California reaches deal for $15 an hour minimum wage

Labor bosses and Democrat pols have reached a deal that will throw striving poor people out of work, and make it difficult for low-skilled people to enter the work force, and no doubt they are already congratulating themselves on their compassion. A triumph for the Democratic Party's alliance of stupidity and venality. The Associated Press reports:

California legislators and labor unions have reached an agreement that will take the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour.

Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, said Saturday that a deal has been reached. The proposal would go before the Legislature as part of his minimum-wage bill that stalled last year. Leno said the deal would avoid taking the issue to the ballot. One union-backed initiative has already qualified for California’s November ballot and a second, competing measure is also trying to qualify.

Assuming the deal goes through – and why wouldn’t it, since California is a one-party-dominated state government? – California will have the highest state minimum wage in the union, after the contemplated increases phase in. The strongest impact will be on rural areas, where agricultural labor will be increasingly mechanized out of jobs, and on service industries like fast food restaurants, which will also automate and in some cases close down.

Seattle’s experience with a $15 an hour minimum wage proves the case that it is a job destroyer. Following implementation of it:

… while the city of Seattle experienced a sharp drop in employment of more than 11,000 jobs between April and December last year (light blue line, BLS data available here), employment in Seattle’s neighboring suburbs outside the city limits (the Seattle MSA jobs less Seattle city jobs) increased over that period by nearly 57,000 jobs and reached a new record high in November 2015 before falling slightly in December.

That will happen across state lines as well. Manufacturing, agricultural processing, and other jobs will flee to Arizona, Nevada, and more distant states.

The labor bosses support this move because many contracts are pegged to the minimum wage, specifying X dollars more than the minimum wage. But for politicians who claim to care about poor people, the motives are more complex. Some are simply stupid, unable to reason two or three logical steps ahead, or completely ignorant of or ideologically opposed to the notion of price elasticity of labor, and relying on the gospel of intentions.  But I suspect for many others, all that counts is the labor union political donations and organizational support.

California already has the highest poverty rate in the nation, at 23.5%. This deal will ensure that it keeps that crown, and will take away opportunities for people to escape poverty through hard work.