The New York Times reports on the drive to impose a $15 an hour minimum wage across California:
the state could raise living standards for millions of workers. But it could also increase unemployment among some of the very same economically marginal workers the wage increase is intended to help.
Many economists, even some on the left, worry that a potential loss of jobs in a number of cities where wages are comparatively low could largely offset, and perhaps even more than offset, the boon of higher incomes at the bottom of the wage scale....
Craig Scharton, the owner of a farm-to-table restaurant called Peeve's Public House in downtown Fresno, said he was still smarting from a recent increase in the minimum wage from $9 to $10 an hour. He said the increase had forced him to close on Mondays and Tuesdays and played a role in reducing his staffing to a dozen today from 18 two and a half years ago.
Mr. Scharton was at a loss to explain how he would absorb the new increase.
This is a nice (or not so nice, for the involuntarily laid off workers involved) concrete example — an anecdote, but still — of job loss linked to a minimum wage increase.
The Times quotes "Michael Reich, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley — whose work policy makers in Los Angeles and New York State have relied on to analyze their recent efforts to raise the minimum wage." Professor Reich is a figure in a movement that calls itself "radical economics," which is itself a topic worthy of some skeptical reportorial investigation.