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)


A grand, misbegotten scheme

July 28, 2009

Rich Lowry marvels at President Obama’s ability to continue telling bald-faced lies about the costs of his health plan in the face mounting evidence that its a fiscal disaster:

The Left branded George W. Bush a “liar” for making assertions about Iraq’s weapons that were supported by the evidence, but turned out not to be true. Obama is saying things that aren’t even supported by the evidence. They are routinely debunked by the independent Congressional Budget Office, but that doesn’t stop Obama from continuing to say them. It’s as if the CIA issued reports every other week in 2002 explaining that no, Iraq didn’t have a nuclear program nor any stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, and Bush kept warning of the nonexistent WMD anyway.

Since the phantom cost-saving measures that Obama touts can’t be detected by anyone else, including Blue Dog Democrats and the CBO, Obama’s team came up with a deus ex machina. They’d create a council to come up with recommendations for Medicare. If Obama accepted them, they’d automatically go into effect unless Congress voted to block them. CBO looked at the council and estimated it’d only save a minuscule $2 billion during the next ten years, adding that “the probability is high that no savings would be realized.”

Will this stop Obama from selling health-care reform as a cost savings? Of course not. He can’t admit that he is bending the famous cost curve upward, any more than he can admit that the House plan might throw millions of people out of their private coverage or that the bill will — despite its raft of new taxes — add another $239 billion to the deficit over ten years. In its latest missive, the CBO says the numbers get even worse beyond the ten-year window. So the entire budgetary rationale of Obamacare — improving the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook — has been obliterated.

Lowery writes about how people are coming to miss the Obama of 2008, who seemed so cool, competent, and moderate. But those who paid attention know this was a carefully crafted “Potemkin village” of an image, meant to slip a radical Progressive past a generally Center-Right nation. The mainstream media colluded in this, in all but a few cases preferring to dwell on key issues such as Sarah Palin’s tanning bed and how good Barack Obama looks in jeans rather than investigating the Democratic nominee’s background and record.

But facts have a way of forcing themselves through even the most carefully crafted image. The people are seeing more and more the disconnect between the president’s words and the likely results of his plan, especially in the wake of the colossal failure of his pork fiesta stimulus package to meet any of his stated goals. They gave him his chance when he said it had to be passed NOW, before anyone had the time to really read and consider it. They can see how well that worked, and they’re wary of trusting him again with yet another massive program.

Call it a teachable moment for the public. Today’s lesson: “fool me once…” .

RELATED: Speaking of “teachable moments,” Byron York writes today on the GOP’s Teachable Moment on the Risks of Obamacare. The August recess is crucial to stopping this train wreck before it happens.