Fighting for $15… By Saying Businesses That Pay Less Shouldn’t Exist – CPC Newsletter

By Jordan Bruneau
February 26, 2021

The teachers union vaccine bargaining chip: This week, Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner told the school board that all school employees must be vaccinated before elementary classrooms can reopen. At the behest of teachers unions, other districts in the state have also made this anti-science demand, which Gov. Newsom has called unrealistic. Newsom announced last Friday that 10 percent of the state vaccine allotment would go to teachers. Even with this enormous concession, teachers unions have signaled that vaccinations won’t be enough to get them back in classrooms. They’ll need a massive payoff too.

After the classroom holdout comes the strike: Teachers unions still have their ace of hearts in their back pocket: a strike. As if there was any doubt, this week the LA teachers union announced it intended to play this card, planning a strike vote in the coming weeks. In a pre-vote this week, 93% of union chapter chairs elected to “organize around a refusal to return for a full or hybrid physical reopening of schools” until their conditions are met.

Nearly the entire state has passed Newsom’s school reopening benchmark: New CPC research shows that 55 out of 58 counties, covering 99.9% of the state population, have reached Newsom’s K-6 school reopening threshold.

No wonder charter schools are so popular: In his latest piece, CPC contributor Edward Ring highlights how demand has skyrocketed at Orange County Classical Academy, a CPC-cofounded charter school whose classrooms have remained open: “The upcoming 2021-2022 academic year will only be this primary school’s second year of operation, but they have over 500 applicants on their waiting list with only 60 slots available….” During the school’s initial approval process in 2019, union-backed school board members who opposed the school “claimed ‘the projected enrollment is overly optimistic.’ That clearly wasn’t the case.”

Fighting perceived racism with real racism: In his latest piece, CPC contributor Larry Sand highlights how elite public schools are upending meritocratic entrance exams in favor of thinly veiled race-based metrics to try to increase racial equity: “At the same time that the indoctrination of American students continues to work its way through the schools, its evil twin ‘equity’ is advancing right along with it. As the race-obsessed Ibram X. Kendi explains, equity exists when “two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing.” In other words, if 10 percent of white kids are in a school’s gifted program, equity demands that 10 percent of black kids are also included.”

Who’s really the wage thief? California Assembly Lorena Gonzalez, of AB5 infamy, is back with a proposed state law to send employers to jail for wage theft. The phrase “wage theft” is slippery. Literally stealing employees’ wages? It seldom happens, and few would argue with potential jail time for that. But consider a far more common variant of so-called wage theft: An employer gives his employees a Christmas bonus. Then his employees work overtime, and the employer pays them at the time-and-a-half overtime rate. BUT, the employer doesn’t factor the Christmas bonus into the workers’ base rate of pay for calculating time-and-a-half overtime. Ergo, he is guilty of wage theft and — under Gonalez’s proposal — could get thrown in jail. As if being an employer in California wasn’t scary enough already.

Don’t “toy stores” have it hard enough already? Perhaps no sector of the economy has suffered more from globalization, online shopping, and onerous labor regulations than neighborhood toy stores. Even the name “toy store” seems quaint, harkening back to a simpler time. California legislators seem intent to sacrifice those few remaining at the altar of gender politics with a new bill that would fine retailers that have separate “girls” and “boys” toy sections. Madness!

Burying the lead on “Hero Pay”: This week, the LA City Council passed a measure to require grocery stores and drugstores to pay their employees an extra $5 an hour in “Hero Pay.” The ordinance follows similar moves by other cities, including Oakland, San Jose, and Long Beach. Councilman John Lee, the lone vote against the measure, said the wage mandate is “gross overreach of government.” In the LA Times’ coverage of the measure, it waited until the third last sentence to note that after Hero Pay was introduced in Long Beach, Kroger, whose profit margins are mere pennies on the dollar, announced it would have to shut two stores as a result.

Becerra grilled in Washington: On the latest episode of National Review’s Radio Free California, CPC President Will Swaim and board member David Bahnsen discuss Xavier Becerra’s judgment day in the U.S. Senate, how Newsom could kill the recall movement by ending school lockdowns, and state bills looking to chase even more businesses out of the state.

The perspective of a California state rep: Assemblyman Kevin Kiley says the fundamental problem with California is the power of government unions to “centralize more and more power in Sacramento,” sidelining workaday citizens. Speaking on a February 25 Zoom call with CPC’s California Local Elected Officials members, the Placer County Republican and author updated officials on the Newsom Recall (“likely to qualify”) and the governor’s COVID response (“The cure isn’t just worse than the disease, it’s making the disease worse”).

Fights for $15… by saying businesses that pay less shouldn’t exist: U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said this week, “We don’t want low-wage businesses,” in response to a question about how beleaguered employers could afford a $15 minimum wage.

What an elitist. With this anti-business political mindset, it’s no wonder California has the nation’s third-highest unemployment rate.

Khanna should climb down from his Yale Law School ivory tower and take a stroll through the business districts in almost any part of the state aside from a few luxury zip codes. If he did, he’d find businesses barely hanging on — and employees with no other options if their employers go belly-up.

Khanna’s statement demonstrates zero self-reflection about how the government policies that he supports — high taxes, burdensome regulations, green building codes, soft on crime and homelessness, etc. — are a major reason ordinary small businesses can’t pay their workers more. If small businesses didn’t have to pay so much to the state just to operate, they’d have more money for pay hikes.

One of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence was: The British government “has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” The exact same complaint — with maybe some modern phraseology — could be applied today to California politicians, who treat businesses like cows to be milked.

California politicians aren’t progressives. They’re utopians. Anything that doesn’t fit their imaginations of how society oughta work is banned, regulated, and taxed. This political ideology and practice isn’t democracy. It’s autocracy.

True backers of democracy would recognize, respect, and subsume their political will to the greatest democratic force on the planet: the free market.

If Californians want to support stores that pay “Hero pay,” they will demonstrate this preference with their shopping decisions in the same way that parents demonstrate their support for quality schools by lining up outside charters. If consumers want gender-neutral toy stores, they will demand them in the same way that airline shoppers demanded cramped seating in return for $79 flights to Chicago. And if people don’t think businesses that pay less than $15 should exist, they can boycott them the same way they largely stopped purchasing fur because of animal cruelty concerns.

Yet somehow when a small group of anointed politicians carry out their vision at the expense of the rest of us, that’s deemed democracy. And capitalism is called tyranny.

Who can blame employers and residents who want to leave California not only for a freer but also a more democratic state?

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