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Mind you, they’re going to benefit from California’s minimum wage hike. The state will increase the minimum wage from its current $10/hour to $15/hour by 2022, which should be just in time for a Republican California governor to inherit this mess, and not incidentally curse Jerry Brown’s name and soul to an eternity of torment in the deepest pits of Perdition. That part’s not in the Hill piece: I’m extrapolating.
But, yeah, higher minimum wages cause higher unemployment. This is playing out in Seattle even as we speak; and when California institutes this, it’s going to play out statewide there, too. Look, I understand that the statement “The true minimum wage is zero” is kind of Cold Equation-ish. Unasked-for impositions of ruthless math into a political discussion often are. But this is how things go. If you make employers pay above the market rate, you distort the market. Employers – particularly small ones – do not have the profit margin that Leftist activists think that they do.
So if you raise costs artificially, employers will be pretty much forced to cut costs elsewhere. That means either raising prices, cutting hours, or very possibly both. Less economic activity, in other words – which cascades across the system, because when you drain energy from one part of the economic machine, the rest of the machine slows down a little in response. And then companies that can move, will move – and to somewhere where there’s a more favorable business climate. Which, in California’s case, is virtually every state to the east of it.
Again, my advising people to simply accepting this as a thing that happens is a kind of hard-nosed attitude to take. But it also really is a thing that happens. And you can’t change it by wishing hard enough.