A Sunday item in the San Francisco Chronicle covered what reporter Justin Phillips has found is a major challenge for that city's restaurateurs. You see, many of them are struggling with how much virtue-signaling is appropriate in the wake of the election of Donald Trump and that city's defiant insistence on remaining an illegal-immigrant sanctuary. In light of a recent Harvard study on the effect of higher-than-market minimum wages and dismal jobs data from the government, restaurateurs and the press which covers this industry and several others need to look harder at another far more important issue: how many of these establishments will be unable to remain in business.
A January 24 item in the East Bay Times, which serves the San Francisco East Bay area, wondered: "What’s behind the spate of recent restaurant closures?" While it didn't ignore the problem, the article made only glancing references to current and planned increases in state and city minimum wages. Preliminary year-end statistics at the U.S. government's Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Bay area restaurant industry employment and even general retail employment have fallen, and are possibly headed towards a steep decline. One has to wonder how obvious things will have to get before the press takes the negative effects of the area's mandated sky-high minimums seriously.
During Friday night’s Last Man Standing on ABC, in the episode titled “Three Sisters,” Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) does an Outdoor Man commercial promoting the store’s California earthquake kits. As he does the pitch, he looks into the camera and asks the question that many rational people would love to ask the voters of California – why is Governor Jerry Brown still your governor?
The image of America as “a shining city on a hill” (or a similar phrase) has been a staple of conservative political rhetoric for several decades. In a Tuesday piece for The New Republic, Matthew Pratt Guterl, a professor at Brown University, adapted the metaphor for leftist domestic use: “The nation as a whole seems no longer interested in celebrating any vision of equity, justice, and mutual respect. We need new symbols desperately. Blue states—especially those with democratic supermajorities and friendly neighbors, like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, California and Oregon—can be those symbols. And they can turn that symbolism into meaningful practice and policy.”
Another major employer has decided to join the long list of companies moving jobs from California to more business-friendly states. This time, it's $12 billion titan Jacobs Engineering, which is moving its "corporate operations," almost definitely meaning its headquarters, from Pasadena to Dallas, Texas. Press reaction, especially outside of business-oriented outlets, has ranged from nonexistent to muted to, in the case of the Los Angeles Times, a bit snarky.
Has Newsweek just admitted to something the rest of the press knows but won't acknowledge?
In promoting its insufferably fawning portrayal of California Governor Jerry Brown, the weekly magazine tweeted that Brown is "arming California to meet an economic recession head-on." Recession? What recession?
On Tuesday, shortly after Governor Jerry Brown signed California's $15-an-hour minimum wage legislation, the Associated Press's Michael R. Blood and Don Thompson called the move "a victory for those struggling on the margins of the economy and the politically powerful unions that pushed it."
As seen in a NewsBusters post on March 31, it's definitely a win for union members whose wages are set at a multiple of the state's minimum wage. But it's not a "victory" for "struggling" workers who will lose their jobs or not be able to become employed at the higher rate. The AP pair would only concede that "the overall goal of helping the working poor might be lessened if some employers cut jobs or, worse, leave the state." Forget the "if" on employers cutting jobs, guys. That's because, as Jeb Graham at Investor's Business Daily reported on Friday (HT Hot Air), two states which have only raised their minimums to just over $10 have already seen seasonally adjusted job losses (bolds are mine):
The Associated Press sent its cameramen and reporters out to get the reaction of small business owners to California's just-passed six-year plan to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Anyone expecting the AP to find representative responses clearly doesn't understand how the far-left propaganda machine disguised as an objective news service operates. All three business owners interviewed operate in ultra-high-cost San Francisco. The first told AP that $15 an hour "is still probably not enough." The second complained bitterly that the increase should have targeted "multinational corporations" and spared little guys like him. The third demonstrated the likelihood of an upward ripple effect above the minimum-wage level when he signaled his intention to continue to pay more than the minimum even after its 50 percent impact fully hits.
A Los Angeles Times story by Liam Dillon and Patrick McGreevy hailed the "historic" increase in the state-mandated minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Apparently giddy with excitement, the pair also unwisely told readers that many public-sector employees who earn far more will be receiving big raises as a result of the legislation with having to bother negotiating with the government entities involved to get them.
This sentence actually appeared at the web site of the San Jose Mercury News Monday afternoon regarding California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown: "In his 2016 budget plan, the notoriously frugal governor warned that a $15 minimum wage would cost the state about $4 billion a year and risk plunging it back into the red." Yesterday, Governor Brown "sudden(ly) embraced" the $15 minimum wage.
At one time, Brown had a reputation for personal frugality, cultivating it well past its expiration date, even as he and his wife lived in a $1.8 million mansion before he became governor in 2010. He also recently had the state pay $2.5 milllion so he could move into the old governor's mansion. But in the context of reporter Matthew Artz's just-cited sentence, the average reader would surely come away believing that Brown is frugal with taxpayers' money. Hardly.
What do you do if you are a liberal governor trying to present the public image of a concerned environmentalist and then get caught red handed using state employees to find oil on your personal property? Why you have Adam Nagourney of the New York Times perform spin control to paint a picture of yourself as a rugged outdoorsy type surviving as a nature boy on that very same land you wanted to exploit for an accursed fossil fuel. First we find Jerry Brown with his hand caught in the petroleum cookie jar as reported by Breitbart on November 5 followed by the nature boy spin control just now provided by the New York Times.
Imagine a Republican or conservative governor boasting of his or her use of "the coercive power of government" to accomplish center-right policy goals. The political and media backlash would be furious — and justified.
Such statist rhetoric is becoming ever more commonplace on the left, and is rising to ever higher political levels. The establishment press is mostly ignoring this development, and usually omits related inflammatory assertions from its coverage. Statements relating to "climate change" have especially been reinforcing David Horowitz's old adage that "Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out" for several months. Last week in Paris, California Governor Jerry Brown let his inner totalitarian out several times. A video of one such example follows the jump.