California now has a $15 minimum wage. While I don’t have the economics degrees to weigh in as an expert on this, I have been on the side of figuring out how many employees to hire (and when), and can’t imagine such a huge jump doing anything other than depress employment in California. If you forced my company to raise wages 10%, we’d probably be annoyed, but absorb it. If you raised them 50%, we immediately look at all kinds of ways to outsource work, trim expense, and hire less. This kind of jump has been unprecedented for a reason! Even liberals aren’t sure it’s a good idea.
The problems with the Fair Wage Act
This op-ed from the LA Times lays out a case from the academic left on why this is a bad idea. I feel like I’m missing something by proposing such an obvious solution, but why is minimum wage one-size-fits-all? The cost of living, job market, and industry profiles across the country (and in a huge state like California) are so different, there’s no way it makes sense to have the same minimum wage in San Francisco as it does in Merced. They’re not even remotely the same place! Ditto for Boston and Ames, Iowa. Is there a reason it’s not possible to peg minimum wage to cost of living? That way we ensure a minimum wage that allows working families to survive, but at a cost structure that’s in-line with the local market and allows business to be competitive.
Monsters of our own imagining
Islamic terrorism is not a significant threat to the West — unless we allow it to be. After the Brussels attacks last week, we renewed the conversations about surveillance, tracking people, profiling Muslims, and adding more security to public spaces. The fact is that none of these things are going to stop someone truly determined to commit an act of terrorism. The freer our state is, the less incentive people have to radicalize. We may still have attacks, but it’s better to live in a place where we don’t need to worry about having our phones broken into or our activities monitored, and accept the infinitesimal risk that terrorism presents.