Saturday, March 26, 2016

Higher Minimums

The legislature reaches an agreement with labor unions and the guv.

Lawmakers and labor unions have struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15, averting a costly political campaign this fall and possibly putting California at the forefront of a national movement.

The deal was confirmed Saturday afternoon by sources close to the negotiations who would speak only on condition of anonymity until Gov. Jerry Brown makes a formal announcement as early as Monday. ...

The negotiated deal would boost California's statewide minimum wage from $10 an hour to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017, with a 50-cent increase in 2018 and then $1-per-year increases through 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply, delaying their workers receiving a $15 hourly wage until 2023. ...

In January, Brown warned of a $4-billion-a-year increase in state budget expenses if public-sector care workers — who are paid the minimum wage — were to receive $15 an hour. The gradual ramping up of wages and benefits in the new agreement is more aligned with Brown's larger budget philosophy. ...

The Movers and Shakers, of course, generally caution that it's better to let "market forces" prevail in where minimum wages are.

And I understand that point of view, the Movers and Shakers are big fans of the Magic of the Market.

Except during that unfortunate meltdown in late 2008. Then, with Wall Street circling the drain and lots of banks and investment firms close to receivership, market forces weren't such a swift idea. The Movers and Shakers were just fine with interference in the Marketplace then, because it was their fannies on the line and not, you know, the riffraff.

So, on balance, I think a wage hike for those struggling to make ends meet is a fine idea.


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