It is often said that California foretells the nation’s future. If so, we should really be worried about the cost of living.
Last week, the shorthanded Supreme Court bounced back into action with orders on the pending clutter of cases. Among a slew of cert denials, some grants in mostly tedious cases, a handful of CVSG’s (Call for the views of the Solicitor General), and a gaggle of housekeeping orders, there was a relist in The Gillette Company v. California Franchise Tax Board. The humble Question Presented is whether the Multistate Tax Compact has the status of a contract that binds its signatory States. Gillette and a bunch of other companies say “yes.” California says the Compact was just a good-natured joke, and the California Supreme Court agreed.
Both California and New York have passed minimum wage legislation that will prevent in relatively short order their citizens from working for less than fifteen dollars an hour. The New York bill will double the minimum wage. The California bill will increase the minimum wage by fifty percent. Even in a political climate growing increasing hostile to liberty such legislation stands out as an egregiously irresponsible and ignorant intrusion on freedom.
We hear a lot about “denialists” when it comes to climate change, but these enactments represent a massive denial about basic truths of economics. When a commodity—in this case labor—becomes substantially more expensive, people will buy less of it. The result of these laws will more unemployment for the least able among us.
Does anyone doubt that if newspapers, including those who editorialize in favor of such increases, were required by the government to double their subscription price that they would sell substantially fewer newspapers? Or if the government decreed that salaries of tenured professors must be go up by half, that colleges would substitute other kinds of instructional tools for tenured professors?
The Washington Post’s Dan Balz is a well-informed observer of (among other things) political polarization among states. One of his earlier pieces is here along with a few comments by yours truly. Yesterday’s Post has another long-front page Balz article on the subject, along with a companion piece on Texas and California –mega-states that have adopted very different social models.
Here’s a case worth watching: this past April, the Center for Individual Rights (lead attorney Michael Rosman) and Jones Day (Michael Carvin) filed a First Amendment challenge to California’s “agency shops” for public school teachers. (An “agency shop” means that non-union members must still pay a fee to the union for activities related to collective bargaining.) Plaintiffs are teachers who have about had it with the defendant unions. The State of California will likely join the case on the defendants’ side. A recent blog on the case is here; a copy of the complaint here. This baby ought to move fast:…
The Wall Street Journal reports that the proceeds of a multistate settlement of state lawsuits over banks’ alleged foreclosure abuses have been put to uses that have nothing to do with foreclosures, mortgages, or banks. Nearly forty percent of the states’ $2.5 billion recovery has ended up in the states’ general funds, either to plug holes in state budgets or to start new boondoggles. Three of the top ten settling states (California, Georgia, and New Jersey) have put their entire recovery to this use. California alone plunked its $410 million recovery in the general fund, where it has since disappeared.