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California Gov. Signs Minimum Wage Hike: Admits It “Doesn’t Make Economic Sense” As Locals Flee For Texas

from Zero Hedge:

As of midnight, both California and New York have signed the new $15 minimum wage into law. The irony of the situation, which will most certainly go under reported, is that even California’s Governor Brown knows that it’s not the right decision to make economically. Regarding the actual economic impact, California’s Governor Brown was quoted as saying that  economically, minimum wages may not make sense.”

As we discussed previously states such as California are saying to hell with economics in their efforts to appease their voting base. Yesterday, both New York and California signed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. New York will phase in the $6 an hour increase over three years, and California will phase in their $5 an hour increase over the next six years.

The irony of the situation, which will most certainly go under reported, is that even California’s Governor Brown knows that it’s not the right decision to make economically. Regarding the actual economic impact, California’s Governor Brown was quoted as saying that “economically, minimum wages may not make sense.”

This is clear.

As we noted before, it is even clear to the locals businesses owners like the Marmalade Café which has seven locations. “First, you have to raise prices, otherwise you’ll be out of business,” owner Selwyn Yosslowitz told the Times. So higher prices for diners. That’s “first.” We imagine you can guess what’s “second.” “We will try to re-engineer the labor force,” Yosslowitz said. “Maybe try to reduce the number of bus boys and ask servers to bus tables.” In other words: “Maybe” we’ll fire some folks and the people who keep their jobs will have to be more efficient. 

Yosslowitz also worries about the dynamic we’ve discussed over the course of documenting Wal-Mart’s experience with wage hikes: namely that you have to preserve the wage hierarchy. You can’t hike wages for the lowest paid workers and then expect those further up the pay ladder to be satisfied with what they made before. “The other big worry [is] that employees already making $15 an hour will demand a raise as well”, Yosslowitz said. “It’s a chain reaction.”

Indeed, the problems with haphazard wage hikes are now readily apparent even to those who stand to benefit the most from the new legislation. Take Miguel Sanchez of Highland Park who works two jobs making tortillas. “It’s good for workers, but I imagine this is not going to be good news for employers and small businesses,” he says. “Will the cost of things go up?” he asks. “Are employers going to cut back hours because they can’t afford it? I worry.”

So even tortilla makers get it, but like Wal-Mart, “some folks” will need to actually see the layoffs before they’ll concede that you can’t cheat economic truisms and that’s really a shame for the people who will lose their jobs in the meantime.

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