Long Beach Supermarket Workers Lose Jobs Due to Higher Minimum Wage

(p. A15) As these things always do, it started out with the best intentions. In January [2021] the City Council of Long Beach, Calif., adopted an ordinance requiring large grocery-store chains to pay employees an extra $4 an hour. The idea was to reward them for the risks they took by doing their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It didn’t turn out that way. In response to the ordinance, Kroger Co. announced it would close two Long Beach supermarkets.

. . .

As one of the world’s largest retailers, Kroger makes an easy villain. But instead of blaming “reckless capitalism,” might the fault lie with the reckless politicians who passed this measure? Thanks to their intervention, instead of finding an extra $4 an hour in their paychecks, nearly 200 grocery workers will now have no paychecks at all unless they are transferred to another store or find another job. It’s but the latest illustration of economist Thomas Sowell’s dictum that whatever a government might set it at, “the real minimum wage is always zero.”

For the full commentary, see:

William McGurn. “The Human Cost of a Minimum Wage.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, February 16, 2021): A15.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date February 15, 2021, and has the same title as the print version.)

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