$15 Hammer

I work for a 48-store specialty retailer, with 45 of our stores located in California.

To say that the past year or so has been difficult is an understatement. Management has squeezed labor to the point that we are now running a 38,000-square-foot storefront with two shifts of 4-6 people per shift. With one manager, and one to one and half cashiers, this leaves 3-4 staff members to provide customer service throughout the balance of the operation.

Around one year ago, the company purged about half of its full-time employees, as its expenses outweighed their value. (Thank you, ObamaCare)

We have instituted a scheduling system that imposes labor (read: cost) efficiencies, down to the Nth degree.

Today, the $15 minimum wage hammer hit another half of our already depleted full-time staff. You see, full-time employees require Insurance and a lunch break. The mandatory 30-minute lunch break impedes the scheduling system’s ability to maximize Labor efficiency.

I am angry and saddened. We lost good people today. Young people mostly, but some older (higher wages, you see). Some with families, or single parents raising a child. These are friends that I’d spend much of my week with. Pulling together to provide customer service, replenish inventory, set displays, and handle the demands of retail.

I am not angry with my employer so much, although I think they haven’t completely thought through the impact on top-line sales at the expense of bottom-line expenses.

I am angry at the continued (seeming) acceptance of the new normal of Obamanomics. The economy sucks! It has for some time. The unemployment rate is a sham.

Obamanomics has produced perverse incentives which are accelerating decline and dependency. Where an employee today had a paycheck and insurance, tomorrow, they’ll have unemployment and ObamaCare.

Any doubt that they’ll not think long and hard about Bernie Sanders and/or Hillary Clinton, who have promised to keep the gravy-train rollin’?

Have we accepted the new normal as the status quo? Have we traded freedom and opportunity, for the comforting embrace of the state?

There is open talk in America about socialism, with both Democrat candidates espousing either openly or as dog-whistle, the virtues of a system that has seen nothing but destruction.

We need to wake Americans, mostly younger Americans from their stupor. America is better than our European and Latin American brethren. We were founded by revolution and built by capitalism.

I refuse to accept the premise that a bureaucrat in a far-off land (DC, Sacramento) knows how to better manage the economy than the entrepreneur, the businessman, and even the average Joe or Jane, operating a small business from their kitchen, or out of the back of a truck.

We need to stand and fight! If you’re an employer in California, or anyplace that has decided, or is deciding, to arbitrarily raise the minimum wage, send your governor/mayor a letter. If they don’t respond -- move.

We get what we tolerate. Tolerate the new normal if you will. I will fight tooth and nail, to restore the hope that was once the greatest nation on Earth.

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