Hey, New York! How's that $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Working for Ya?

Protesters participate in a rally on Chicago's south side as labor organizers escalate their campaign raise the minimum wage for employees to $15 an hour.(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The lede from this Wall Street Journal article says it all: “More than six months after the $15 minimum wage went into effect in New York City, business leaders and owners say the increased labor costs have forced them to cut staff, eliminate work shifts and raise prices.”



Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books, says, “There’s absolutely no benefit to being a retail business in New York.” The unions, the conniving politicians, the anti-capitalist activists who were the driving force behind the “Fight for 15” movement have done a great job. They have all benefited while the workers and businesses have suffered the consequences.

Susannah Koteen, owner of Lido Restaurant in Harlem, said she worries about the impact raising wages could have on her restaurant, where she employs nearly 40 people. She hasn’t had to lay off anyone, but the increase has forced her to cut back on shifts and be more stringent about overtime. She said she changes her menu offerings seasonally and raises prices more often since the wage boost.

“What it really forces you to do is make sure that nobody works more than 40 hours,” Ms. Koteen said. “You can only cut back so many people before the service starts to suffer.”

Ms. Koteen said she shelved plans to move her restaurant to a larger location. That would require her to hire more staff, and she isn’t willing to take the risk with the unpredictability of her business. “You would just have no choice but to cut people at the bottom,” she said.


All of this was predicted. There are no surprises whatsoever in the way that businesses are suffering.

Perhaps most poignant of all, we can look back at the demonstrations by the poor, deluded workers who actually believed the propaganda that no jobs would be lost, no hours cut, and that businesses wouldn’t suffer if wages were nearly doubled.

It was possible for the promoters of “Fight for 15” to trick the workers because they were incapable of understanding one of the most basic, underlying principles that make a capitalist economy work. That being, a workers’ labor is worth no more and no less than the value they deliver to the company that employs them. Even unions eventually understood that concept — too late, as it turned out for many of them.

For advocates of the $15 an hour minimum wage, it doesn’t matter:

Anthony Advincula, spokesman for Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which advocated for the $15 minimum wage, said there are other factors beyond higher wages that result in unsuccessful businesses, and owners shouldn’t blame the boost for their struggles.

“Increasing to $15 would reduce income inequality, and the number of individuals living in poverty now is ridiculously high,” he said. “This is not just a business issue, this is a race, gender, pay-equality issue.”


Hear that? He is parroting the same crap that was used to sell this snake oil in the first place. And when in doubt, always play the race card.

“Pay equality” doesn’t mean squat if you’re out of a job, or can’t get one because businesses like Lido Restaurant in Harlem don’t expand because it’s too costly and the business climate too uncertain. Fat chance it will change anything at this point, anyway. Even if New York’s economy tanks, politicians and advocates will still be spouting the same nonsensical gibberish that got them in this trouble in the first place.



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