June 17, 2017

"In a pair of affluent coastal California counties, the canary in the mineshaft has gotten splayed, spatchcocked and plated over a bed of unintended consequences..."

"... garnished with sprigs of locally sourced economic distortion and non-GMO, 'What the heck were they thinking?'"

ADDED: I don't see how the San Francisco can function, whether there's a $15/hour minimum wage or not. You need so much money to live there, but you want to live there in part because of all the restaurants. But how can there be restaurants without restaurant workers? Where can these restaurant workers live unless they are paid enough to live reasonably nearby? Why would you do an immensely long commute unless you were well paid? Shouldn't the restaurant die-off occur whether there's a minimum wage or not? If you have to pay a very high price to get a place to live in San Francisco, you should also have to pay a very high price to eat in a restaurant.

139 comments:

AReasonableMan said...

In an economy close to full employment pushing workers out of dead-end unproductive service jobs is a good way to make them seek more productive employment. And the elite can learn to cook.

rhhardin said...

News from econ 101.

They also prosecute and jail people who rent a truck and buy ice and take it to devastated cities, for price gouging.

Mike Munger on what economists are astounded by, idiocy. Entertaining stories.

rhhardin said...

Dead end used to be called entry level. It's where you can establish a record of showing up for work on time and often to prove that you're worth training for something else.

Michael K said...

ARM started his career at the top where all lefties learn the rules.

The minimum wage workers used to be teenagers learning how to earn a living when they were older.

I wonder when the poor are going to figure out that those people they are voting for are screwing them ?

St. George said...

What in the world is horrible writing like this doing in a newspaper and in a news story...

"... the canary in the mineshaft has gotten splayed, spatchcocked and plated over a bed of unintended consequences, garnished with sprigs of locally sourced economic distortion and non-GMO,...

(And splayed and spatchcocked mean the same thing, too.)

Its readers must all be rich intellectuals.

tcrosse said...

In an economy close to full employment pushing workers out of dead-end unproductive service jobs is a good way to make them seek more productive employment.

Let them eat cake.

LilyBart said...

Lefty morality: destroying lives and livelihoods is ok if its in the name of 'caring'.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Proof once again that the left doesn't actually care about the lower economic classes - they just play the game to get their votes.

AReasonableMan said...

Michael K said...
The minimum wage workers used to be teenagers learning how to earn a living when they were older.


This stopped being true a long, long time ago. Try to keep up. Most low-level service jobs are poverty traps that only benefit the elite. This is a primary complaint of Trump supporters.

The Drill SGT said...

In an economy close to full employment pushing

remembering that during that wonderful Obama recovery, a lot of people fled the workforce giving us the lowest labor participation rate since women entered the paid work force in large numbers.

Bruce Hayden said...

Stupid, stupid, leftists. Think that they can repeal the laws of economic with snappy phrases and a lot of police to enforce their stupid laws. Meanwhile, playing in the background is the sorry disintegration of Venezuala, one of the resource richest countries in Latin America, with people starving now in the streets.

Bay Area Guy said...


Another left-wing disgrace. Destroying entry level jobs, because....higher wages!

Seeing Red said...

They have free health care. What's the issue?

Illinois is on that path. So is NYC and every other locale which voted for this. NJ is screwed with the stupid law they voted in.

Fernandinande said...

Dumb people should be smarter and lazy people should be more industrious and dumb lazy politicians should be less meddlesome.

Seeing Red said...

Something that can't go on, won't. We once again, have to learn our lesson the hard way. Just tax the rich there, they have all the money Cali needs to build a better mousetrap.

Michael K said...

"Try to keep up. Most low-level service jobs are poverty traps that only benefit the elite. This is a primary complaint of Trump supporters."

Keep saying that all you can. It just grows Trump voters right out of the soil.

I love it when clueless lefties self identify.

Seeing Red said...

Vile Progs are locusts.

robother said...

LilyBart: "Lefty morality: destroying lives and livelihoods is ok if its in the name of 'caring'."

True that. Consider the wreckage of inner city neighborhoods and schools (all in the name of court-ordered integration), the destruction of lower class black (and increasingly white and hispanic) families (War on Poverty welfare programs), the off-shoring of blue collar manufacturing jobs (enviro and free trade policies) and the destruction of private blue collar unions (open borders immigration).

Message : We Care (except about the consequences.)

Seeing Red said...

Then u get the stupid comments like that Austin/Dallas woman who told the newspaper interviewer something like I voted for all the tax increases, schools, library, etc., but the State must step in and do something! I can't afford to taxes to stay in the house I lived in for 23 years!

Seeing Red said...

Let them eat out of food trucks!

Diogenes of Sinope said...

The liveable wage meme is a MacGuffin.

The Leftists goal is to turn everyone into a government dependent with the Leftists running the government and bureaucracy. So far everything is working as planned.

The Democrats goal is turning us all into beggars

Owen said...

Looks like another instance of "bad luck" as defined by Robert Heinlein.

Seeing Red said...

And no drugs or toilet paper in Venezuela.

But their citizens voted for 21st century socialism. They got what they wanted, good and hard.

Sometimes that's the only way to learn.

100 years, multimillions starving, existing, or dead -- deliberately by the progressive policies of their leaders -- and still, " We will get it right this time, cos we r the right people in charge!"

Ann Althouse said...

Why would a low-paid restaurant worker live in San Francisco? I don't understand how that would work. How can a working class exist in that city? I can see how you have very poor and homeless people, but why would someone able-bodied, diligent, and competent put their hard work into a job in a city where they can't live and have some enjoyment of life?

Seeing Red said...

Feudalism. Old world bullshit.

BDNYC said...

In San Francisco, robots will pick up the slack in restaurants. That's the techie dream, right? Replacing as many jobs as possible with AI. Go ahead and raise the minimum wage. $15 times zero hours equals zero.

Bruce Hayden said...

"ago. Try to keep up. Most low-level service jobs are poverty traps that only benefit the elite. This is a primary complaint of Trump supporters."

Oh, I see the logic now. Fewer low level service jobs means fewer people poverty trapped, and fewer elites benefited. Only one question though - what do those former low level service job workers do with their idle time, now that they are unemployed? And, maybe, how do they pay their rent and buy their food? I guess they could raise taxes and eat up the raises of those still working to pay for that. Might not work that well in CA though, which has, I think, just passed single payer healthcare insurance, that will double the state budget, if they ever get to funding it.

And, yes, you still face the problem of how to break into the labor force, if your marginal utility is below the minimum wage, as it typically is, at the beginning. How to learn how to be an employee. Most here went through that, early in their careers. I sure did, not really getting much above the minimum wage until after college a bit.

BDNYC said...

Does San Francisco not have public housing and/or rent control? I believe that explains how at least some of the minimum wage workforce can live in such an expensive city.

CWJ said...

Althouse,

I think the same about ski resort employees. Only there you get to add potentially horrendous weather to their commute.

rhhardin said...

Training dogs to work in restaurants would work except for the moral hazard.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think the same about ski resort employees. Only there you get to add potentially horrendous weather to their commute."

When we were in Vail, we had a conversation with a waiter — a handsome guy who was into competitive paddle boarding — and he said he lived in Leadville. I don't think you have a good option like that when you work in San Francisco.

Seeing Red said...

Believe it or not, Lucas had the same issue. He wanted to build low income housing in Marin, and was refused. I think he wanted to donate a piece of property with that stipulation.

Hari said...

Suppose the average low end wage for restaurants in SF was say $12 and the low end outside of SF was $10. When the minimum goes to $15 everywhere, it would make sense for SF workers to leave SF and get the same wage elsewhere, where other costs are lower. In other words what may have happened is that SF restaurants can no longer afford the premium it takes to draw workers in.

AReasonableMan said...

The world in which many here want to believe does not exist. It is a convenient fiction the sole purpose of which is to ease the consciences of the elite. The elite want cheap labor for all the service jobs that pamper their lives. They want servants. It is elites versus servants.

The servants rose up and voted for Trump only to discover that the new boss is the same as the old boss. Maybe they make a better choice next time.

tcrosse said...

Maybe they make a better choice next time.

Only if there actually is a better choice, unlike in 2016.

Rae said...

Hire illegal immigrants and pay them under the table. That's the way it's done, isn't it?

Birkel said...

Repealing economics is nothing. Canada just repealed biology.

Oh, and ARM thinks all the San Franciscans who are losing jobs were Trump voters. Try to use the appropriate verb tense.

Because this is how you get more Trump.

Owen said...

To what extent is the restaurant die-off due not to the obvious hike in costs faced by the owner, but by the message of greater uncertainty? The State has just (whimsically, suddenly) up-ended the game board on which the owner depends --in a highly risky industry where pennies count. So the owner decides to exit a suddenly much more turbulent environment.

There is also the "F you" factor. Owners are human too (or so I'm told). This new law is a giant "You're a chump" message. That may be as important as the hit to profit or predictability.

Hubris is a very old idea, and it survives for a reason.

Michael K said...

San Francisco is special. If you haven't figured that out, you might live in a red state.

They want to destroy every dam except the Hetch Hetchy dam which created the reservoir that supplies San Francisco's water.

There are other examples.

The Hetch Hetchy dam is was such an outrage that John Muir started the Sierra Club to oppose it. But it supplies SF's water.

Rae said...

Or go RoboBurger. "Our patties are untouched by human hands!"

Hell, I'd eat there.

CWJ said...

Leadville to Vail roughly 40 miles each way.

Michael K said...

The State has just (whimsically, suddenly) up-ended the game board on which the owner depends --

This is how Roosevelt prolonged The Great Depression.

The left never learns.

Rusty said...


Blogger AReasonableMan said...
Michael K said...
"The minimum wage workers used to be teenagers learning how to earn a living when they were older.

This stopped being true a long, long time ago. Try to keep up. Most low-level service jobs are poverty traps that only benefit the elite. This is a primary complaint of Trump supporters."

I'll explain this again so that you people with public sector jobs can understand.
Labor is a commodity. Your value to your employer is directly related to the value you can add to his/her output. Low wage jobs are a winnowing process. As an employer I'm not going to pay someone just out of college the same as I'd pay and experienced worker unless that graduate brought skills I need to the job. Period. That's it. If you want to pay someone with no skills and an unteachable work ethic a living wage then open your wallet.
In the public sector it is just the opposite. The harder you work if you are not connected or constantly kiss a higher ups ass then you are never getting anywhere. In fact it you hustle in a public sector job and produce good results you are just about guaranteed to never get any higher. Your co-workers who constantly kiss up to their bosses and take credit for your work will rise.
Just because you exist doesn't mean anybody owes you anything.

Robert Cook said...

"The minimum wage workers used to be teenagers learning how to earn a living when they were older."

No. Minimum wage workers have always included adults supporting themselves singly or with families. The idea that it has always and only applied to "kids living at home earning summer money" is false.

(When I was a teenager I made less than the minimum wage, which my employer could do legally as my peers and I worked fewer than a threshold number of hours per week. Had we worked at or above this threshold number of hours per week, he would have been required to pay us minimum wage. It was enough for me as I did still live at home with my parents.)

khesanh0802 said...

Most economists are fools. but the laws of economics are immutable. A fine example.

Robert Cook said...

"remembering that during that wonderful Obama recovery, a lot of people fled the workforce giving us the lowest labor participation rate since women entered the paid work force in large numbers."

They didn't "flee" the workforce, they were cast out of it by "job creators" destroying jobs.

khesanh0802 said...

@ARM The new boss in CA is the same as the old boss. Nationally it's a different story, although the old bosses are doing their best to keep things as they have been.

LilyBart said...

BDNYC said...
Does San Francisco not have public housing and/or rent control?


lolz! Rent control reduces available housing. Basic economics.

Leftists think they can waive their magic legislative wands and "solve" market problems. They just want to 'decree' that people should make $x or have 'affordable' housing. But they always forget about incentives. If you cannot charge enough rent to justify your investment, you won't build or buy the apartment building. The fewer investors - the fewer units available.



khesanh0802 said...

No, Cookie, a lot of them were incentivized to leave the work force by giveaways from the Feds. See the growth in SNAP enrollment and Federal disability payments as good examples.

Bob said...

Here's a link to a nearly-three-year-old sfgate article on restaurant workers, nationally as well as San Francisco. The article cites an Economic Policy Institute Report on the near-poverty levels restaurant workers endure.

http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2014/08/27/report-40-percent-of-restaurant-workers-live-in-near-poverty/

The EPI report proposes some solutions. Predictably, one recommendation is to increase the minimum wage! But the one that jumped out at me was, "Pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented workers."

I think this is the answer to Althouse's question. The industry employs a lot of illegal aliens, and in San Francisco they probably live several-to-many in apartments or lofts.

Birkel said...

Seeing Red calls it correctly.

This is the implementation of a feudal system. It is planned. It is desired. This is no mistake. The Grubers know what they want and they count on the stupidity of the masses (Gruber's point, not mine) who will shackle themselves.

Bob Boyd said...

How come they don't pay the jurors in the Cosby trial $15 an hour?
And I don't see why the jurors couldn't be making lunch for everybody while they're deliberating.
It's clear the process needs reform.

buwaya said...

SF is full of very crowded apartments hosting a dozen or more residents, often groups of H1b workers or illegal Central Americans; also lots of garages and converted basement in-law apartments.

Plus you will see many early am BART commuters from Richmond - Oakland to Fremont coming in, often also residents of extremely crowded residences. I know of some who commute from as far as Tracy. Thats a 2 hour+ trip.

SF gets its workers, though the workers suffer for it.

Angel-Dyne said...

AA: Why would a low-paid restaurant worker live in San Francisco?

1) If these jobs were, as pointed out by others above, "entry level" jobs, for people who aren't economically independent, like teen-agers or college students, that would work. Their parents support them and they save their earnings. (No longer exists.)

(Professional waiters in swanky, high-tip restaurants can make a go of it, but that's not what we're talking about here.)

2) They're illegal immigrants who live in marginal areas in building-code violating conditions. I assume most restaurant workers in SF are illegals. To the extent that the meager wages of workers, legal or illegal, are augmented by an array of social services (yes, Virginia, illegals can access welfare in a variety of forms), the business is being subsidized by the taxpayer. The cost just shows up on your tax bill rather than your restaurant bill. The pleasures of restaurant goers are subsidized by non-restaurant goers.

I don't understand how that would work. How can a working class exist in that city? I can see how you have very poor and homeless people, but why would someone able-bodied, diligent, and competent put their hard work into a job in a city where they can't live and have some enjoyment of life?

It doesn't work if workers wages aren't subsidized by transfer payments. For this restaurant example, this really isn't about "minimum wage". It's just that these chowder-headed minimum-wage laws throw a spanner in a "business model" based on breaking the law and external subsidies.

Lucien said...

What's the point of bringing in illegals to subsidize lower food costs if you then have to pay them $15/hr.? You'd have to start compensating them at illegally low rates. This is fun for Plaintiffs' lawyers and enforcement officials.

What Trump should really do in California is enforce the immigration laws extra hard against employers, while not deporting anybody.

AReasonableMan said...

Angel-Dyne said...
these chowder-headed minimum-wage laws throw a spanner in a "business model" based on breaking the law and external subsidies.


Doesn't sound quite so 'chowderheaded' when put like this.

Bill Crawford said...

Do you think a dark motivation for sanctuary cities is to protect some of their businesses by "protecting" the illegal immigrants they pay under the table?

robother said...

ARM: "The servants rose up and voted for Trump only to discover that the new boss is the same as the old boss."

Yes, Hillary truly threatened the feudal lords of Wall Street, just as Obama did before her. Riiiight.

Ann Althouse said...

"It doesn't work if workers wages aren't subsidized by transfer payments. For this restaurant example, this really isn't about "minimum wage". It's just that these chowder-headed minimum-wage laws throw a spanner in a "business model" based on breaking the law and external subsidies."

Maybe we should support the high minimum wage so that the people enjoying the service pay for what they are using rather than foisting it on taxpayers who might be struggling to get by living in the city.

Why should I care if rich people who live in a swank exclusionary area don't have enough restaurants? If restaurants close because they couldn't make enough money to pay the min. wage, then the supply will decrease and maybe the rich people will come to realize they need to pay more. New restaurants can supply the need.

Ann Althouse said...

"New restaurants can supply the need."

Or the rich San Franciscans can suffer from need.

Jay Elink said...

Robert Cook said...
"The minimum wage workers used to be teenagers learning how to earn a living when they were older."

No. Minimum wage workers have always included adults supporting themselves singly or with families. The idea that it has always and only applied to "kids living at home earning summer money" is false.
******************************

Who said "always and only"? Not the Bureau of Labor Statistics: they say "mostly":

"Relatively few Americans earn the federal minimum wage.[2] In 2011 and 2012, 3.7 million Americans reported earning $7.25 or less per hour—just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States.[3] These numbers include workers who also earn tip income. Many of those earning less than the minimum wage work in restaurants and make more than the minimum wage after taking tips into account.

After-School Jobs

Minimum-wage earners fall into two distinct categories: young workers, usually in school, and older workers who have left school. Most minimum-wage earners fall into the first category; just over half are between the ages of 16 and 24.[4] The rest are 25 or older.

The characteristics of the teenagers and young adults who earn the minimum wage or less support the notion that these minimum-wage workers rarely work to support children and their families:

79 percent work part-time jobs.
62 percent are enrolled in school during non-summer months.
Their average family income is $65,900 per year.
Only 22 percent live at or below the poverty line, while 68 percent enjoy family incomes over 150 percent of the poverty line, which is $33,500 for a family of four.[6]
Most have not finished their education.....
Only 5 percent are married.

http://www.heritage.org/jobs-and-labor/report/who-earns-the-minimum-wage-suburban-teenagers-not-single-parents

QE Effin D

gbarto said...

People are being unkind about San Francisco. 100% of San Franciscans support affordable housing on the other side of town.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

This will shut down the small time store front eateries. But working folks still need to eat. They will go to the deli counter at Kroger or (gasp!) Whole Foods, or text ahead and pickup from the take-out window.

Workers at the Seattle and Santa Cruz big-guy companies get free child care, free gymnasium, free meditation room, free family medical and dental, maternity leave, paternity leave, free snacks, free lunch, free cappuchino, and free bananas.

Well, if they can do it, every company should be able to do it. Start a groundswell hoopla in the media, purchase a few Congress Critters, get a law passed.

That is how to choke off competition and barricade out new entrants.

What works in the big cities does not work everywhere. Sixty mile range small electric car is OK in the city. Not so much in West Texas where you may need to haul three weeks of groceries or a new washing machine 90 miles.

tcrosse said...

"The servants rose up and voted for Trump only to discover that the new boss is the same as the old boss."

Trump's election changes nothing in California.

Bill said...

It's astonishing how cheaply one can eat in San Francisco.

When I lived there, 10 years ago, I could get a beef-tomato-rice dish (simple and ample and delicious) at a small Chinese restaurant across the street from where I worked for $3.50.

Swede said...

We passed a law that, unexpectedly, took your jobs away.

But, trust me, you'll be better off because of it.

Sound like anybody you know?

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K said...
San Francisco is special. If you haven't figured that out, you might live in a red state. They want to destroy every dam except the Hetch Hetchy dam which created the reservoir that supplies San Francisco's water.


I know you know it, but it is worth restating for Easterners.

The SF Liberals (Sierra Club, etal) who insist of depriving the Central Valley farmers of water that they still must pay for each year, in order to make the Delta Smelt happy, don't care, because the released water doesn't come from their private dam. Just the public dams (state and Federal)

Seeing Red said...

Cookie, are you trying to suggest the job creators weren't in some part reacting to Obamacare? Lolol have you ever owned a business?

Michael K said...

"Lolol have you ever owned a business?"

Must you always be joking ?

Scott said...

There are a couple of premises to raising the minimum wage:

1. The false premise is that a high minimum wage will improve the quality of life of the wage earners and there will be nominal impact to their ability to get jobs. Of course, if this were true, we could really improve things by increasing the minimum wage to $40/hour. Everyone deserves $80,000 a year.

2. The true premise is to cause social disruption that the Progressive cult can exploit for their own obscure purposes.

The course of action that non-cultists should follow is to not enable the cult to benefit from the problems they are causing. That's an emerging theme in the era of Trump. And I for one am on board with that.

Seeing Red said...

I can't help it, certain posters here make me laugh my ass off. And use their comments as a teaching tool for my kids.

Earnest Prole said...

Take it from someone who lives in one of those California counties: the "restaurant die-off" storyline is a whole-cloth fabrication. As anyone who lives in a vibrant urban area knows, restaurants are constantly coming and going, and there are now far more choices here than five, ten, and fifteen years before. It reminds me of the storyline that the city has become so expensive that no one lives there anymore -- which of course are mutually exclusive and ridiculous propositions.

CWJ said...

Scott's on to something. Assuming his second premise is true, the implication is that Progressives assumed that those disrupted would always turn to them for more (government) free stuff and consequent societal control. It has probably come as a nasty shock that an electorally significant proportion of the "beneficiaries" have instead opted for "drain the swamp" and/or "burn this bitch down." No wonder the elite are reacting like the French aristocracy of the "Ancien Regime."

Seeing Red said...

I've basically worked for entrepreneurs my entire working life.

So I've had a little more exposure to the expense side than most think about.

I once read a brilliant suggestion for reviews a few years ago and am sorry I wasn't insightful enuf to come up with it. My bonus that year....I might have read it here, as a matter of fact.

When you're giving a review, you should present a sheet listing all the expenses the company pays out for you. How many employees really think about FUTA, SUTA, etc.?




PB said...

It's not about the rich people living there who eat in restaurants. It's about the tourists who react to the high prices and the people who are straining to live there that don't have much left-over cash to spend on restaurants. These groups of people make up the bulk of restaurant customers and they are greatly affected by rising prices.

While restaurants come and go, if the customer on the margin is greatly affected this can have a disproportionate affect on restaurant as they operate on very thin margins.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

Ski resort employees and San Fran restaurant workers have little in common. Ski employees are usually middle class whites bumming around for a few years. They typically live in shared spaces that are handed off to their replacements when they move on/ return home. In cities, kitchen and back of the house restaurant workers are almost all illegal immigrants from Mexico, South America or China. They usually live in illegally converted sro's (single room occupancy) where a bathroom could be shared by eight strangers.

"where they can't live and have some enjoyment of life?"
You are applying your own experience and standards to others. If you come from a place with a dirt floor and very limited plumbing, just being able to flush and shower regularly may give you some enjoyment due to your improved quality of life.

Bruce Hayden said...

"I think the same about ski resort employees. Only there you get to add potentially horrendous weather to their commute."

I think that I would prefer the Vail to Leadville commute over the Aspen to Parachute commute. Though, I have been stuck in rush hour traffic on Tennessee Pass. Luckily, it was a clear day, with clear roads.

Ralph L said...

Grenfell Tower is very near some of the most expensive real estate in the world. There were apparently something like 700 people in 120 one & two bedroom flats. Perhaps they hot bunk.

Comanche Voter said...

Ah St. George; the piece originally appeared in the Modesto Bee. I'm not saying that worse writing doesn't appear daily in the Los Angeles Times---but journalists in the smaller towns in the hinterlands are usually trying to work their way up to the big leagues. Once they are there--say at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, or the NYT, they can produce even worse pieces of flim flam.

Angel-Dyne said...

ARM:
Angel-Dyne said...
"these chowder-headed minimum-wage laws throw a spanner in a "business model" based on breaking the law and external subsidies."

Doesn't sound quite so 'chowderheaded' when put like this.


I like the idea of the Californians who passed this law really being secret subversives out to put a glaring light on the contradictions inherent in the "cheap" labor system, instead of the economic chowderheads they play so convincingly in Sacramento.

rhhardin said...

There's what you value your time and effort at, and what your employer values your output at.

So long as the former is less than the latter, you have a job.

In fact the standard of living of the nation increases by the amount of the difference.

If a law raises your wage above what your employer values your work at, there's no job.

Amadeus 48 said...

Wow. Althouse with input from Meade is usually so sensible.
SF works now because up until now wages ptetty much cleared the market for those willing to work. Workers at or near the minimum wage would seek alternatives if they did not find the work and pay worthwhile. Employment is a mutual voluntary exchange. With a minmum wage, the employer is constrained from paying the market price--a third party has dictated the minmum wage independent of the market. The employer needs to review his or her cost structure to see if the businees can be profitably run at the dictated wage cost. Some will raise prices, some will reduce staffing, some will close up. The people most affected by this are those at the margins--those greasy spoon restaurants serving food at modest prices--and the least efficient employees. Those are the people who lose their businesses or jobs when the minimum wage is raised. Note that the employment arrangements at the old wage level were agreements voluntarily entered into.
The minimum wage hurts the most marginal employees and throws them out of work.

James Pawlak said...

Thank you for adding the word "spachcocked" to my vocabulary.

Your offering is only another reason that California should leave the USA and become an independent nation or, perhaps, to join with North Korea based on near-equal levels of tyranny.

The Cracker Emcee said...


"This stopped being true a long, long time ago. Try to keep up. Most low-level service jobs are poverty traps that only benefit the elite. This is a primary complaint of Trump supporters."

Hilarious. On what planet? I've known and see legions of teenagers flipping burgers, working retail, haying, lifeguarding, spending summers in the mills and canneries, doing all the things we did at that age. You live in a fantasy world, ARF.

Scott said...

"If a law raises your wage above what your employer values your work at, there's no job."

Or rather,

If the cost of your labor exceeds the value added that your employer can recoup from doing business, there's no job.

ALP said...

If "Kitchen Nightmares" has any truth to it, restaurant owners are not the sharpest tools in the shed when it comes to money/finance. Maybe this financial stupidity ensures an endless supply of eateries, constant opening and closing, as one starry eyed owner after another folds and another takes its place? Maybe the sheer level of unreasonable optimism ("MY place will make a profit for sure not like those other loser restaurants...") will keep San Fran in eateries for years to come. Don't underestimate the stupidity of people with money to invest.

Seattle headed this way in no time....

ALP said...

BTW: if you haven't learned how to spatchcock a chicken get thee to YouTube to learn. Best way to grill a whole chicken with more even cooking.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Cacimbo - you would be surprised at the number of barely literate Hispanics and other immigrants, in particular, working at ski areas (staff language in the McDonalds in Silverthorne was Chinese last time I spent much time there). Not really in the customer interaction jobs, where facility with English is mandatory, and being middle class a plus, but, rather in all the back end jobs - the maids, janitors, dishwashers, etc. A large percentage of the commuters every day over Tennessee Pass between Vail and Leadville are not middle class ski bums, but, rather non skiers, there for the jobs, and very often Hispanic.

Part of this, of course, is prejudice. We have had a condo on the other side of Vail Pass for nearing a half century now, and keeping out Hispanic workers is a running problem. They will happily live six or more in a 2 bedroom condo, then hangout in the parking lot, sitting in their cars, playing music, taking up way too many parking places. And that is a big part of the problem - it is really a pain having to walk two blocks in a blizzard because you can't park closer. You kinda expect a convenient parking place for $400 a month in condo fees. Which means that they are ultimately usually evicted for violating capacity limits. The ski bums can't really compete on rent, because they won't live as closely packed together.

Yancey Ward said...

How do they live in such high cost areas?

On HGTV there is a show called Flip or Flop where a couple buy, remodel, and sell homes in the Orange County area of California. In quite a few of the homes they buy in the upscale areas, it is blindingly obvious that the homes were previous rentals that had been occupied by 10 or more people as evidenced by ad hoc conversions of outbuildings and garages into sleeping quarters with 2 or more floor mattresses per room, or by outright illegal and non-code additions built onto existing structures. I strongly suspect that San Francisco is no different in this regard.

Robert Cook said...

"No, Cookie, a lot of them were incentivized to leave the work force by giveaways from the Feds. See the growth in SNAP enrollment and Federal disability payments as good examples."

Baloney. I've known people who received SNAP assistance and the monthly payout is very sparse. Anyone who left a job for SNAP funds must have been working at sub-slave wages to see SNAP funding as a better deal. And people who qualify for disability funding presumably have disabilities that make it difficult for them to work. I don't know how generous such payments may be, but I assume not too.

Jobs disappear and people leave the work force because jobs are being erased. The growth in SNAP and Federal disability payments is a result of job loss, not a cause of it.

David said...

Jobs are disappearing for people who need them. That's the big story here.

Earnest Prole said...

I should add that the restaurant die-off storyline is a perfect example of an ideology obscuring what is glaringly obvious to any person not burdened with that ideology. In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.

Biff said...

The professor asked, "Where can these restaurant workers live unless they are paid enough to live reasonably nearby?"

- Don't make the mistake of assuming that the definition of "living reasonably" is remotely universal.
- Don't assume that all workers are living in legal apartments, as opposed to being stacked together like cordwood in illegal apartments.
- Don't assume that all workers are happily/willingly working, as opposed to being victims of human trafficking.

I'll spare you the gory details, but I've been a firsthand witness to all of the above at fairly large scale. What goes on just outside common notice can be pretty amazing.

Yancey Ward said...

Robert,

Until just recently, I could have gotten SNAP benefits and my net worth is in the upper 10%. I am asset rich and taxable income poor, and I have zero dependents. The only reason I didn't take them is because I thought it unethical to do so.

bagoh20 said...

Make minimum wage $115/hr if you really believe the arguments for it. Just imagine all the jobs produced by all the new rich people. It could be a city of 100% rich people, with rich car washers, and rich busboys, all with their own rich maids and rich gardeners. Utopia!

Angel-Dyne said...

Bruce Hayden: Part of this, of course, is prejudice. We have had a condo on the other side of Vail Pass for nearing a half century now, and keeping out Hispanic workers is a running problem. They will happily live six or more in a 2 bedroom condo, then hangout in the parking lot, sitting in their cars, playing music, taking up way too many parking places. And that is a big part of the problem - it is really a pain having to walk two blocks in a blizzard because you can't park closer. You kinda expect a convenient parking place for $400 a month in condo fees. Which means that they are ultimately usually evicted for violating capacity limits. [emph. added]

How is this "prejudice"? If the Hispanic workers actually do these things (iow, that they engage in all the above is not just an irrational belief by the residents not borne out by experience), then there is no "prejudice".

Rabel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rabel said...

Yancy, SNAP has an asset test. It might be possible to structure a high net worth so as to qualify but it would be difficult.

Robert Cook said...

"Workers at the Seattle and Santa Cruz big-guy companies get free child care, free gymnasium, free meditation room, free family medical and dental, maternity leave, paternity leave, free snacks, free lunch, free cappuchino, and free bananas."

What is a "big guy" company? Are you referring to tech companies?

I'm guessing some or many of the amenities you describe are paid for by deductions from their paychecks, or are provided to counterbalance salaries that are less than might be found elsewhere, or to compensate for extraordinarily long working hours and/or demanding working conditions.

Jupiter said...

I don't think the law is a good idea, but at the same time I don't think you can blame it for mass restaurant closures. Labor is an input. When the cost of inputs goes up, producers raise prices. If the demand is not there to support those prices, they go out of business.

But are we really supposed to believe that fewer people are eating in restaurants because of price increases? Or do we have a large population of people who want to own a restaurant, and are relying on low prices to compete in a market that is too small for all of them? Hell, I like the idea of making the minimum wage $100/hr. Why should people in SF be able to eat in restaurants? Let them eat microwaved TV dinners.

Gahrie said...

When we were in Vail, we had a conversation with a waiter — a handsome guy who was into competitive paddle boarding — and he said he lived in Leadville. I don't think you have a good option like that when you work in San Francisco.

East Oakland.

Gahrie said...

he world in which many here want to believe does not exist. It is a convenient fiction the sole purpose of which is to ease the consciences of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie want cheap labor for all the service jobs that pamper their lives. They want servants. It is bourgeoisie versus the proletariat.

FIFY

Gahrie said...

I'm guessing some or many of the amenities you describe are paid for by deductions from their paychecks, or are provided to counterbalance salaries that are less than might be found elsewhere, or to compensate for extraordinarily long working hours and/or demanding working conditions.

Four legs good...two legs better.

AReasonableMan said...

This is genuinely extraordinary:

Bret Stephens said...
Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious; and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas, and our appeal, may stay fresh.

That used to be a clichĂ©, but in the Age of Trump it needs to be explained all over again. We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.


This is Peter Spiliakos's commentary:
Right-leaning business owners and salaried professionals have enormous advantages within the center-right coalition over right-leaning wage-earners. The least of those advantages is money. Their abiding political weakness is an ill-concealed contempt for the interests and priorities of wage-earners. They think that they are the bosses of America and regret that they cannot fire American citizens they see as disobedient, ungrateful, and incompetent.

Seeing Red said...

Disney leans left. So does Google, Amazon and a lot of the big money companies. So I don't understand the point that is trying to be made.

Seeing Red said...

Counter-balance salaries or instead of salaries?

Scott said...

Which is worse --

only being able to get a job at a low wage that is not considered by experts to be a living wage, or,

not being able to get a job at all?

And why should government be allowed to make that choice for you?

LilyBart said...

Bret Stephens said...
Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious


What self-serving nonsense!

AReasonableMan said...

The Cracker Emcee said...
I've known and see legions of teenagers flipping burgers, working retail, haying, lifeguarding, spending summers in the mills and canneries, doing all the things we did at that age


This is certainly not true where I live and I live in a red county. Gardeners, nurserymen, restaurant workers, house cleaners, masseuses - you name a traditional servant occupation and you will find recent immigrants doing the job.

I have a friend who is a very strong Trump supporter. His lawn is mowed by an immigrant, he gets a massage once or twice a week from an immigrant, his house is cleaned by an immigrant and he works for a large import company that sells products made exclusively in China. When I pointed out some potential contradictions in all of this he told me that he never believed that Trump's election would affect his lifestyle. I didn't hear that dog whistle.

Matthew Blaine said...

.."pushing workers out of dead-end unproductive service jobs is a good way to make them seek more productive employment."

I have a theory that people with 115 IQ are incapable of imagining how difficult it is for 85 IQ people to function in the world.

grackle said...

I don't see how the San Francisco can function, whether there's a $15/hour minimum wage or not. You need so much money to live there… If you have to pay a very high price to get a place to live in San Francisco, you should also have to pay a very high price to eat in a restaurant.

Some lucky few will move away to less expensive localities. Most will have to stay – or believe they have to stay. But the financial math will eventually dictate the outcome and I suppose the rest of us will be expected to bail them out of their economic dilemma. One of the things I like about my life: I do not have to live in California. That’s worth paying for.

Sebastian said...

"I have a theory that people with 115 IQ are incapable of imagining how difficult it is for 85 IQ people to function in the world." Exacerbated by the fact that they are not allowed to think that the differences matter and that IQs might be, umm, unevenly distributed.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Why should I care if rich people who live in a swank exclusionary area don't have enough restaurants?

Uh, babe, that's YOU.

Bob Ellison said...

You don't know where the money comes from.

That's the lesson in the Western world for the last few centuries. You can't tell where the money came from. How is that guy living in San Francisco, working for a couple of bucks an hour as a waiter?

They money came from somewhere, but you cannot know, in most cases.

This should be Business 101. I want to teach that course some day. I keep hearing people saying things like "they must be making a lot of money on that" or "that can't be a good job".

You don't know.

Char Char Binks said...

You got spatchcocked the fuck out, man!

Birkel said...

Remember, Hillary won California by millions of votes. And people driven from California by policies that yield these results will move elsewhere and vote the same way.

So we have that going for us.

Rusty said...

Althouse @ 10:22
That's the point, Althouse. They players will decide the rules. Not the players plus the government.
if people are so concerned with a "living wage"-whatever the hell that means-then let them make up the difference from their own pocket. because the way they are posing it sounds like they all know how to run a resturant. They know what the costs are and how the income should be allocated. If they are that brilliant why aren't they in the business?
The smug moral superiority of people who don't know shit.

"This is certainly not true where I live and I live in a red county. Gardeners, nurserymen, restaurant workers, house cleaners, masseuses - you name a traditional servant occupation and you will find recent immigrants doing the job."

And making damn good money at it.

Balfegor said...

Living in San Francisco may be expensive, sure, but not so expensive that you don't have hordes of homeless people, bums, beggars, students, and their ilk. There is a large pool of cheap labour available in the Bay Area. It's only expensive if you want to have a bourgeois "middle class" lifestyle. If you're comfortable living off of cup noodles, sharing an efficiency with a roommate or two, and dumpster-diving from time to time, I think you'll find it quite affordable. To make sense of California, you have to escape from the bourgeois "American" mindset and learn to think in dystopian terms.

Angel-Dyne said...

Rusty: That's the point, Althouse. They players will decide the rules. Not the players plus the government. if people are so concerned with a "living wage"-whatever the hell that means-then let them make up the difference from their own pocket.

Would that it were that simple. If those hard-working, low-wage workers' paychecks constituted an acceptable "living wage" to them, fine. Do they? We live in a welfare state. Can they really get by on that wage without significant public subsidy? People who are neither "players" nor patrons of players' establishments can get stuck with the balance of the true cost of the labor they employ. That cost shows up on the bill of the players' patrons, or it shows up on everybody else's tax bill. Would the players' pool of potential workers at the current wage dry up if they couldn't hire illegals, or their employees couldn't access public benefits? Would patrons balk at higher prices that reflected the true cost of labor? Well, tough shit, you go out of business like anybody else who can't figure out how to make a go of it without lawbreaking or subsidies.

I think the "minimum wage" debate is a distraction from a bigger problem. (That's going to become even bigger down the road.)

...because the way they are posing it sounds like they all know how to run a resturant. They know what the costs are and how the income should be allocated.

I don't have to know how to run a restaurant to know that I don't want to subsidize other people's labor costs and restaurant-going.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out."

Idiotic in the extreme. We were a country of immigrants when the country needed filling. No longer necessary. Regressive progressives, indeed.

Paco Wové said...

"genuinely extraordinary:"

Yes, ARM. Some of us noticed Mr. Stephen's modest proposal about the same time you did. Oddly enough, all those right-wing plutocrats at the NYT seem to be very much in favor.

Michael K said...

"We were a country of immigrants when the country needed filling." And there was no welfare state.

In California, 60% voted for a proposition that illegals did not qualify for welfare. There were/are public schools near the border that have Mexican kids who live in Mexico crossing the border every day to go to school in the US and taxpayers are paying for that.

The Cali supreme court threw it out.

California is about 30% illegals now and that's where Hillary's votes came from. My wife needed to renew her license in January 2016 but could not get an appointment until April to renew because the DMV was overloaded with illegals getting licenses.

Michael said...

A whitecoated waiter in an old line SF restaurant pulls in over a hundred grand. Four tops with 500 dollar checks yield 100 in ips with three, four or five turns a night. It is an honest and noble service job. Newer trendier restaurant produce bigger checks and bigger checks.

tim maguire said...

In a strong economy, low wages take care of themselves. It is only in weak economies that we need all these crazy regulations. And the weaker the economy, the stronger the regulations need to be, and the stronger the regulations the weaker the economy tends to be. And so it goes.

Night Owl said...

Traditionally the unskilled or low-skilled worker would survive by working multiple, legal, low-paid jobs. That may not sound pleasant to comfortable, middle-class retirees, but to the poor and working class-- the ones who prefer honest work over welfare-- it was a way of life.

Fewer legal jobs makes that lifestyle impossible. The low/unskilled worker gets pushed into the underground economy-- along with the millions of illegal immigrants-- and/or forced into becoming dependent on the govt for handouts in order to survive. Someone with few or no skills does not get pushed into a high-skill job in Silicon Valley when his/her job waiting tables goes away.

The left is in favor of mandating a "living-wage", while at the same time in favor of sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants-- people who are not paid that "living-wage", because they are undocumented and, therefore, exploitable-- which shows they have no understanding of basic supply and demand models. Trump picked up some votes in rust-belt states because union workers figured out that open-border policies hurt them. More workers chasing the same or fewer jobs drives down wages. People are figuring out that leftist policies always end up hurting the very people they claim they want to help.

Big Mike said...

Before I get excited about the report I want to know (1) what the definition of restaurant is, and (2) how many new restaurant openings there were. Does the count of restaurants include fast food outlets like Subway and McDonalds? My intuition is that fast food outlets and neighborhood diners have less wiggle room to increase prices to cover a jump in labor costs, but losing cheap eateries further hurts low income residents. Of course if 60 restaurants close and 62 open, that isn't necessarily bad.

Balfegor said...

Re: Big Mike:

Good point -- there's always a lot of churn in restaurants no matter what the minimum wage is.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Just to throw out an observation that others can confirm deny or otherwise comment on:

My cousin who comes from San Francisco by way of Petaluma California, says that overall in his experience, the quality of the people you get for minimum wage in California is much higher than what you get on the East Coast. I'm not sure the significance but I found his remark interesting.

Of course his experience would likely not be universal but he is a wine salesman who has previously been a sommelier and certainly has experience in the hospitality industry, if not construction or landscaping.

rehajm said...

We work with private equityhuys who front high end restaurants in SF and Boston. They go in looking at it as some combination of art patronage, community outreach, and a money losing hobby. These places start with a decent pile of cash and the goal is to manage the burn rate for 4-5 years while employing some people. Usually rent in Class A retail is so high sustainable profit isn't necessarily a consideration.

A few years ago we did see one place return capital.

Rusty said...

Would that it were that simple. If those hard-working, low-wage workers' paychecks constituted an acceptable "living wage" to them, fine. Do they?

I don't know. What constitutes a magical living wage where you come from? How do you justify paying someone more tham they're worth?

Gahrie said...

I don't know. What constitutes a magical living wage where you come from? How do you justify paying someone more tham they're worth?

Because that's fair!

You big meanie.

Angel-Dyne said...

Rusty: I don't know. What constitutes a magical living wage where you come from? How do you justify paying someone more tham they're worth?

My comment has jack shit to do with paying a worker more than they're worth or some SJW's idea of fairness. If you'd bother to read the whole thing before knee-jerking this would be obvious.

Gahrie @6:19- you too. How 'bout you and Rusty leave the ADHD talking point responses to the resident lefty retards, eh?

Sheesh.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

Who the F cares about the cost of food, if your truly rich?

Spend 5 bills a day and your still not at two hundred grand for the year. Sheesh, that's normal person dough.

Jason said...

ARM: Do you want severed heads in the streets? Because your first comment in this post is how you get severed heads in the streets.

Rusty said...

Angel-Dyne said...
Rusty: I don't know. What constitutes a magical living wage where you come from? How do you justify paying someone more tham they're worth?

My comment has jack shit to do with paying a worker more than they're worth or some SJW's idea of fairness. If you'd bother to read the whole thing before knee-jerking this would be obvious.

Gahrie @6:19- you too. How 'bout you and Rusty leave the ADHD talking point responses to the resident lefty retards, eh?

Then state your case so people can understand. I'm reasonably intelligent.

Bad Lieutenant said...


3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...
Who the F cares about the cost of food, if your truly rich?


Thanks for showing us that you are not really a rich person as you laughingly pretend to be. I mean we knew it all along, but this is a confession.

tommyesq said...

CWJ, here on the East Coast many ski resorts hire their winter labor force en masse from Peru or Chile. The workers simply move from winter in South America to winter in North America. In at least some places, they are put up in dorm-style housing. I think it is legally done, but I am not sure how current/planned changes to immigration law will affect this.

Angel-Dyne said...

Rusty: Then state your case so people can understand. I'm reasonably intelligent.

What part is unclear to you? I'm not making a case for a minimum wage or "living-wage" mandates by government, or anything else. I made some observations about the externalities of "cheap" labor - i.e., in a welfare state, the true cost of labor often falls on "non-players" (people who aren't employers, low-wage workers, or patrons of establishments employing low-wage workers).

If you think that isn't true, I'd be interested in hearing your arguments.

0_0 said...

We have plenty of restaurants in SF, and I haven't noticed any closing down. The linked article is BS.

Restaurant labor cost is low, and food is low. The high cost is the square footage, by far. Raising the minimum wage does not affect cost that much.

Use Zillow or something and look at home prices in SF. It's crazy! There are some residential hotels where people live- with Section 8 or multiple resident I don't know- there are tenst and RVs on the sidewalks; the rest is expensive.

Commuting isn't cheap, either, but I still work with people who commute from Lodi and Rocklin. Time and money adds up.