How Many Layoffs are Too Many for the Left

by: the Common Constitutionalist

When we hear practically anything regarding the minimum wage, we’ve been conditioned to first and only think of fast-food workers – McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, etc. But there are many other low skilled workers being paid on the same scale.

But particularly recently, as many States are pressured by far-left groups like “Fight for 15,” to increase the minimum wage, it is the fast-food employee which takes center stage.

Article after article has been written by liberal economists attempting to convince the public that a wage hike will not only not have a negative effect, but instead will be a positive.

In 2014, Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden, took such a position. But we on the right understand that words mean things and as such, when reading a post written by a leftist, one must read a little more carefully.

Arguing that “raising the minimum wage doesn’t lead to layoffs,” he wrote: “Those who argue that increases in the minimum wage will lead to large numbers of layoffs have a problem: They’re consistently wrong. Job losses from moderate increases in the minimum wage have repeatedly been shown to range from zero to ‘small…’” read more

Oregon’s Poor Will Soon Feel the Effects of a New Minimum Wage

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Last week Oregon Governor Kate Brown gleefully signed into law a progressive statewide minimum wage increase. It will be phased in over the next six years, starting this July. “I’m proud to sign into law my top priority of the 2016 Legislative session — raising the minimum wage,” Brown said in a statement. She said the new law “is a path forward – so working families can catch up, and businesses have time to plan for the increase.” Plan to close down or lay off half their staff maybe.

The current Oregon minimum wage is $9.25/hour. I say progressive because the area of the state will determine the base “living wage.” If one works in rural Oregon the wage will increase to $12.50/hr. – small cities and towns, $13.50 and large cities like Portland, the hourly minimum wage will top out at $14.75.

But as is being reported, some are still not satisfied. And why would they be? We should know by now that the far left can and will never be placated. No matter how much wealth government redistributes, it will never be enough.

A left wing advocacy group, “Oregonians for 15,” is unsatisfied with both the amount and phase-in time. They want $15/hr. in three years. They are threatening a State ballot initiative this November if they don’t get what they want. read more

Homelessness Is the Fault of Liberals

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Newsflash: America has a homeless problem. Actually, many are calling it a crisis or an epidemic. No matter which superlative one cares to use, I think we can all agree it’s a large problem and each year liberals are in charge of government, the numbers of homeless increase.

Every major city in the country has seen a dramatic uptick in homelessness and the common denominator are always leftists. Whether it is at the federal, state or local level, liberals in government are the cause of the homeless disaster.

In downtown Los Angeles, the famous homeless area known as Skid Row now spans 50 city blocks. Reverend Andy Bales is the chief executive of the Union Rescue Mission, who help those on Skid Row. He says what is happening there is, “the worst man-made disaster in the U.S.”

The Reverend is indeed correct. Rampant homelessness is entirely man-made. Oh sure, there will always be a certain segment of society that are homeless by choice. They choose not to participate in the standard societal model, for want of a better term. But in days gone by, our welfare system, such that it is, could account for them.

But now the “system” is being overwhelmed. 50 city blocks, the size of the aforementioned Skid Row is larger than many towns in America and the largest increase in homelessness is in our nation’s capital where the number of homeless families has gone up by 60%. How on earth is a city expected to accommodate a 60% rise in homeless families? read more

Book Store Closes Due To Minimum Wage Hike

The following is a news release from Borderland Books in San Francisco explaining why they must close up shop after 18 years in business.

Borderlands Books to Close in March

In 18 years of business, Borderlands has faced a number of challenges.  The first and clearest was in 2000, when our landlord increased our rent by 100% and we had to move to our current location on Valencia Street.  All of the subsequent ones have been less clear-cut but more difficult.  The steady movement towards online shopping, mostly with Amazon, has taken a steady toll on bookstores throughout the world and Borderlands was no exception.  After that and related to it, has been the shift towards ebooks and electronic reading devices.  And finally the Great Recession of 2009 hit us very hard, especially since we had just opened a new aspect to the business in the form of ourcafe.But, through all those challenges, we’ve managed to find a way forward and 2014 was the best year we’ve ever had.  The credit for that achievement goes to the fine and extraordinary group of people who have come together to work here.  Their hard work, combined with the flawless execution and attention to detail provided by Jude Feldman, Borderlands’ General Manager, is the reason we’ve succeeded for these past 18 years.Throughout the years we’ve managed to plan for the problems that we could predict and, when we couldn’t plan for them, we’ve just worked our asses off to get through.  Overall, Borderlands has managed to defeat every problem that has come our way.  At the beginning of 2014, the future of the business looked, if not rosy, at least stable and very positive.  We were not in debt, sales were meeting expenses and even allowing a small profit, and, perhaps most importantly, the staff and procedures at both the bookstore and the cafe were well established and working smoothly.

So it fills us with sorrow and horror to say that we will be closing very soon.

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018.  Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage.  Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.  The cafe will continue to operate until at least the end of this year.

Many businesses can make adjustments to allow for increased wages.  The cafe side of Borderlands, for example, should have no difficulty at all.  Viability is simply a matter of increasing prices.  And, since all the other cafes in the city will be under the same pressure, all the prices will float upwards.  But books are a special case because the price is set by the publisher and printed on the book.  Furthermore, for years part of the challenge for brick-and-mortar bookstores is that companies like Amazon.com have made it difficult to get people to pay retail prices.  So it is inconceivable to adjust our prices upwards to cover increased wages.

The change in minimum wage will mean our payroll will increase roughly 39%.  That increase will in turn bring up our total operating expenses by 18%.  To make up for that expense, we would need to increase our sales by a minimum of 20%.  We do not believe that is a realistic possibility for a bookstore in San Francisco at this time.

The other obvious alternative to increasing sales would be to decrease expenses.  The only way to accomplish the amount of savings needed would be to reduce our staff to: the current management (Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman), and one other part-time employee.  Alan would need to take over most of Jude’s administrative responsibilities and Jude would work the counter five to six days per week.  Taking all those steps would allow management to increase their work hours by 50-75% while continuing to make roughly the same modest amount that they make now (by way of example, Alan’s salary was $28,000 last year).  That’s not an option for obvious reasons and for at least one less obvious one — at the planned minimum wage in 2018, either of them would earn more than their current salary working only 40 hours per week at a much less demanding job that paid minimum wage.

Although the major effects of the increasing minimum wage won’t be felt for a while, we’ve chosen to close now instead of waiting for two reasons.  First, the minimum wage has already increased from $10.74 per hour to $11.05 (as of January 1st) and it will increase again on May 1st to $12.25.  Continuing to pay the higher wage without any corresponding increase in income will expend the store’s cash assets.  In essence, the store will have less money (or inventory) six months from now, so closing sooner rather than later makes better business sense.  But more importantly, keeping up our morale and continuing to serve our customers while knowing that we are going to close has been very painful for all of us over the past three months.  Continuing to do so for even longer would be horrible.  Far better to close at a time of our choosing, keep everyone’s sorrow to a minimum, and then get on with our lives.

Some of you may be wondering, what can I do to help?  Honestly, the best thing that you can do for us is — come in and buy books!  We’ve got an awful lot of damn good ones and we’d love to see every single one go to someone who appreciates it before we close.  We’re also going to be selling all our shelves and other fixtures.  It would make us very happy to know that our hand-built shelves were going to sit in the living room of someone who was a customer of ours and who appreciates their history.  And finally, if you’re looking for a way to remember Borderlands (and you already have enough shelves and books — crazy though that idea is) — we’re having hooded sweatshirts made with our logo and “1997 – 2015” on them. Once we’re closed, there’ll never be another place to get them again. We’ll have those in by the middle of February.

But, more importantly than coming in and buying stuff, please come in and say, “Hi”.  The best thing about this business has been our customers and we’re going to miss you all (well, most of you at least <grin>).  But please do be considerate of us; we all understand that finding that we’re closing may be sad and upsetting but remember — it’s even harder for us. Borderlands was our livelihood, our pride & joy, and, for many of us, it was a big part of what defined us.  Although we understand your feeling of loss, it is dwarfed by what we are feeling. So come in, give us your best wishes, and try to be cheerful.  Everything changes and everything ends.  We did a hell of a job for a long time and now it’s time for us to do something else.

Some of you reading this probably have questions popping into your minds — Is there a way to keep Borderlands open?  What alternatives have you considered?  What about moving out of SF?  What is going to happen to the cafe?  Is the business for sale?  And so on.  Before asking us your questions, please wait for a week.  We’ll be sending out and posting updates frequently over the next week or so and those updates will probably answer most of your questions.  We will also be holding a public meeting in the cafe at seven P. M. on Thursday, February 12th. We’ll be on hand to answer questions and moderate a discussion about alternatives to closing the store.  Although we do not believe that any viable alternative exists, we also think that we have a very smart and imaginative group of customers.  It is not impossible that we’ve missed a potential solution, and so we want an opportunity to hear your thoughts.

Thank you all for your support, business, and friendship over these last 18 years.  This has been the best job that any of us has ever had and we’re very grateful to you for giving us the chance to do it.

Real World Economy Versus The Minimum Wage

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Once again liberals have demonstrated that they just don’t get how the economy works. They are so utterly ignorant.

When purchasing an item, do you ever comparison shop? Of course. Most everyone has or does. And you want to get the most for your dollar. Again, of course – otherwise, why comparison shop. And if you see two of the same product, with different prices, all things being equal, you would choose the lower cost item.

Maybe one of the two products presents better value for the same cost. Again the obvious choice would be to choose the better product for that same cost.

And so it is for labor. Labor is a product. Companies don’t hire people out of a sense of charity. No – even for the lowest position in the company, people come in and fill out an application, maybe submit a resume and possibly fill out an evaluation form. Then someone goes through the applications.

And what are they doing? Why, the HR person or whomever is comparison shopping. He or she is looking for the best, most qualified candidate for that particular position at a predetermined cost. They’re looking for the biggest bang for their buck. He or she is looking for a hire who will bring at least as much value to the company as they will be paid. Otherwise, it is just charity. read more

An Argument Against The Minimum Wage Hike

By: the Common Constitutionalist

The fervor for a hike in the national minimum wage is picking up steam as RINO republicans like Mitt Romney are jumping on board.

Is it just me? I thought Romney was a brilliant businessman with a keen economic mind.

Could he possibly be signaling than another run at the White House is being considered? Why else would he pile on the populous political bandwagon?

With all the fuss over this issue, one would think it affects a large portion of the workforce.

Well, here are some statistics. Approximately 1.6 million people will be “positively” affected by the minimum wage, to start. There are about 318 million people in America today. Let’s just say half of them are of working age.

So without even doing the math, you can plainly see that we’re not even talking about a sliver of the overall working age population.

Now of these 1.6 million, a third, or about half a million are kids between the ages of 16 and 19. You know those kids. I sure do. Those with after school and weekend jobs (maybe, if their lucky), living at home with no expenses and virtually everything provided for them. read more