March 8, 2016
Last week Oregon Governor Kate Brown gleefully signed into law a progressive statewide minimum wage increase. It will be phased in over the next six years, starting this July. “I’m proud to sign into law my top priority of the 2016 Legislative session — raising the minimum wage,” Brown said in a statement. She said the new law “is a path forward – so working families can catch up, and businesses have time to plan for the increase.” Plan to close down or lay off half their staff maybe.
The current Oregon minimum wage is $9.25/hour. I say progressive because the area of the state will determine the base “living wage.” If one works in rural Oregon the wage will increase to $12.50/hr. – small cities and towns, $13.50 and large cities like Portland, the hourly minimum wage will top out at $14.75.
But as is being reported, some are still not satisfied. And why would they be? We should know by now that the far left can and will never be placated. No matter how much wealth government redistributes, it will never be enough.
A left wing advocacy group, “Oregonians for 15,” is unsatisfied with both the amount and phase-in time. They want $15/hr. in three years. They are threatening a State ballot initiative this November if they don’t get what they want.
Justin Norton-Kertson is the groups leader and says the Governor’s measure is “too low and it’s too slow. It’s not insignificant. It’s definitely a victory in its own right but, you know, it’s not what we’ve been fighting for … $15 an hour is really the bare minimum that a family needs without relying on government assistance.” So $14.75 just won’t do? It’s $15 or bust?
Well, if that’s the case, why not make it $20/hr. or $30 or $50? The fact is that the $15/hr. figure is arbitrary. Someone just picked a number and everyone ran with it. It’s low enough as to not look too ridiculous, but high enough to appear to be sticking it to “the man.”
And what will happen when the $15 goal is finally achieved? Will Justin and his gang of “Oregonians for 15” then disband? Don’t be silly. They will just shift their attention to some other perceived malfeasance.
Still, the working poor in Oregon must be happy about it – so happy they will soon be laughing all the way to unemployment line. This is what will occur in Portland and elsewhere in Oregon because it’s happening everywhere the minimum wage has been jacked up.
California has recently seen a slight net increase in jobs, except in Los Angeles, where a citywide $15.37/hr minimum wage was instituted for companies with at least 300 employees. L.A. is losing jobs, which might explain the net increase outside L.A.
“Chicago, which passed a $10 minimum wage last year, and San Francisco, which upped its minimum wage to $12.25, are witnessing five-year lows for employment in economic sectors like leisure and hospitality — areas with a high number of minimum wage workers.”
This will continue to happen all over the country as more cities and states buckle to the left’s cries for a “living wage.” And really, it doesn’t seem to matter what the consequences are. Even those who agree that a hike in the minimum wage will cost jobs somehow legitimize it as the price that must be paid for progress. Oh, not by academic and think tank experts, but by the working poor, being once again used as pawns in the progressive game of redistribution.
Leftist troll Robert Reich even admitted that dramatic minimum wage hikes might risk destroying large numbers of jobs, but “that is a sacrifice worth making so that all workers can be safely out of poverty without government assistance.”
These people are insane. Do they even listen to themselves? How are “all workers” going to benefit when some are now not working at all because of these policies? I’ll bet the unemployed would say they’d rather have a job making less than no job.
Still, regardless of the real world consequences, the left will continue to push for ever higher minimum wages. It’s a feel good policy that sounds compassionate. Despite our bemusement and all evidence against it, the argument for mandated wage hikes works on a whole lot of people.
The reason is simple. Workers making minimum wage make up less than 4% of the overall workforce (most are school-age kids), therefore the overwhelming majority of working Americans will never be personally affected by a job loss due to a mandated wage increase. Until they are, the left will continue to push for ever higher mandates.