Los Angeles: union hypocrisy on parade #RaiseTheWage

May 27, 2015
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Union economics adviser at work

You have to love the moxie of these racketeers: demand a economically nonsensical minimum wage, $15 per hour, and then, when the city is about to implement it, demand an exception for union members because business owners have threatened to do the logical thing: cut jobs.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

Let’s review a basic lesson in economics, shall we, from another progressive, heavily unionized city:

Like I’ve said many times before: the laws of economics cannot be repealed by legislative fiat. Raise the cost of labor, and businesses will be faced with a choice from among four options — pass the costs on to the consumer; reduce labor costs by cutting hours or whole jobs; eat the costs and accept lower profits; or cease doing business in that jurisdiction, either by moving or closing shop. Ritu Shah Burnham may have loved her business, or she may have hated it. But, regardless, she’s come to the conclusion it isn’t worth staying in business in Seattle. She isn’t the first, and other small businesses in other progressive cities have made the same choice.

Apparently Rusty Hicks understands economics better than the Los Angeles city council and realizes he stands to lose union (dues-paying) jobs when the minimum wage goes up. So, he wants the freedom to negotiate a lower wage, more in line with economic reality. Fine. He’s pursuing his members’ interests.

How odd that he doesn’t want to allow that same freedom to all workers and business owners.

Afterthought: There is actually a sneaky benefit to this for the unions, besides preserving jobs. If unions can negotiate lower wages, there would then be an incentive for non-union businesses to unionize. That would lead to more union jobs and more dues coming into the union’s coffers. Oh, Rusty. You sly dog, you.

via Michael Strain


California: SEIU demands increase in minimum wage, jobs be damned

April 16, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage! Obama!!”

Fresno is fifth-largest city in California, the largest that’s not on the coast, and the largest in the Central Valley, that agricultural cornucopia that’s being destroyed by drought and environmentalist idiocies.

But don’t get me started on that.

Anyway, just by its position and population Fresno is important to the state’s economy, particularly our agricultural sector. (Where do you think your raisins come from?) But, like much of the Central Valley, it’s suffered more than the rest of California from the 2008 recession and the pathetic recovery: unemployment in the Fresno area in 2014 was still over 11%, well above California’s statewide average of 7.1% at the end of that year.

So, when your city is suffering from a lack of jobs, what’s the first thing you think of to increase opportunities for work?

That’s right! You demand an increase to the cost of labor!

On Wednesday, according to the Fresno Bee, over 150 people joined other workers around the country marking Tax Day by marching in rallies organized by unions as they demanded the current federal minimum wage of $7.24 an hour be raised, as well as the California $9 minimum wage.

Standing in front of a McDonald’s, the protesters–comprised of home and child care workers, county and state workers, students and community leaders, but no fast-food workers–chanted, “Hold the burgers, hold the fries. Make our wages super-sized.”

Union members from the Services Employees International (SEIU) helped lead the way; one member, Beau Reynolds with SEIU Local 100, told the Bee, “We’re here to stand up. We’re here to join forces and we are here to demand better. To demand better wages, to demand better benefits and to demand the right and respect that all working families deserve.”

Notice that none of those protesting in front of McD’s actually work there: they’re just there in service of SEIU’s political goal, which is to get a general increase in the minimum wage, which would include the union’s members, leading in turn to higher dues-revenues for the union to spend on politics. (And union bosses’ salaries…)

But the fast-food workers on the inside? The ones inside who didn’t march, the supposed beneficiaries of SEIU’s fight for economic justice? Apparently they know what happens when you raise labor costs too high:

Welcome to the future

Welcome to the future

In other words, when government raises the cost of doing business —and labor is a cost!— business owners have just a few choices: pass the cost to the consumer and risk losing their custom; reduce profits to perhaps unacceptably low levels; reduce labor costs by cutting back hours, letting people go, and not hiring; or just getting out of the business. They’re already learning this in progressive Seattle, and it looks like the Fresno McDonald’s workers understand basic economics, too, unlike SEIU.

Or maybe SEIU just doesn’t care that fast food workers can be replaced with kiosks, as long as they themselves get their cut.

Either way, they’re not helping Fresno county’s unemployment problem.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


No wonder they call him ‘moonbeam’ – California Governor Jerry Brown claims Global Warming causes extreme cold

March 23, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Ah, I wish we knew what sin we had committed as a state to deserve a governor like Jerry. Scary thing is, for those who don’t know California, is that he’s one of the sane(r) Democrats in Sacramento.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Remember this eye roller from Brown where he claimed LAX was at risk from sea level rise, only to have to walkback the claim the next day after it was pointed out on WUWT that LAX is well above sea level?

Brown_LAX_SLR He’s at it again. Eric Worrall writes:

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared senator Ted Cruz is “unfit for office”, because Cruz doesn’t believe that global warming is the cause of the extreme cold in America’s North East.

According to CNN;

“What he said is absolutely false,” Brown said. “Over 90% of the scientists who deal with climate are absolutely convinced that the humans’ activity, industrial activity … are building up in the atmosphere, they’re heat trapping, and they’re causing not just one drought in California but severe storms and cold on the East Coast.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/22/politics/ted-cruz-2016-election-global-warming-jerry-brown/

What can I say – without experts like Jerry to explain the…

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Kamala Harris for president? @JimGeraghty is trying to scare me to death. UPDATE: Fake confessions are okay!

March 12, 2015
President Harris?

Ready for Kamala?

It’s been said that the Democratic “bench” in the upcoming presidential race is weak. Desolate, even. A toxic combination of assuming the nomination belongs to Hillary Clinton and the decimation of the Democratic Party at the state and federal levels in the 2010 and 2014 elections have left them with few other choices. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the fake Native American? The Democratic base would love her, but I doubt her act would play well outside of New England and the West Coast. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley? Who? New York Governor Mario Cuomo? Nah, he’ll probably be too busy with his campaign to stay out of federal court. Jim Webb? Maybe, but the champion of the “White working class” voter is going to have a hard time winning the enthusiasm of the modern Democratic Party.

So, really, all they have is Hillary. And yet, with scandals already piling up and considering Clinton’s poor political skills (did you see that press conference of hers at the UN, yesterday?), it’s not inconceivable that Lady Macbeth won’t be the nominee.

But if not her, then who?

Enter California’s Attorney General and likely next federal senator, Kamala Harris. Jim Geraghty gives her qualifications:

How about California state attorney general Kamala Harris? Yes, she’s running for the Senate right now. Part African-American, part Asian-American; first female state attorney general of California; vocal proponent of gun control; tough on those “predatory” banks; she tried to fight evictions of people who stopped paying their mortgages; opposes the death penalty; eager prosecutor of hate crimes; created an “Environmental Justice Unit” in the San Francisco DA’s office, and of course, enthusiastic supporter of EMILY’s List…

Tell me she isn’t the kind of candidate who would have progressive activists doing cartwheels. She’s the “tough D.A.” figure who goes after all of the liberals’ perceived enemies.

Some of you know I’m a lifelong Californian. Having grown up in Northern California, I still have an interest in San Francisco’s affairs, even though I now live in the south part of the state. And there’s something about the politics of the “Special City” that make one want to follow its wacky antics, much the way one can’t stop watching a slow-motion train wreck. Hence I know a little bit about Harris’ career. While everything Jim says above is true, consider the following few points that should have moderates and conservatives reaching for the Pepto:

  • Harris is a dogmatic opponent of the death penalty. While to her credit she defended California’s law (1), as San Francisco’s DA she notoriously refused to seek death for a cop-killer in 2004, an action almost unprecedented in California. Federal law enforcement, President Harris will have your back.
  • She has in the past shown questionable managerial skills and judgment, at best. In 2010, a district judge ripped Harris for her office’s concealment of evidence from defense attorneys in a scandal involving the SF crime lab and shrugging her shoulders over accountability.
  • She hates the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms in self-defense. She sought to intervene in a case in San Diego against the local sheriff’s restrictions on gun permits, even though no state law was challenged and the sheriff said he wouldn’t appeal. The only reasonable explanation is that she is so opposed to gun rights that she will stretch her office’s powers beyond their limits to fight them. Imagine the DoJ and BATF under her control.

Could Hillary’s weaknesses create room for another obscure state-level official who’s only recently come to national attention? Who knows?

But, if she does become president, it’s Geraghty’s fault.

Footnote:
(1) Before anyone says that shows she’s really a moderate, defending that law is her job as AG (2). The LA Times praising her for that is like praising the janitor for taking out the trash — that’s what he’s supposed to do.
(2) Though not doing so is an alarming trend among Democrat state AGs.

UPDATE: I’d forgotten about this one. To make a long story short, a prosecutor in Kern county (Bakersfield and environs) attached a fake confession to the transcript of an interview with a defendant, apparently hoping to coerce a plea deal or score a win in court. He was found out, the judge rightfully dismissed the case, and Kamala Harris appealed the dismissal:

Incredibly, the State of California, via Attorney General Kamala Harris, decided to appeal the case. The state’s key argument: That putting a fake confession in the transcript wasn’t “outrageous” because it didn’t involve physical brutality, like chaining someone to a radiator and beating him with a hose.

Forget a mostly joking reference to Harris running for president; she has no business being in the Senate or holding any office whatsoever. (h/t Crosspatch)


San Francisco raises minimum wage, kills beloved local bookstore, residents shocked

February 8, 2015
Didn't pay attention

Didn’t pay attention

Call it a “teachable moment?”

Due to the new increased minimum wage law in San Francisco, a beloved bookstore and mainstay of the Mission District has been forced to close its doors for good.

The minimum wage for San Francisco workers, currently at $11.05 an hour, soars to $15 an hour in July 2018. The store’s projected labor costs, reported ABC7 News, impelled Borderlands Bookstore to write its final chapter.

The store owner had this to say:

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.

But the best line came from one of the stunned customers:

“You know, I voted for the measure as well, the minimum wage measure,” customer Edward Vallecillo lamented. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses. I feel sad.”

Evidently Mr. Vallecillo and the other voters of the Special City were asleep during their economics lessons — assuming that’s even taught anymore. Let’s review, shall we?

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

(Aside: It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the Leftists on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a bill to prevent owners from doing just that. Can’t let the Kulaks get away with acting as if they own their own property, after all.)

In a functioning, literate polity that teaches its young fundamental lessons of civics and economics, an informed electorate could have looked at that proposal and said, “Nah, that’s going too far.” Instead, we have voters who feel good about themselves  for voting themselves more consequence-free stuff, and then feel sad when the consequences arrive.

Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience.

Nah.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the consequences of ill-thought policy regarding the minimum wage. Seattle voted a high minimum, and now businesses are considering leaving. Some companies are considering replacing now-expensive minimum-wage workers with computerized kiosks. Los Angeles wants to raise the minimum to $13.25. Can’t wait to see how many entry-level jobs are lost thanks to that, or how many low-skill young workers looking for their first job are priced out of the market because of it. More from Ron Radosh, and more posts on the minimum wage.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The eyeroller you knew was going to happen – California winter storm caused by “changing climate”

December 12, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Say it after me, kiddies: “Global Warming: Is there nothing it cannot do?” Sigh….

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

People send me stuff. This “never let a good crisis go to waste” dreck was sent to me today from a Madison Avenue PR outfit called “Climate Nexus” who doesn’t seem to know much about climate, or weather, or California. But, they can spin a good yarn. The storm impacting California today is just like hundreds of previous storms in recorded weather history, the only thing that is new is the desire to link it to climate change for political purposes. In my opinion, it’s bullshit of the highest order.

sat_pacific_640x480[1] The Winter storm hitting California today, claimed to be driven by “changing climate”.

FYI FOR JOURNALISTS

Northern California Super Storm Linked to Changing Climate

To: Journalists
From: Climate Nexus
Date: December 11, 2014
Re: The Climate Context of California’s Atmospheric River Storm

With the drought-causing high-pressure zone dubbed the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” pushed aside for now, a powerful…

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Worst drought in California history? Not really…

November 22, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

A little needed perspective on California’s drought.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Guest essay by Robert Moore

The progression of the Palmer Drought Severity Index for California over the past three years. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor The progression of the Palmer Drought Severity Index for California over the past three years. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Is it true that we are in the worst drought in California history? Let’s look at the facts for the last 120 years (1895 to present).

clip_image002

As shown in this chart from the Western Regional Climate Center website (http://www.wrcc.dri.edu) — this is not even the 2nd driest water year for California in the last 120 years.

The driest year was 1924 (9.23 inches, or 40% of normal). The current water year (October 2013 through September 2014) ranks as the 3rd driest in the last 120 years (at 52% of normal).

As for the claim that this is the worst multi-year drought in California history – look at the period of 1910-40 on the WRCC chart. Wow… that was really a dry 30 year period.

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