Business Review Board / March 31, 2016

CA’s Minimum Wage Hike Will Harm the Poor

The very people bleeding hearts claim they’re trying to help.

Thanks to lobbying from unions and pressure from the Golden State’s leftist lawmakers, California will raise its minimum wage requirements until it hits $15-an-hour by 2022. The proponents of the policy argue that the workers at the low end of the pay scale deserve higher wages — a way to make a career of flipping burgers. After all, it’s the moral thing to do, right?

Not so fast. The Washington Examiner’s Jason Russell argues that California raising its minimum wage to double that of the federal level is the most immoral thing the state could do. “Consider three methods of reducing poverty: giving to charity, increasing taxes for welfare programs and hiking the minimum wage,” Russell wrote, “Of the three, the minimum wage hike is the only one that primarily involves effectively making someone else pay more.”

Free-market think tank American Action Forum predicts a $15 minimum wage will destroy 700,000 jobs in California. Already, the minimum wage experiment has yielded bitter economic fruit for other regions that implemented the policy. Seattle, which is on its way to a $15 minimum wage, lost 1,300 restaurant jobs from January to June 2015.

Businesses ordered by the government to pay more for employees become choosier in hiring help and slower to do so in general. The person who takes the order at a fast food joint? An automated ordering system will pay for itself, and take no sick days. The first people to be affected by raising the minimum wage are always workers with low skills, youth and racial minorities — the very people California’s bleeding heart “progressives” claim they’re trying to help. There’s no morality in that.

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