California’s $15 Min. Wage Experiment

It’s very interesting that Gov. Brown made a deal to increase the minimum wage over 6 years, when a similar but more abrupt plan was going to be on the ballot in November.

This is supposed to be some experiment in raising the minimum wage on a grand scale, but it’s not like we haven’t had states do this right next to states that didn’t and the naysayers who thought the sky would fall have no evidence to back up their nightmare scenarios. The evidence is already quite in, a minimum wage, a living wage, more money is an unqualified good thing for the recipients and the economy.

  1. The present minimum wage fosters a need for the safety net for many people on it. So we taxpayers are subsidizing those companies that refuse to pay more. The lower prices they give us (for stuff made in other countries) is offset by our higher taxes.
  2. More money circulating in the economy is double plus good, and it circulates much faster when it’s in the hands of people who spend nearly 100% of their income on essentials all the time. A lot of people going out shopping and spending another $50 a week is a lot better than a handful of people buying Maseratis or beach houses.

However, the most interesting factor here is that yes, there is a sense of the universal not making a whole lot of sense when a $15 an hour minimum wage is still not a living wage in Los Angeles or San Francisco, but it’s pretty generous in places like Fresno.

I’m having trouble embedding the chart from the article, but look at how the percentage a $15 wage in relation to the median wage varies from place to place. 40% of the median wage in San Jose, but 74% of it in Fresno. That’s a big disparity.

Why can’t the minimum wage be linked to a percentage of the median wage, period?  Math too hard?




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