Liberal economic illiteracy appears to be marching its way down the left coast. Los Angeles is considering an initiative to mandate a minimum wage for hospitality workers of $15.37 dollars an hour. Casting aside the concerns of hotel owners, business owners, and the general cost-conscious consumer, LA is thinking about playing populist politics with other people’s money. According to Reuters:
"It's time to lift the floor in Los Angeles, it's time to bring economic justice in Los Angeles, it's time to raise L.A.," said Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who voted for the hike.
Lift the floor? Do Democrats trademark platitudes like this? Sure, they’re “lifting the floor” in LA… Of course they’re also lifting the barrier to entry for low-skilled laborers who might otherwise be able to get a job folding sheets. Minimum wage requirements, contrary to the belief of west coast progressives, is not a cost-free experiment in forced charity. After all, it is real money… The question that remains is who will pay for this increase: Business owners (greedy capitalist pigs), workers (proletariat), or consumers (money-wasting folks who think LA is a fun place to spend the weekend)?
The move toward instituting a wider, and more comprehensive, “livable wage” in LA has understandably garnered criticism from the aforementioned greedy capitalists pigs. According to Reuters, hospitality industry officials have warned that the $15.37 per hour minimum wage will likely lead to layoffs, a reduction in industry expansion, and a possible reduction in hotel services and amenities.
Supporters of the initiative, on the other hand, contend that folding sheets and holding doors should be an economically viable career option. And yet, even “livable wage” advocates can’t quite get around the basic arithmetic related to hiking the pay of thousands of workers. The initiative includes a provision that would allow business owners to “opt out” of the requirements if they can prove financial hardship.
In other words: If you actually start to go bankrupt, we’ll consider letting you behave like a normal, privately owned, business. Different sized hotels will also be forced to comply with the increased wage requirements on different timetables with larger hotels being the first victims of government micromanagement. Apparently LA leftists do actually understand basic economics… They just feel it is government’s role to dictate the market value of hospitality workers.
The Hotel Association of Los Angeles is pleading with the council to reconsider their Das Kapital plan for worker’s compensation:
"Please give it some more time to let us discuss this," Mike Czarcinski, chairman of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, told council members. "We want a fair wage for everybody, and we think $13.25 is the right number."
“We think $13.25 is the right number”? Really? Well, here’s a completely outlandish idea: Maybe you business owners should be able to decide on your own. After all, if hotels have to start competing for employees workers tend to benefit. When the labor market is flooded with unemployed laborers, the wages will be less than optimal. But when hotels begin to compete with each other for the best employees in town, wages will rise to much higher levels.
Of course politicians are unlikely in LA to ever offer a “laissez faire” policy toward wage regulations. It’s much easier to pander to the leftist base of LA by proclaiming a fight for “livable wages”… Especially when you’re spending someone else’s profits to buy your constituency.