As expected, California’s Governor Jerry Brown recently signed the bill to raise the California minimum wage from $8 to $10 per hour. Why? The bill’s author, Luis Alejo, says that raising the minimum wage will make it easier for some people to afford their bills.
While it’s true that some will experience a raise as a result of this bill, it’s equally true that some may never see a raise again.
How come? Well, since it will soon be illegal to hire people for less than $10 per hour, those whose services are not worth that much to employers will be priced out of the labor market. (Who are these people? It is usually the less experienced, less educated, and less skilled.)
They will, in effect, now be forced to stop competing by offering lower wages. Yet that’s often their only selling point. The minimum wage will, consequently, make it impossible for them to exercise their right to work for a living.
Now, to be clear, by “the right to work,” I do not mean that you are somehow entitled to a job or an income. What I mean is the right, i.e., the freedom, to pursue and take the best job voluntarily offered to you, on whatever terms you and your employer can voluntarily agree upon.
With that crucial freedom negated, how are these individuals supposed to pay for their bills? What about their lives? What about their future?