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Minimum wage

Liberals in la-la land: High wages, 32-hour workweeks sound great, but there's a steep price

As Minneapolis' Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey said, 'Getting a raise doesn't do a whole lot of good if you lose your job.'

I recently had a layover at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport on my way to visit my parents in Oregon, so I stopped at McDonald鈥檚 for a quick bite.听Rather than being greeted by a human cashier, I was met with a hall of self-serve kiosks, where I placed my order and paid for it.听

Expect to see a lot more machines and far fewer human workers in states and cities that are artificially driving up the cost of employees through higher minimum wages.听

鈥淭he government seems stuck on this way of fixing something that doesn't need to be fixed,鈥 Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors, told me. 鈥淚t messes up the marketplace, and businesses attempt to find a way around it because these are not market-based wages 鈥 and today with robotics and computers they can. So it ends up hurting people.鈥澛

While efficient, at the Minneapolis airport is emblematic of what happens when the government distorts the marketplace with a heavy-handed regulatory approach.听

Minneapolis has 鈥 more than twice the 鈥 for large employers, but that wage will apply to all businesses starting this summer. While the airport isn鈥檛 technically part of any city, its employers are no doubt forced to offer comparable wages to attract workers.听

Screens have taken over at the McDonald's in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport.

High wages are having other effects, too. if they want to call an Uber or a Lyft. Both companies are leaving town in May after the (several of the 13 are declared ) applied the minimum wage to drivers, overriding the mayor鈥檚 veto. The companies said the mandate makes operations in the city unsustainable.听

So in the effort to increase pay for drivers, the city council effectively will strip thousands of jobs and leave many people without transportation.听

As Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey said in an interview, 鈥淕etting a raise doesn鈥檛 do a whole lot of good .鈥

Nice work, Minneapolis.

California hikes minimum wage, employers lay people off

Then there鈥檚 California. In what should have been an April Fools鈥 joke, a law requiring fast-food workers at large chains to earn $20 a hour took effect April 1.听

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed the law last year. Obviously, businesses aren鈥檛 happy .听

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Newsom admitted as much when he tried to give his buddy Greg Flynn, who runs Panera Bread franchises in California, a loophole from the law. Flynn is a big , and Newsom for restaurants 鈥渕aking in-house bread.鈥澛

NFC championship game: California Governor Gavin Newsom watches the San Francisco 49ers play the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Jan. 28, 2024.

After the justified uproar that Flynn was getting special favors, .

It鈥檚 no surprise that even before the new minimum wage became reality, restaurants started planning layoffs. For instance, Pizza Hut has said it will cut more than 1,000 delivery jobs. Many more are following suit.

As any economist could have predicted, these businesses are having to downsize their workforce, reduce hours and raise prices. when the government meddles in the private market.听

It鈥檚 hard to see how this benefits anyone in the long run. Minimum wage jobs have traditionally existed to give people an entry point into the work world, but government-driven inflated wages will take those opportunities away from inexperienced workers.听

And this government intervention ignores that workers have more choices than ever.听

鈥淚t鈥檚 such a competitive marketplace and unemployment is so low that if you鈥檙e disappointed in the job in either the culture or the wage or the working conditions, you can move,鈥 Wesbury said.

Less work for same pay? Welcome to Bernie鈥檚 world.听

You can always count on Congress鈥 resident socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, to come up with truly wild (and costly) ideas. He鈥檚 a constant pusher of and high .

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Sanders also says Americans . Employers would be forced to continue paying workers the same pay and benefits as they get for working 40 hours. And he鈥檚 not just thinking about it 鈥 .听

Sounds pretty darn good, I have to say.听

US Senator and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference with labor leaders to make an announcement on the federal minimum wage, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2023.

Unfortunately, in the real world, companies would have to make adjustments to afford this cushy new employee benefit. Employers would either have to hire more workers or lose out on productivity, and consumers would face higher prices as a result.听Other unintended consequences would surely follow.

Bottom line: The private sector works best when the government gets out of the way. It鈥檚 a lesson liberals never seem to learn.听

Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at 91影视. Contact her at ijacques@usatoday.com or on X, formerly Twitter: @

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