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$15 Minimum
California Plays With Fire

In what amounts to a massive and unprecedented economics experiment on its least-skilled workers and its most vulnerable regions, California looks likely to cave to union pressure and enact the highest minimum wage of any state in the country. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Lawmakers and labor unions have struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15, averting a costly political campaign this fall and possibly putting California at the forefront of a national movement.

The deal was confirmed Saturday afternoon by sources close to the negotiations who would speak only on condition of anonymity until Gov. Jerry Brown makes a formal announcement as early as Monday.

The municipal governments in San Francisco and Los Angeles have already passed measures to increase their wage floors to $15 in the coming years. We think those measures are unwise; indeed, early results suggest they may have depressed job growth even without being fully implemented. But at least California’s major metropolitan areas (especially San Francisco) have pockets of vitality that can absorb the hike, as well as costs of living high enough that boosting low-end wages is arguably a more pressing priority than raising the employment rate.

The same cannot be said of places like Fresno, Merced, Tulare, and other depressed counties that have yet to recover from the devastation of the Great Recession. These are regions with sky-high unemployment and underemployment rates, very little new business investment, and some of the highest poverty rates in the country. As the UC Irvine economist David Neumark has pointed out, wages in some of these areas are so low that a $15 minimum would force employers to raise wages for a majority of their workers, likely accelerating the small business exodus to more prosperous parts of the Golden State, and the manufacturing exodus to more business-friendly states like Texas and Arizona, or to countries overseas. Meanwhile, the cost of living in rural California is so low that it’s not even clear why such a radical increase to the hourly wage floor is a priority.

Even the New York Times‘s labor reporter has cautioned that a $15 minimum has no precedent in the United States. High-cost cities like San Francisco and New York City are taking on some risk and probably forfeiting some jobs by wading into these waters. But for depressed rural counties, it could be much worse. Such measures will chip away at any reason businesses might have had for investing. It will also force a substantial portion of the remaining workers to resign themselves to permanent welfare status, as Silicon Valley gets rich making machines to replace them. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this measure is borderline suicidal.

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  • Beauceron

    California is a deep blue Democratic state.

    Democrats derive their power from urban centers. Minorities and a mixture of elitist and self-loathing whites form their core constituencies now.

    Which means rural communities are screwed, not just in California, but around the country.

    • Jesse

      Self-loathing whites?

      Who are they? Anyone who doesn’t come burn crosses with you and your toothless illiterate buddies?

      • Tom

        Anyone like this idiot:

        http://www.thehoya.com/i-was-mugged-and-i-understand-why/

        Now, do you have anything relevant to say?

        • Jesse

          Wow, a college newspaper….

          Are you being intentionally ironic when your “evidence” is a college newspaper and calling someone else an “idiot”? LOL

          Are you being intentionally ironic when your “evidence” is a college newspaper and then challenging “relevence”? LOL

          Go back to your cross burnings!

          • Dale Fayda

            Sigh… Truly, liberalism is a mental disorder.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-sachs-psyd/10-ways-white-liberals-pe_b_8068136.html

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-franquirivera-phd/white-liberal-guilt-ignor_b_7957268.html

            http://psychcentral.com/lib/white-privilege-heterosexual-privilege-and-liberal-guilt/

            https://www.quora.com/What-is-white-liberal-racism-Have-you-experienced-it

            http://thehumanist.com/commentary/want-to-help-end-systemic-racism-first-step-drop-the-white-guilt

            All from impeccably left-wing sources. I can put literally hundreds more similar articles on “white liberal guilt” next to these ones.

            Assuming that you’re a guilty white liberal yourself, I know that you’re are the weakest among all of us, physically, mentally and spiritually. Your kind have been and will continue to be physically victimized and verbally abused by non-white, non-guilty liberals, who openly despise you. No matter how much non-white hiney you lick, to them you will always be “whitey”, just like me. Expect that I’m armed, mobile and hostile and you are nothing but easy meat for anyone who wants to take a piece of your guilty white liberal hide. Enjoy!

          • Jesse

            awww… Isn’t it cute how the inbred hick decides to start flapping his toothless yap and try to denigrate anyone with more than a third grade education.

            I know that you are the dumbest of all of us, educationally, logically and spiritually. You kind have been and will continue to be “victimized” by all those edumicated people who your illiterate logic thinks is trouncing all over your stupid inbred toothless rights. But don’t worry you have a fake phallus to hide your natural smallness; that will keep you safe from the invented monsters of edumicated urban white people you have created because you are too stupid to understand basic reality.

            Go back to your cross burnings – illiterate inbred hick – and let people with more than a third grade education and who are smart enough sleep with someone other than their sister get things done in this world. Enjoy your sister because that’s all the tang you’re getting. Maybe one day you’ll even make enough money to get that ’79 Trans Am in front of your trailer off those cinder blocks and out onto the road.

          • Fat_Man
          • Tom

            Classy, Jesse. You and Dale deserve each other.

          • Dale Fayda

            “С волками жить, по волчьи выть”. Classy enough for you?

          • Tom

            10/10, would translate again.

          • Dale Fayda

            “To live with wolves, howl like a wolf.”

          • Tom

            I know. But thank you for translating for those unwilling to use Google.

          • Dale Fayda

            A word to the wise, babysitter Precious… The level of discourse on TAI is a few notches above what you’re used to on the Daily Koss or wherever you used to squat before. Your sub-literate and monotonous pabulum isn’t going to cut the mustard here. Obamabot Pajamaboys like you generally don’t last long here, but you’re welcome to give it a go. I and a few other regulars here will enjoys slapping you back into reality.

            You’re an unwitting anachronism, a thoughtless apologist for the collapsing Social – Democratic world order, a Lenin’s “useful idiot”, if you will. But I’m sure you’re prepared to play your part to the hilt, because your progressivist snarky hostility is all that defines you. You have no faith, no convictions, no morals, no ideals, no courage, not even a coherent set of goals – you can’t even spew invective with any degree of imagination. A sad, pathetic, self-loathing physical weakling and moral bankrupt. But, alas…

            “The left does not have an authentic culture. Its counter-culture culture is a machine of destruction, a clumsily slapped-together assemblage of tools for cracking open, destroying and dominating people. A collection of lies and excuses, smears and bad habits, laced over with cultural appropriation and the fetisihization of the minority ‘Other’ as its sole source of spirituality.

            It has no tradition. It has no heritage. It has no culture. It’s a virus, not an organism. It is utterly worthless and, like a virus, will not survive the destruction of its host.”

            Daniel Greenfield.

          • Jesse

            Really?

            Based on your previous rant, I don’t think an illiterate inbred sister-banging hick like yourself could raise to the level of discourse of a third grade classroom.

            But please keep quoting discredited Islamophobes. That’ll make you sound “high-faluting!”

          • Dale Fayda

            Your replies are getting progressively (no pun intended) weaker, reflecting your shallowness and superficiality. You’ve already started to repeat yourself, because you’re thoroughly unprepared to back up your point beyond a few played out cliches, largely because you’ve never had a point.

          • Jesse

            Excellent circular logic. I’m sure that plays well with the mullet crowd after a couple hits of meth.

          • Dale Fayda

            And there it is! You’ve run out of things to say. Faster than I expected, I must say. But then again, your white liberal self-loathing has calcified like ice over a pond, just since we’ve been communicating [sarc…] It is an intllectual disadvantage to hate oneself so unthinkingly, isn’t it, Jesse? I pity you a little, but not much.

          • Jesse

            I do enjoy how you haven’t offered one piece of evidence but then claim you’ve proven something.

            Calcified like ice over a pond? Well,on the plus side, noone can ever call your non sequitor gibberish similies trite…

          • Dale Fayda

            And now, having been verbally smacked in the chops, you’re weakly trying to appeal to logic, which is the classic example of a plea for mercy from a beaten opponent. Right on cue. As a mental midget liberal, you’re very predictable, easy to manipulate and to control in the course of an argument.

          • Jesse

            So you’re saying you still don’t have any evidence?

          • JR

            You are debating with someone whose comment thread has a phrase: God is worse than ISIS. in an unironic way. Which is to say: Go at it!!!!! May the spirit of Dan Greene (may he rest in peace wherever Jew-free world he inhibits) guide you.

          • Jesse

            What culture does your trailer park have?

            Do you think that 79 Trans Am on cinder blocks is “high art”?

          • Bob

            Enough.

          • Jesse

            Why didn’t you address that to the racists? Or do illiterate white people get special rights?

          • Bob

            It just seemed like you had completely descended to name calling.

          • Jesse

            Only responding to someone else who had already done so.

            But he’s an illiterate racist white guy, so he gets special privileges, right?

          • Tom

            If I actually burned crosses, I would. Since I don’t, I have to stick around and point out that A. going to college is not actually evidence of capacity to understand the world as it is; and B. that anyone who doesn’t understand the different meanings of the word “relevant” in different contexts ought not to be condescending.

          • Jesse

            So you are just too lazy to burn crosses? You’re just a interweb Klansman?

            While we’re on the subject, let’s discuss “context.” It appears you missed some context. I was clearly not only agreeing with your comment A. I was going was step further. The context of my joke meant I was saying: “being IN college is actually evidence that you don’t understand the world as it is.”

            But please go back to complaining about “context” and “relevance.”

          • Tom

            Neither, actually, if you bothered to read my comment history.
            As to your second and third paragraph, http://xkcd.com/169/ is an appropriate response.

    • f1b0nacc1

      In another thread, the discussion of how destructive urbanization can be to rural areas came up…how interesting (and sad) that a perfect example of this process popped up so quickly…

  • J K Brown

    California harks back to the 14th century England in setting wages. The difference being CA going for minimum wages and England maximum (by trade). But even in the Dark Ages, they quickly recognized that wages couldn’t be set by all encompassing law and devolved the authority to local justices of the peace.

    (1562) In the 5th of Elizabeth comes the last and greatest Statute of Laborers. This statute is a consolidation of all previous laws, and it begins by recognizing the principle that the fixing of wages is a mistake and all such laws are repealed so far as they relate to terms of hiring and wages.
    –Popular Law-making: A Study of the Origin, History, and Present Tendencies of Law-making by Statute, Frederic Jesup Stimson (1910)

    But the law wasn’t completely repealed until 1869 and the lesson wasn’t learned for long with disastrous experiments with minimum wage setting in New Zealand and Australia in the 1890s. No worries, the old and slow thrown out of work to starve in New Zealand were eventually given licenses to work for less than the legal minimum wage.

    And now we find the first statutory origin of that utterly fallacious principle — although alive to-day — that the state, in a free country, a legislature-governed country, has the right, when expedient, to fix the price of anything, wages or other commodities; fallacious, I say, except possibly as to the charges of corporations, which are given special privileges by the government; the principle, which prevailed throughout the Middle Ages, of fixing the prices of all things. In this case the price was on bread; but you find now for many centuries an attempt to fix the price of almost everything; and of labor, too, what wages a man should be paid. It lasted persistently for centuries and centuries, and it was only under the influence of modem political economy, Adam Smith and other quite modem writers, that the principle that it was possible to fix prices of commodities was utterly eradicated from the English mind. And you hardly got it out of England before it reappeared in the United States. It is not a new-fangled principle. You find the newspapers commonly talk about fixing prices by law as if it were something utterly unheard of and utterly new. It is not so. It is on the contrary as old as almost any legislation we have, and you can make no argument against it on that ground. (Stimson)

    One can surmise from the actions of the socialists in California and elsewhere, they and their policies are not modern, nor do they seem to be able to learn from history.

    • Andrew Allison

      Ah yes, “‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ (George Santayana)

    • Jesse

      14th Century wasn’t the Dark Ages…

      But please blather more about “history.” And your quotes from an unknown politician and romance novel writer from 20 years before the US started minimum wage.

  • Andrew Allison

    The employment prospects for illegal immigrants just improved dramatically!

    • f1b0nacc1

      And the gentry liberals now feel SO much better about themselves….

    • JR

      I was thinking the same thing but not just for illegal immigrants. Plenty of people in low wage sector will be willing to work cash of the books. They’ve been willing to do so since the beginning of time. The question, at least to me, is whether or not we should encourage more low-skilled labor in the shadow economy. ‘Cause we both know that minimum wage everywhere is $0.00, forever and always.

      • APR

        Anyway, they don’t enforce employment laws for illegals. Now we can have Americans working under the table too. Democrats!

  • Fat_Man

    Why so stingy? Why not $20? Heck with that. $30 or bust.

  • Corlyss

    Services to rural communities are more expensive than the same services to the same number of people concentrated in cities. This is one more nudge to force the intractable into the cities where the plantation can overwhelm their votes and neutralize their troublesome moral postures.

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