Progressive Narrative Fail: Why Are Low Income Workers and the Unemployed Running from High Minimum Wage States to Low Minimum Wage States?
I think many folks are aware of how certain wealthy neighborhoods use zoning to keep out the lower-income people they don't want around (e.g. minimum lot sizes, minimum home sizes, petty harassment over home and lawn maintenance, etc.) If you think of California as one big rich neighborhood, many of their labor and housing laws have this same effect of keeping lower income people out.
Every year from 2000 through 2015, more people left California than moved in from other states. This migration was not spread evenly across all income groups, a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data found. The people leaving tend to be relatively poor, and many lack college degrees. Move higher up the income spectrum, and slightly more people are coming than going.
About 2.5 million people living close to the official poverty line left California for other states from 2005 through 2015, while 1.7 million people at that income level moved in from other states – for a net loss of 800,000.
The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.
Wow, I am totally lost. The minimum wage currently in California is $10.50 an hour, going up to $15 over the next 5 years. The minimum wage in Texas is the Federal minimum at $7.25. If I understand it right from progressives, minimum wages are a windfall for workers that raise wages without any reduction in employment. So why are the very people California claims it is trying to help leaving the state in droves? For unenlightened Texas, of all places.
Of course the reason is that minimum wages do indeed have employment effects.If you think of California as one big rich neighborhood, minimum wages act as a zoning plan to keep the "unwashed" out. Setting a minimum wage of $15 is equivalent to saying, "if your skills and education and experience are low enough that your labor is not yet worth $15 an hour or more, stay out."
Of course, there are a lot more problems for jobs in California than just minimum wages. At every turn, California works to make operating a business difficult and hiring unskilled workers more expensive. And then there is the cost side. With its building restrictions and environmental rules, most California cities have artificially inflated housing costs, just another way to tell lower income people to keep out.
Well-paid new arrivals in California enjoy a life that is far out of reach of much of the state’s population. Besides Hawaii and New York, California has the highest cost of living in America.
During the past three years in Sacramento, median rent for a one-bedroom apartment has risen from about $935 a month to $1,230 a month, according to real estate tracking firm Zillow.com. A single mother working 40 hours a week at $15 an hour would spend nearly half of her gross income to afford an apartment at that price. She would pay about 10 percent less for a one-bedroom rental in Houston or Dallas.
Sacramento remains relatively affordable compared to other California markets. Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is about $2,270 a month. In San Francisco, $3,700. Without subsidies, those prices are unreachable for a single parent making $15 an hour.
The key to attacking poverty is creating more jobs, not artificially raising the rates of entry-level jobs.