that on the promoted comments.

      1. I’m not seeing it at all.

        1. I’m not either. Is this a Chrome thing?

      2. What’s a promoted comment? I feel like I’m missing out on something here.

        1. I’m not seeing them on this article at the moment. I do see it on the Hill-dawg: I’m Sick of Bernie’s Lies article. Maybe others.

          1. I saw that. So it looks like you can pay for the privilege of voting on comments to be put at the top?

            I can imagine some amusing consequences to that, but it seems kind of pointless when we can just call each other assholes for free.

  7. The entire deal was announced and passed in less than a week while economists were still analyzing the potential consequences.

    Hasn’t that analysis already been done? I mean, granted we don’t know exactly what the numbers will be in terms of prices raised and jobs lost, but we do know that they will be in the general area of “lots”.

    1. Well, places that have already done this have in fact seen negative effects regarding employment, so I don’t think we really need to wait for some economists to opine on what will happen. It’s already been demonstrated.

    2. “I mean, granted we don’t know exactly what the numbers will be in terms of prices raised and jobs lost, but we do know that they will be in the general area of “lots”.”

      I believe that a more precise estimate would be one shitload of jobs lost.

  8. Whatever Seattle does, California can do bigger, better and worser.

    1. And whatever Stupid proggie idea is vogue, Andyboy can jump the gun on with a supine legislature.

      1. Like the limit on magazine capacity of 7 rounds.

    2. I honestly think that Seattle beating SF and LA to the punch on the $15 minimum wage was a major blow to California’s collective psyche.

      1. Yes, but unlike Seattle, the entire State of California doesn’t have hiring a gazillion people to mask the job loss numbers.

  9. It’s like a horror movie, and the kids are racing each other to get their clothes off and jump into the monster-infested lake.

    1. Maybe if you’re living in California or New York. Otherwise it’s a comedy movie featuring gratuitous nut-shots.

      1. Agreed. These new minimum wage increase laws are terrible and destructive, but I’m hopeful that this will divert the idiots from passing a national $15/hr minimum wage.

        1. They don’t have the votes for a national increase now. Of course that could change with the next election. Even if a Republican congress won’t pass it, President Hillary can appoint enough proggie SCOTUS justices to get it declared a constitutional “right”.

          1. I don’t get how hillary polls so well.

            Is it ignorance, stupididy, methodological errors, mendacity by the pollsters?

            1. I don’t get it, either. She has a well-documented resume of incompetence, mendacity, corruption, and outright criminal activity, and is a horrible speaker and campaigner, yet her poll numbers don’t reflect it. I guess it really is just all about TEAM identity politics.

              1. It’s all about being a TEAM player. They (well some) really believe that every election is the most important ever and that electing a Republican would ruin everything. I don’t believe that anyone besides other bitchy old women actually like her.

            2. I don’t get how Hillary polls so well.

              Branding, and a sycophantic press corps can do amazing things.

              1. I don’t get how Hillary polls so well.

                Ask enough morons who they like for President…

            3. Remember that there are some people, like me, who will never answer poll questions. Ever. Our numbers are unknown and probably unknowable, but I’m hoping at least five percent.

              There is a well-documented affect of survey recipients wanting to please the surveyor.

          2. I’d like to think that the 35% unemployment rate in NY, CA, and Seattle would dissuade them, but you are probably correct

      2. And you guys will get to enjoy the burst of innovation in automated systems.

        1. All of the obliteration of low-skilled jobs with none of the legislative hassle.

          One of my coworkers worked in fast food for years, and is looking forward to the wage increases (which she thinks are moronic for the skill/effort involved in working in fast food) purely because she can’t handle how stupid the workers are.

          “Look, I ordered in English and you seemed confused, so I repeated my order in Spanish, which is clearly the only language you’re fluent in…and you STILL fucked up my order.”

          If automation doesn’t happen soon, I fear she will murder a Carl’s Jr. employee.

          1. Tell her to try Carlos Jr. next time.

            1. Carlito’s?

          2. you STILL fucked up my order

            Most of the fast-food workers in NYC speak English natively and they still fuck up. It’s not a language thing.

            1. Is NYC English *really* English, though?

            2. The kids at the Chik-fil-A next door are better than average at getting an order right, but I’ll be damned if I know how “spicy chicken breakfast burrito” becomes “sausage breakfast burrito”.

              Then again when I introduce myself I regularly get “Oh Jeffrey, so nice to meet you!” so I’m guessing people don’t listen for whole words most of the time.

            3. It’s not a language thing.

              True, it’s mostly an “I’m stupid and unmotivated” thing. Now pay me more!

            4. Here in Indiana it’s usually alright as long as you order a number (one of the promoted value meals), and you are polite. If you don’t, it’s a crapshoot (double meaning intended).

        2. enjoy the burst of innovation

          Lord have mercy with these euphemisms… April Fools’ Day is a holy day, people.

    2. Except without the boobies.

  10. Man, I increase a wage by $1 and I feel it. Last October one of my more expensive employees (around $19 /hr) returned after nearly two years (and was replaced by some at $15) and the impact was clear. And I can’t just pass it on to my customers so easily given the ridiculous nature of the business since the government stuck its fat thumb in it.

    Imagine on the level described in the article.

    But hey, that’s a problem for someone else, right? Out of sight out of mind and hope it all works out. We just legislate for the greater good. Now you make good on our demands.


    1. If you can’t pay a living wage, Rufus, you shouldn’t be in business.

      1. Yet they never define what a living wage is.

        1. Sure they do. Today, it’s $15 an hour.

          1. Sure; just pull a number out of your ass, make it the law of the land, and let God sort it out in the real world.

            But consider the bright side of this; just think of all the AI and robotics jobs that will be created; unfortunately for the unskilled minimum wage employees [working at Burger King or bagging groceries for Kroger was never intended to be a career, was it?] they will not be able to fill any of these. And the small businesses that employ[ed] them will not be able to afford the increase in cost nor afford the technology to replace them.

            This is going to max out on the suck meter, as any and all jobs that can be outsourced will be, and those that cannot will be automated. And then of course blame Wall Street, Republicans, and “the man” in general. Then elect more of the fucking self-serving Democrats who brought you this feel good and vote me me horse shit. If the market cannot decide a realistic wage floor, it will not be pretty.

          2. Except $15 is NOT a living wage in any large, coastal city. It’s just a sound-bite.

            1. What, are people making $15/hr dying in the streets?

              (I know what you mean, but when I hear someone say that they can’t live on some low wage, I often want to point out that they are in fact alive, fed and have a place to live.)

              1. When discussing the topic, My father mentioned a woman who’d called into a radio show to whine about how she “couldn’t live” on a mere $250,000 per year on the pennensula of Maryland.

                Given that by dad makes less than me and lives in that same area, I’m pretty sure she was an entitled bitch and completely full of shit.

            2. How can anyone be expected to live, and support three babies from three baby-daddies, and have the newest and best of everything, on less than $(insert the next higher number here) an hour?

        2. Everything they have already plus the deluxe data plan and opting for the guac upcharge with every meal.

        3. Because it’s impossible. A former employee – who begged us to hire her because she just immigrated from Iran and wanted to work in an English environment – asked for a raise (outside the month I offer them). I offered a minor increase because she did good work only to be turned down. When I explored to find out why it was discovered they bought a big house with a big mortgage with a pool. Apparently I was somehow to subsidize her lifestyle because of her decisions.

          She soon left and I let her go.

          1. Mmm, Iranian girls… *swoons*

            1. She was beautiful.

              1. I believe it. Them Persian girls are hot.

              2. A close friend in high school was Baha’i. I would attend services with him. He knew countless second-generation Iranians, almost all gorgeous.

                1. I heard they don’t suck cock because there mouth is for worshipping allah.

                  1. I’m sorry. That was a faux pas. their.

      2. I was told this once. I think at Huffington a few years back.

        Evil and ignorant don’t make for a good combo.

  11. I will not use a “self-service” checkout, even if it means I have to stop doing business with somebody. Those machines piss me off every fucking time I have had to deal with the pieces of shit.

    Same here. “I guess you don’t want my money. Okay, I’ll take it across the street.”

  12. Robot unemployment rate reaches all-time low within a year.

    1. “Look at how much technological innovation and capital investment California spurred!”

      /progs in two years

      1. And it was the Great and Holy Government that set it all in motion!

        1. At some point I fully expect all jobs will have been eliminated, all work will be done by robots, and a labyrinthine system of transfer payments will keep most of humanity in a squalid, meaningless lifestyle. It will all be very progressive.

          1. Labyrinthine? Spittoon, Daedalus ain’t got nothin’ on a government workflow.

  13. Paving the Road to Hell with good intentions.

    1. I would argue the “good intentions” part, since their intention is to buy votes with other people’s money. And the intention of the union agitators is get themselves automatic raises, since alot of union wages are tied to some multiple of the minimum wage.

    2. There are no good intentions here. There’s just cronyism combined with “we want to do this first/close to first so I can brag about it to the other politicians”.

      1. I mean the economic ignoramuses who support this, as in the popular support. Here in Maine there will be a couple competing voter initiatives on the next ballot to raise the minimum wage. One is to $12, the other to $15. I am positive that people with good intentions will support at least one of these, and then wonder what happened when small businesses across the state close their doors in droves.

    3. Good intentions = unemployed poor minorities?

      1. Good intentions = giving poor people a raise.

        Economic ignoramuses aren’t hindered by silly things like reality.

    4. My personal meme, attributed to Samuel Johnson, though the “paved with” part is added as there weren’t too many paved roads in his day.

    5. I really think these policies have a big possibility of backfiring on the pols in the long term.

      As much as they sell it as a pay raise, they’re also pricing people out of the workplace, and, essentially, out of the state.

      That’s one way to get rid of poor people.

      1. It would be nice if minimum wage hikes would bite these politicians in the ass, but I don’t think it’s likely. It’s just too easy for them to pass the blame onto “evil, greedy, capitalist business owners who don’t want to share their wealth with the workers”. Also, when states raise their minimum wage, they usually phase it in over the period of ten years or so; this makes it difficult to pull up statistics that show the job loss and stunted economic growth since these things will be spread out and hidden among tons of other variables. Finally, most of the bad effects of minimum wage laws are of the unseen variety that our pal Bastiat has described, so the average person will have no understanding of them anyway.

  14. Progressives i have found are really all about making themselves feel good. Being a progressive is a social status thing. Especially giving the condescending argument where “if you can’t meet my arbitrarily defined min wage, then you don’t deserve to be in business”

    1. That cop looks like the stereotype of a dead-eyed, low-IQ, violent sociopath.

      1. And his actions support that appearance.

      2. That cop looks like he has an extra chromosome or 3.

      3. That Any cop looks like the stereotype of a dead-eyed, low-IQ, violent sociopath.


    2. I was really hoping that was the actual headline

    3. Meanwhile, other activists are furious that he isn’t being paid a living wage.

  15. And what happened to $10.10, assholes? Jumping up to $15 an hour, even over a few years, is pretty much the economist’s reductio ad absurdum, not too different from the “why not $50/hr?” retort.

    1. The worst part is, they won’t learn from this fuckup.

      1. Nope. If anything they’ll react to the unintended consequences with even more disastrous pieces of legislation, while the rest of the states follow suit.

        Something about going to Hell in a bucket.

        1. ‘Well we tried everything. Capitalism is at fault. When are we gonna kill it?’

          That’s more likely.

          1. Feel the BERN!

  16. “We know, from studies conducted in places where small incremental rises in a statutory minimum lower than the prevailing market rate had no significant effect, that increasing the minimum wage by fifty per cent or more will not cost jobs.”


  17. Once again California legislature passes yet another Texas full-employment act.

    1. Of course they will just have to impose their policies on Texas for their own good!

  18. Hey, look at the bright side of this. Consider all of the opportunities and jobs that will be created when human employees are replaced with AI and robotics.

    Of course there won’t be anyone to buy the fast food or go to Wally Mart for their sub standard ground hamburger special. But a natural consequence of overpaid unskilled workers will be….less workers, and especially the small businesses that employ them [and cannot afford the technology to replace them].

    1. a natural consequence of overpaid unskilled workers will be….less workers

      How is that different that the natural consequences of overpaid skilled workers?

      1. There are a fuckton more unskilled workers.

        1. More unskilled workers in total or more overpaid unskilled workers?

          1. In total, I haven’t got numbers to tell about the overpaid rates.

            1. Do you have a cite for that? I mean you could be right, but to be honest that claim doesn’t have a lot of face validity to me. As of 3 years ago, U.S. labor force consisted of 159,144,632, with a mean secondary school graduation rate of 81 percent, are you telling me that the majority of that almost 160 million are only qualified for jobs that require no specific education or experience in an economy of which 77.6% is service industry jobs? (CIA World Factbook, 2015). Much less this Foreign Policy article that claims there is an unskilled labor shortage in America based on population alone, before even looking at educational attainment.

              Again, the numbers may surprise me, but right now, I’m not seeing it.

              1. We may be having a disagreement on the definition of skilled.

                I’m afraid mine is terribly subjective and amounts to “A job that I couldn’t do.”

                If ‘secondary school graduation’ means ‘high school diploma’, I wouldn’t call that a skilled laborer.

                Also, how does the ‘service industry’ break down between people like the archtypical burger flippers and the hydrological engineering consultants?

                1. I am going by the general definition from economics for unskilled labor being a menial job that anyone can do if you just handed them a broom or hammer and pointed at what needed to be done; whereas, skilled labor requires formalized training to acquire specialized skills that often take years of study to develop.

                  1. Also, how does the ‘service industry’ break down between people like the archtypical burger flippers and the hydrological engineering consultants?

                    I don’t feel like compiling a full report right now, but if you want to play around with the data you can visit the Census’s site. But as just a quick sampling, the total number of workers in “Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services” is 1,021,271; whereas, for “Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food” it’s 2,709,580. But you’re looking at a very thin slice of the industry, if we expand out to “Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services” as a whole, which includes Lawyers, Accountants, Architects, etc. you have 8,203,735.

          2. The effect will be that anyone who can be replaced with automation will be [this will most certainly be true of the big box entities], and if not then look for more outsourcing. Unless of course this comes with laws and penalties against doing that, in which case you will not be able to afford a fucking hamburger.

            1. if not then look for more outsourcing

              That was my point about the lack of difference between skilled and unskilled for consequences. Unless I’m in defense, why would I have Johnny Engineer design the dongle for my turboencabulator when with internet telephony, file-hosting on the cloud, etc. Gong Chenshi can do it for 20,000 dollars a year less? Much less the fact that Gong would live just 20 minutes down the road from the plant that is going to fabricate it anyway. Hell, why would I continue to have my headquarters here when I could relocate to Singapore?

              1. Heck, why are you needed when signapore has everything already?

                1. Heck, why are you needed when signapore has everything already?

                  As the most business-friendly country in the world, they’re more than happy to have entrepreneurs, like hypothetical me, spend my money in their economy.

              2. Creative destruction, on steroids.

  19. Is this an April Fools joke? I mean, who would actually believe in the minimum wage?

  20. Instead of setting the price of labor, wouldn’t it be easier to just set the price of things people need to buy. Set a cap on the price of food items, or cars or houses. Then everyone benefits

    1. This may make less economic sense than a $15/hour minimum wage.

    2. You are fucking kidding, right? Unless of course you particularly enjoy bread lines and rationed gasoline.

      But again, think of all the black market opportunities this will create, Come to think of it, I’ve always been drawn to the rascally and derring do image of a smuggler. It could make me a chick magnet.

      1. Just get yourself a black jacket, a wookie and a fast ride and you’ll be all set. The ride doesn’t have to look good or even be reliable – just make sure she’s got it where it counts.

        1. Yes, and we are quite familiar with that side of paradise.

      1. No, I’m seriously going with the smuggler thing; I will stealthily ply my skiff out of Smugglers Cove, bring panty hose and other niceties to all the desirable ladies, and be their dark and shady man just like in the movies with Bogart and Bacall. This will be my fantasy for most of the week end.

        1. I was talking about Mainer’s ridiculous price fixing idea.

          1. And I am responding to his ridiculous price fixing idea. That and its the end of the week and I am brain depleted and beginning to hallucinate.

            I wish you and your Southern love the best, regardless. And I hope at least one of you is an engineer with AI skills.

    3. Mainer2 is a regular here. Of course he’s fucking with you people. YEAH I SAID YOU PEOPLE

      1. Well it got me off on the whole smuggler fantasy, complete with black jacket and a metaphorical “she” who “has it where it counts.”

      2. Apparently not regular enough. I really didn’t think a sarc tag was necessary for YOU PEOPLE.

        1. I should also mention that I was around for Nixon’s wage and price controls.
          Feel the irony.

    4. Why not cap the number of different kinds of deodorant while we’re at it?

  21. “The state of California has billions and billions of unfunded pension liabilities (representing the amount of money taxpayers have to pay when pension funds don’t perform as well as promised).”

    This is incorrect. Unfunded liabilities are the amounts that taxpayers will have to pay if the pension funds DO perform as promised.

  22. “If we choke the golden goose, it will lay more eggs.”

    1. These masturbation metaphors are getting pretty on-the-nose

      1. These masturbation metaphors are getting pretty on-the-nose

        If the nose is involved, you might be doing it wrong.

        Or right…very, very, right…

  23. Wow, these government employees are getting paid more than me. It makes me appreciate working for low rates in a career that has a realistic future.

  24. I live in Arizona. I’m guessing it’s about to get crowded here again.

  25. $15/hr wage destroys low skilled jobs.

    Destruction without that messy creative part.

    I like it.

  26. I think this is great. It’s a boon to robotics and automation.

    1. I think California and New York are just trying to curry favor with the robot community, get special treatment once humanity is subjugated.

  27. How do illegals survive making under $15 an hour?

    1. I would guess, for starters, it helps when you are able to actually keep all of the money you make.

  28. And then those fuckwit politicians will run ads boasting that “I gave workers a raise!!!” And fuckwit “progressive” voters will believe them.

    1. The are giving those workers a raise the same way Obama saved us all money by mandating 54.5 mpg for our vehicles. Laws are magic.

  29. On the other side of the country, New York has decided to follow in California’s footsteps, though a little more carefully. A “deal” with legislative leaders (and not anybody who actually has to pay for the costs) will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a timeline that shifts depending on location and will be subject to an impact review once it hits $12.50 an hour. The plan also includes 12 paid weeks of paid family leave, an entitlement that Peter Suderman explains here actually has negative impacts on women in the workplace.

    12 weeks of paid leave? Per year? So basically everyone will have the work schedule of teachers? Yeah, can’t see any possible downsides to that.

  30. Also, I really need to start pitching the idea of overnight robotic shelf-stockers. Some human lays out a 3-D map of the store and the shelves and end caps, and assigns a region of shelf space to each item by bar code. Robot trundles a case or pallet of product X to the right spot in the store, fills that amount of space with the right amount of product, then brings the rest back into the back of the store.

    1. When I worked at an auto parts plant, I visited the Honda factory in Marysville, OH for some special training (since we made parts for Honda). They had robots that would be restocking the line workers as they put the cars together; they’d just pick up an empty bin, take it to the child parts* storage area, fill it up, and take the full bin back. They had sensors to prevent them from bumping into people; you could walk right in front of them and they’d give you the right of way. Pretty cool stuff. I could see them replacing grocery store stockers very easily.

      * In case there was going to be any talk of masturbation euphemisms, I thought it prudent to mention that in manufacturing, “child part” is the actual term for parts that are to be later assembled into another component.

  31. I went through some careful cost-of-living calculations when electing to set up my young career in a smaller Midwestern town instead of a big coastal city.

    I look forward to that being shit all over in a few short years by the morons currently demanding that Fresno fast food workers deserve to be paid exactly like San Fransisco fast food workers because FAIR IS FAIR.

  32. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

    go to tech tab for work detail,,,,,

  33. If it’s such a good idea why are they phasing it in over six years? Why not make immediate raise it to $15? I think because then it will make the job losses it causes obvious. By spacing it out they can say hey there’s no proof that the minimum wage hike caused the reduction in employment we are seeing blah blah blah.

  34. California Passes $15 Minimum Wage; New York to Follow

    Now Kalifornia can experience more layoffs, unemployment and even more businesses leaving the state.
    Kalifornia becomes the new Detroit.
    Won’t life be wonderful in the Golden State?
    Just look how wonderful Michigan is.

  35. the jokes on them, Carls JR is pulling out, and they are working on a process where a customer comes in and orders on a kiosk type atm and pays with a card, goes to a window and pick up their order without ever seeing an employee,

  36. my friend’s mom makes $73 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $18731 just working on the laptop for a few hours…..

    Open This LinkFor More InFormation..


  37. Fucking idiots. I’ll laugh my ass off when this blows up in their control freak, nut case faces. All the idiots who go “DUH derp derp I am getting 15 bucks an hour to flip burgers, duh duh derp derp” will soon see their hours cut or they will be given the pink slip. Assholes deserve if for being retards, there is no excuse to not know simple, common sense economics. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out unemployment will rise, fuck California anyways, they deserve it. I used to live there when people were half way sane, I left because they went full derp retard. Yeah fuck them.

  38. 15 USD in New York? … Go forward.

  39. (1/2)


    I think that in the next decade or so, we will see “progressives” proposing to take control of all hiring decisions by private businesses.

    Think about it: most of their Utopian economic policies fail because business owners respond to incentives when choosing who to hire. In response to a minimum wage law, employers will only hire those who can produce $15 per hour of value. In response to strict anti-discrimination statutes, employers will sidestep the legal minefield of discrimination litigation by not hiring minorities in the first place. In response to mandatory maternity leave, employers will lean towards men in the hiring process.

    To people who understand human nature and economics, these situations illustrate why these laws are bad ideas. But to a “progressive” who believes that central planning is the only way to accomplish anything, it’s an excuse for even more laws. From the “progressive” point of view, the rational conclusion is to have the federal government control all hiring. I can hear them now: “We will never have equality as long as greedy capitalists are allowed to discriminate based on education levels and socio-economic status! A job is a human right!!”

    1. (2/2)

      I envision this as some sort of national temp service: job applicants would register with some federal bureau, and employers in need of workers would likewise apply to this agency. An army of bureaucrats would match up workers and employers to ensure the appropriate mix of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

      It sounds crazy, but not if you accept the premise that “equality” is the ultimate end of all activity and that giving the government control of something is the same as giving “the people” control of it.

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