Joe Biden continues to lie about the impact of mandatory higher wages. Mumbling to President Trump and the American people at the third presidential debate, he had said that “there is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage, businesses go out of business. That is simply not true.” He and his team have since reiterated this claim.
This is the same party that asserts that biological sex is a social construct, that the immutable race of a person should be the basis of his worth, and that climate change is an existential threat to the American people. Congratulations, Democrats: I no longer feel shock and outrage when you make stupid comments. I have simply come to expect it.
Still, I am a little worked up over Biden’s comments on hourly wages. His position flies in the face of both basic economic theory and lived empirical realities. The chief policy officer at the swampy U.S. Chamber of Commerce even responded to the Biden lie by stating unequivocally that “there is no question that raising the minimum wage, especially to $15, will put some small businesses out of business and will cost a lot of low-wage workers their jobs.” By their estimates, over one million Americans will not have a job if the policy goes into effect. This entire equity mindset is a disastrous combination of hubris, ignorance, and stupidity.
A maddening, heartbreaking, and corroborating story has therefore emerged from the Washington Post, which shared the brief history of the City of Long Beach’s journey of manipulating the free market through government intervention. Ostensibly enacted to help hourly earners, the outcomes were predictably harmful toward the very same hourly earners they purport to serve. At this point, it is simply a toss-up as to who has a greater claim to the Super Bowl Trophy of Stupidity: the political class that pushes nonsense through or the electorate that continues to provide that class the political power.
Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia introduced his progressive legislation to the masses a few weeks back, tweeting on January 19 that “[t]omorrow, on the day we inaugurate our new President, I’ll sign into law a $4 an hour hero pay increase to our hardworking grocery and supermarket workers. They have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and deserve this support.”
No one disagrees with the sentiment that our frontline workers, whether in a hospital, gas station, or grocery store, deserve more. Our nation’s teachers could certainly take a page out of their book. We should all thank them for keeping this country and economy chugging. However, this initiative is more about taking from grocery stores than it is giving to grocery store workers. The political left hates business, hates capitalism, and understands neither.
The WaPo story followed this up a few weeks later when it reported that, as a direct result of the mayor’s intervention, “two grocery stores in [Long Beach] will shutter in April in response to a local ‘hero pay’ measure requiring a $4-an-hour increase for grocery workers during the pandemic.”
Kroger, the company that owns the two chains whose locations were being shuttered, commented on the damage being done to the community (through lack of food access and loss of jobs) by stating that “the irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens is a direct result of the City of Long Beach’s attempt to pick winners and losers.”
What did the mayor and city council think would happen? It feels like a waste of words to describe how the grocery store operated under market conditions that informed those who ran it at what price they could sell goods, pay their workers, pay other debt obligations, and make a profit. Every business operates at a risk, and the risk-reward ratio was obviously closed to the point that it didn’t make sense to put effort into a store with declining profits. Is this so hard to understand?
Apparently, it is, because an emotionally driven, fact-bereft city councilperson going by the name of Mary Zendejas, who sponsored the bill, said that “it really saddens me that they’d rather take away 200 jobs instead of doing the right thing, which is paying hazard pay for these local grocery store workers who risk their lives everyday they come in and who are putting their lives on the line every second they’re working.”
There is so much wrong with this sentiment. In Zendejas’s world, there is now a moral obligation of private companies to pay whatever rate is deemed appropriate by leftists on a given day. Today it’s a $4-an-hour boost because everyone is a hero. Tomorrow it’s a national $15-an-hour increase. These are entirely arbitrary numbers, and by Biden’s logic, if there is no evidence that they upset the balance of supply and demand, then why stop there? Why don’t Mayor Garcia and Joe Biden advocate for $50-an-hour hero pay and a $100-an-hour minimum wage. There’s no evidence that artificially forcing wages to go up has a detrimental impact, right?
Not that they’ll notice, but there are real-world consequences to living in delusional leftist thought bubbles and echo chambers. The grocery store is but the latest proof of what happens when the government gets too involved in the free market. Worthless politicians pretend they care, then they enact policies that do more bad than good. How many more grocery stores, restaurants, and other small businesses will have to close in order to appease the socialist tendencies of elected officials?
Although the councilwoman will blame Big Grocery for being greedy and selfish for not wanting to operate its business at closer margins or at an outright loss, she is 100% responsible for what happened. It is now on the jobless grocers and hungry denizens of Long Beach to vote her and the mayor out before irreversible damage in their community is done.
This article was originally published on 2/5/21 at American Thinker.