An independent San Francisco bookstore says it will be closing its doors by March 31, despite having its best year ever in 2014. And it’s pointing at San Francisco’s newly enacted minimum wage law as the reason.
Borderland Books, which specializes in science fiction and horror, says it has withstood a host of challenges since it opened in 1997, including the rise of Amazon.com and e-books, a landlord who supposedly doubled their rent while dotcoms were first booming, and a deep recession that the owners say “hit us very hard.” A higher minimum wage, though, would take the business from being modestly profitable to being a money loser, the owner says.
I couldn't resist Googling "minimum wage and unemployment" to find where "studies show" that the minimum wage has no impact on employment. Sure enough, this turned up from Business for a Fair Minimum Wage .
Research Shows Minimum Wage Increases Do Not Cause Job Loss
Extensive research refutes the claim that increasing the minimum wage causes increased unemployment and business closures. (See list below.)
In a 2013 report, Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?, the Center for Economic and Policy Research spotlights two recent meta-studies analyzing the extensive research conducted since the early 1990s; they conclude that "the minimum wage has little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers.
No doubt, Borderland Books' employees understand the impact that the minimum wage hike has had on their job prospects, in spite of all the studies that claim there isn't one.
Speculating here, but I suspect the same people who lament the demise of the mom and pop retailers also support a minimum wage level that will drive them out of business. I wouldn't necessarily count the folks at Business for a Fair Minimum Wage in that group. It's my guess they've already calculated that a boost in the minimum wage will hurt their competition more than it will hurt them.
And of course the Democratic party is always on board, since a higher minimum wage means contractually higher union wages, which translates to more union money for the Democratic party. Meanwhile, killing off mom and pop businesses will dry up sources of money for the Republican party.
The minimum wage. It's all about compassion and fairness, you know.
While we're speaking of jobs, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton took a look at the official 5.6% current unemployment rate and says it's total BS.
Right now, we're hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is "down" to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.
None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast "falling" unemployment.
There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
We should not overlook that the unemployment number is a creation of the US Department of Labor.
Meet the Secretary of Labor
Nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in on July 23, 2013, Thomas E. Perez is the nation's 26th secretary of labor. He has committed to making good on the promise of opportunity for all, giving every working family a chance to get ahead, and putting a middle-class life within reach of everyone willing to work for it. To accomplish this, Perez's priorities for the department include ensuring a fair day's pay for a fair day's work; connecting ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs, through skills programs like Registered Apprenticeship and on-the-job training; promoting gender equality in the workplace; ensuring that people with disabilities and veterans have access to equal employment opportunity; and insisting on a safe and level playing field for all American workers.
Yes, "opportunity for all," and by their own measure, DOL is doing a great job. And we owe it all to Obama.