Told You So

Richard Berman,

As I recently noted, the “expert economists” who support a $15 minimum wage aren’t really experts. Some aren’t even economists.

It makes California’s decision to adopt a $15 minimum wage floor all the more scary. The wage hike not only threatens the jobs of the state’s entry-level employees, but also does so on faulty logic—if any at all.

Don’t just take my word for it. Ask the liberal economists whose concerns about a $15 minimum wage were recently documented in Vox of all places.

Alan Krueger, who co-authored Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage (the formative text on wage-hiking), balked at such a drastic jump:

“A $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences,” wrote Alan Krueger, who has served as an economic adviser in the Obama administration, last October. Krueger supports raising the national minimum to $12 per hour, and he acknowledged that some cities and states might be able to absorb a $15-per-hour minimum wage. But he argued that a $15 minimum is “beyond international experience, and could well be counterproductive.”

And the kicker quote came from Arindrajit Dube, who has rejected the economic principle that higher labor costs result in fewer jobs (i.e. Economics 101):

“If you’re risk-averse, this would not be the scale at which to try things.”

So we should definitely stop at $15, right? Well, not so fast. Wage activists in Oakland have now introduced the “$20 in 2020” campaign, exploiting California’s Fight for $15 to keep moving the goalposts. In their words, “It’s time for $15/hr to become the floor demand of those who seek a livable wage, not a future ceiling. It’s time to push the boundaries of what is thinkable—and hence doable—further.”

So you get the next step. As I have said, once the “fight for $15” was over they would be moving on to the step and within 10 years would be calling $15 and hour a slave wage. Well…

$20 is the new $15! $20 in 2020!

These are not just good catchphrases; they’ve become a local ballot initiative.

The doubters thought powerful business interests would derail the highest minimum wage in the country from passing by voter initiative in Oakland, CA in 2014. They were wrong. A $12.25(1) measure passed overwhelmingly with more than 80% in favor.

The doubters thought $15/hr was a pipe dream. They were wrong. Cities like Seattle, WA, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Emeryville, CA made it a future reality. And this coming November the entire of State of California will vote for $15/hr by 2021 – right now it seems very likely to pass.

But in cities with housing crises, where median rent for a one bedroom apartment would consume every bit of a $12.25/hr wage, and 80% of a $15/hr wage, a promise of $15/hr some years down the road is not enough.

Average Rents by State

Darker colors indicate higher average rents. This map is based on prices gathered within the last 30 days. ( The Darker the color the higher the rest.

NOTICE THAT THE TWO of The 3 HIGHEST STATES, California & New York are run into the ground by Liberals and it’s here were this all starts. With the People’s Republic of Taxsachusetts in 3rd. Not in Montana…The Liberals have, yet again, done it to themselves and want you to pay for it.

Map of rents in the United States

To put it another way, in the immortal words of MeatLoaf

I never knew so many bad times
Could follow me so mercilessly
It’s almost surreal
All the pain that I feel
The future ain’t what it used to be

Thanks largely to Liberals, by the way… 🙂

The Fight for $15 is alliterative, alluring and awesome. But it has had the effect of creating the perception that a $15/hr min wage is a ceiling: thus far and no more.

It’s time to do away with that perception. And what better place to begin changing a meme than the city which passed this country’s highest minimum wage in a grassroots campaign with no support from its elected officials? (

But facts be darned, wage activists will keep asking for more. The question isn’t, “When will they stop?” It’s “How do we stop them?”



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