The state of California is set to raise the state minimum wage. If the law goes as planned, it will be raised to $15 per hour by 2022.
A lot has been written about the minimum wage, so I don’t want to rehash all of the arguments against the minimum wage in detail here.
Minimum wage laws obviously increase unemployment, or at the very least distort the job market, if the minimum wage rate is above the market rate for certain jobs that would exist without minimum wage laws.
If the minimum wage were currently set at $1 per hour, it would have virtually no impact because almost nobody would accept a job for less than $1 per hour.
Actually, there are unpaid internships, but these only serve as an example of one reason why minimum wage laws are so destructive. Some people actually work jobs in order to gain experience and get their foot in the door.
There is also the reductio ad absurdum argument against the minimum wage. If a minimum wage of $15 per hour is so great, then why not set it at $100 per hour?
In addition, what is so magical about $15 per hour. Why not $14.99 per hour or $15.01 per hour? And if it is so important, why wait until 2022? Why not implement it immediately? Do the proponents actually admit there is a potential cost to raising the minimum wage?
Also, consider the personalized situations of families. Maybe there is a family where the father/ husband works full-time while the mother stays home with the kids. In order to make a little extra money, the mother/ wife works 15 hours per week (nights or weekends) to make a little extra. She may just want something quiet and mindless to get away from the kids and she is willing to make just $7 per hour.
Consider a college student, or a grad student. Maybe he could land a job for $20 per hour. But he decides to take a night shift job sitting at a desk for $7 per hour. He only has to help a few people during his entire shift. He uses all of the quiet time to study. This is the job that works well for him. He wouldn’t be able to work a job that left little time to study. So the $7 per hour wage is a good deal for him.
But that doesn’t matter to the proponents of a minimum wage. They either want this guy to be out of a job, or they don’t understand the impacts of their own laws. Maybe this guy will get lucky and get a bump in pay with the new minimum wage. Or maybe the company will decide to abandon the night shift and close during this time and hire fewer people.
The bottom line is that minimum wage laws make certain jobs illegal for certain people. If an employee and an employer agree to a certain job at a certain wage, then the employer will end up being fined and taken to court. If he refuses, then armed men will come and take him to prison. If he refuses, then he will be shot.
That is the nature of law. It is backed up by force. If it isn’t, then it really isn’t a law. Of course, most of the laws are arbitrary and use aggressive force (as opposed to defensive force). These are not laws of nature or common law.
So California law will now criminalize more jobs than it already has. It may or may not lead to higher unemployment in the future, but it probably will. The only thing that may help them get away with it is the Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air. If inflation is high enough over the next several years, it might make the effects of the new minimum wage obsolete.
Actually, it was the inflation of World War 2 that helped bring down the high unemployment rate (along with shipping off millions of young men). Sometimes one bad government policy can help lessen the effects of another bad government policy.
Still, California is a booming place right now, but I don’t really mean that in a good sense. A lot of the boom is artificial and unsustainable. San Francisco is perhaps the biggest real estate bubble in the United States right now.
If there is a major recession, California could be hit really hard. Then, all of a sudden, a high minimum wage rate could have a devastating impact. I don’t wish for hard times for people, but it would be nice to see all of the proponents of the minimum wage to eat some crow on this one and have to repeal it or scale it back.
I understand that a lot of people like the culture and lifestyle of California. There are also some beautiful places and things to see there. Also, many people have their roots there, along with family.
In those aspects, I understand the attraction of living there. But unless you are working for a Silicon Valley tech company or as a Hollywood star, I don’t see the appeal of having a career in California.
You will make less money living in most other places in the U.S., but your money will go so much further. In some cases, you can get a place to live for nearly one-tenth of the cost as a similar sized place in San Francisco. And even the other big cities in California are really expensive.
The leftists in California are taking one more step in criminalizing employment and making it harder to do business in the state. It will also make it harder for the residents, whether they know it or not.
My suggestion for someone living there is to find somewhere more affordable to live, and somewhere that is more business friendly. If you like warm weather, you can consider Texas or Florida.