Minimum wage truth and consequences: Who’s listening?

Minimum wage truth and consequences: Who’s listening?


california-unemployment-lineLet’s hope voters become more engaged than some elected officials in the minimum-wage debate.

Voters will be subjected to counterarguments in the minimum-wage debate. Raising the minimum wage undoubtedly will make things better for some minimum-wage workers – more to spend, raising some out of poverty. At the same time, it likely will cost some minimum-wage workers their jobs and raise costs for all consumers, including, of course, those minimum-wage workers who get a raise.

California cities are in the forefront of the debate:

  • San Francisco voters will consider raising the minimum wage from $10.74 an hour to $15 by 2018.
  • Oakland voters will be asked to raise the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $12.25 by March 2015.
  • San Diego faces a referendum in two years over a minimum wage increase passed by the city council over the mayor’s veto.
  • In Los Angeles, the mayor is proposing a $13.25 minimum wage with future increases tied to inflation. The L.A. City Council couldn’t wait. They already passed a $15.37 minimum wage for hotel workers and some council members want to introduce a minimum wage increase to $15.25 for all city workers by 2019.

This year the Congressional Budget Office laid out the consequences of raising a federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. Most workers would receive higher pay, some would lose their jobs, and the share of low-wage workers who are employed would fall.


There is the additional concern of setting off some inflationary movement as costs go up, putting pressure to raise wages across the board.

Many businesses worry about continued government dictates to business. Small business in particular is worried how raising the minimum wage will affect their ability to hire new employees or even to stay in business.

The job loss threat should be considered real. When the Los Angeles City Council passed the minimum wage for hotel workers, economist Christopher Thornberg opined in the Los Angeles Times after studying the matter for the council that the results of his study “strongly suggest that such a steep increase in the minimum wage could result in a sharp decline in the number of jobs in the hotel industry.”

Didn’t look

More troubling was Thornberg’s assertion that the council didn’t bother to look at his findings. Thornberg wrote:

“But the City Council never seemed interested in really examining the potential economic consequences of the ordinance. We got our instructions about what questions to address just two weeks before the vote, and we were surprised to learn that the council intended to vote on the day after we turned in our final analysis, which suggests none of the members spent time looking at our findings.”

Further, Fernando Guerra, head of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount College, said of the message sent to the business community opposing the hotel minimum wage increase, “This decision seemed to say: ‘Not only are you going to lose, we’re not going to listen to you. You’re a non-factor.’”

Will those members of the business community who oppose the minimum wage increase have any better luck with the voters? History indicates voters tend to support minimum-wage increases.


Importantly, will the voters be willing to listen to arguments about the consequences of raising wages and balance that against any pluses that come with the government order?

A possible outcome of the minimum wage debate may produce a third way. Call it job-wage classification: for example, increasing pay for some minimum-wage jobs, but keeping a lower cap on other jobs for new workers so they can enter the job market.

Job-wage classification may occur because the one-size-fit model doesn’t satisfy all companies, especially small businesses. But be wary and concerned about such a move. Job-wage classification for the minimum wage is more micromanaging government interference with businesses.


Write a comment
  1. Queeg
    Queeg 14 October, 2014, 21:53

    I’m bringing my lunch in a Walmart plastic bag to work daily!

    Reply this comment
  2. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 14 October, 2014, 21:57

    Right now the bean counters say that 30% of the workers in Los Angeles are getting paid cash off the books! lol. And you know those people are getting public assistance! lol. Raise the minimum wage to $15/hr and watch that 30% figure go to 50% or higher! lol. How many roofers or dry wallers do you think work ‘on the books’ in California? Probably 20%. Hell, how could an honest contractor who pays his help a living wage and all the required labor related add-on’s compete against the 80% of contractors who pay ‘off the books’? It would be IMPOSSIBLE to submit a competitive bid for a job with the higher labor expenses!
    None of this will end well. We have turned into a 3rd world social banana republic. lol. Nobody plays by the rules anymore. So much for civilization. Wait until the next crash hits and the EBT cards don’t work at the stores! lol. That’s when all hell breaks loose!!! Annie grab your gun!!! lol. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 14 October, 2014, 23:51


    Will they come for Donkey and Neth?

    Reply this comment
  4. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 15 October, 2014, 08:45

    Queeg is not alone (raises hand).
    Letit is all over this reality as well.

    Are you two running for office? I’ll vote this time. 😉

    No more immigration of any kind for at least a decade. No more tax increases that are not audited every three months to ensure the taxes we already pay are being used accordingly. Hey, I have to pay an account to reconcile my stuff every three months, why isn’t there mandatory reconciling going on in Sacto?


    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 15 October, 2014, 11:02

      Bill – Sorry. I’m unelectable. I do not belong to either major party in the one-party system, nor would I sell my votes for bribes. Therefore, under the current system I would be like a fish out of water.

      However, if you want to write-in ‘LetitCollapse’ for governor or any other elected office of your choosing you have that right as an American citizen.

      Reply this comment
  5. SoCalSteve
    SoCalSteve 15 October, 2014, 10:28

    “No more immigration of any kind for at least a decade….” What’s next? Let’s rebuild the Statue of Liberty so that, instead of holding high her torch, Lady Liberty will be giving the rest of the world the finger. SMH

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 15 October, 2014, 11:12

      SoCalSteve, Lady Liberty never agreed to wave in millions and millions of unscreened foreign illegal indigents and all the problems they bring with them. If you want to learn about the history of immigration in America I suggest you fly to NYC and take a tour of Ellis Island. You will learn that America has always been SELECTIVE about who we accept as prospective citizens from foreign nations. Back then, foreigners didn’t sneak into the country illegally and then ask for citizenship after the commission of their crimes. And many foreigners were TURNED AWAY at Ellis Island because they did not meet our standards. Oh, and in 2014 America is a completely different nation than we were in the early 1900’s. We don’t have enough jobs for our own citizens with about 30 million Americans either unemployed or underemployed in a workforce of about 90 million. We can’t take care of our own people, let alone millions of illegal indigents that are scorned and unwanted by their own countries. So stop with the Lady Liberty BS, okay? It just makes you appear uneducated.

      Reply this comment

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