California’s $20 Fast Food Minimum Wage Law Is Already Having Disastrous Unintended Consequences

“if it’s win-win, why just make the minimum $20? Why not $30? Or $100?

Because government requiring higher wages is not a win-win.

Interfering with market prices always creates nasty unintended consequences.”

“No. 1: Thousands of Californians have already lost jobs because some restaurants closed. Others lost income because their employer cut worker hours. The chain El Pollo Loco cut employees’ hours by 10 percent.

Pizza Hut announced that they will lay off more than a thousand delivery drivers. One such driver, Michael Ojeda, understandably asked, “What’s the point of a raise if you don’t have a job?”

No. 2: Workers who still have jobs will lose them because now their employers have more incentive to automate. Chipotle just created a robot that makes burrito bowls. Even CNN acknowledged, “Some restaurants are replacing [fast food workers] with kiosks.”

No. 3: Prices go up.”

Glenn Youngkin Withdraws Virginia From California’s Electric Vehicle Mandate

“California first adopted its Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) standard in 2012. The rules required automakers to gradually increase sales of zero-emission vehicles as a percent of total sales in California, culminating in an 8-percent share in 2025. Plug-in hybrids, which use both electric and gas-powered motors, counted for partial credit toward the total.
The Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 1965 in 2021, which directed the State Air Pollution Control Board to adopt low-emission and zero-emission vehicle standards equivalent to California’s. The bill was signed into law by then-Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, whose support helped guarantee the bill’s passage. Virginia is among 18 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted some or all of California’s regulations.

But the following year, California adopted Advanced Clean Cars II, which greatly expanded the requirements of the original standard. Under the new rules, the zero-emission requirement would jump from 8 percent of automaker’s sales for model year 2025 all the way to 35 percent in 2026, increasing each year until 100 percent of all new vehicles sold for model year 2035 must be electric.

The following day, Youngkin and the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates indicated their intent to repeal H.B. 1965 and uncouple the state from California’s rules, but the Democrat-controlled state Senate squashed their efforts the following year. In the 2023 elections, Democrats regained control of the House of Delegates while keeping control of the Senate, and the state Senate once again defeated efforts to repeal the law in January 2024.

Ultimately, California’s more aggressive rules provided the legal justification for Virginia’s withdrawal. Youngkin’s press release claims that H.B. 1965 merely authorized the state to follow Advanced Clean Cars I, the rules in place at the time that went through 2025. “An opinion from Attorney General Jason Miyares confirms the law, as written, does not require Virginia to follow ACC II,” the press release continues. “Therefore, the Commonwealth will follow federal emissions standards on January 1, 2025.”

“We are alarmed that Governor Youngkin thinks that he is above the law,” Nicole Vaughan, communications director for the Virginia Conservation Network, tells Reason in a statement. “Legislation passed in 2021 directs Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board to adopt Advanced Clean Cars and subsequent updates to the program. In doing so, Virginia exercised an option under the federal Clean Air Act to follow the more stringent standards adopted by California and several other states to address tailpipe pollution.””

California Is Doubling Down on Banning Plastic Bags

“”Manufacturing a paper bag takes about four times as much energy as it takes to produce a plastic bag, plus the chemicals and fertilizers…create additional harm to the environment,” explains National Geographic. “(F)or a paper bag to neutralize its environmental impact compared to plastic, it would have to be used anywhere from three to 43 times.” Given that paper bags aren’t very durable, “it is unlikely that a person would get enough use out of any one bag to even out the environmental impact.””

California Is Trying To Drive Landlords Out of Business

“What do the state’s insurance and housing crises have in common? Obviously, homeowner policies have an impact on housing costs, but I’m referring to something different, namely the concept of open-ended risk. Insurers are exiting the market because state policies limit their ability to price policies to reflect the risk of a major wildfire season. They rather pull out of California than risk the destruction of their assets.
I’d argue the same thing is happening in the rental market, thanks to a fusillade of pro-tenant laws that subject landlords to an incalculable level of risk. Landlords have freely entered the business and understand the various ups and downs. They can calculate the costs of mortgages, taxes, insurance, and maintenance. They expect to, say, replace carpets and paint between tenants. They know the cost of the eviction process in those instances where it’s necessary.

But the Legislature’s anti-property-rights crusade—done in the name of protecting tenants in a tight housing market—has not only increased those easily calculated costs, but also the costs that are potentially devastating. It’s one thing to realize it might require x-number of legal fees to remove a bad tenant and quite another to wrap one’s head around the possibility of someone staying in a rent-controlled unit forever.”

California Won’t Let Homeowners Insurance Companies Raise Rates, so They’re Leaving the State Instead

“The state’s leaders are acting like this is some unexpected perfect storm, but it’s one that’s been on the horizon for several years. “California’s one-two punch—forcing companies to write risky policies while also limiting their ability to charge market rates—would leave insurers with little choice but stop writing new policies,” I wrote in 2021. Last March, I warned insurance companies are “quietly fleeing” the state. Two months later, they stopped being quiet about it. In May, State Farm announced its freeze on writing new homeowner policies.”

California’s Attack on Gig Work Predictably Drove Workers Out of Jobs

“California’s attempt at forcing gig workers to become traditional employees backfired by driving many of those workers out of their jobs.
In the wake of a new law (Assembly Bill 5) that was intended to reclassify many independent contractors as regular employees, self-employment in California fell by 10.5 percent and overall employment tumbled by 4.4 percent, according to a study released Thursday by the Mercatus Center, a free market think tank housed at George Mason University. In professions where self-employment was more common, the effects were more dramatic, and in some fields employment declined by as much as 28 percent after A.B. 5’s implementation.”

California’s New Minimum Wage Is Predictably Killing Food Delivery Jobs

“A new California law will require that most food-service workers get paid at least $20 per hour starting next year.
But hundreds of pizza delivery drivers in the Los Angeles area are about to discover Thomas Sowell’s famous adage that the true minimum wage is zero.

Pizza Hut announced Wednesday that it would lay off about 1,200 delivery drivers in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties, CBS News reported. Pizza Hut franchises are outsourcing delivery to third-party apps like GrubHub and UberEats as a cost-saving measure in advance of the new law taking effect.”

How Some of California’s Worst Schools Got Better at Teaching Reading

“Back in 2017, the families of children in some of California’s worst-performing public schools sued the state for failing to teach low-income black and Hispanic children how to read. This led to a legal settlement in which the state’s 75 worst-performing elementary schools agreed to invest in evidence-based reading instruction—that is, in training teachers to use techniques, such as phonics, for which there is strong evidence that they work.
According to a new working paper from two Stanford researchers, the extra training helped. Students’ reading scores improved when compared to students from other poorly performing schools. The score increases were roughly as valuable as an additional 25 percent of a school year.”

San Francisco’s APEC Cleanup Hasn’t ‘Fixed’ Its Homelessness Problem

“there’s the one homelessness problem experienced by the homeless themselves through a lack of housing. Then there’s the other homelessness problem experienced by the public generally through exposure to a bunch of vagrancy and disorderly behavior spilling out into streets because of that lack of homes.
San Francisco’s APEC cleanup did nothing to address the first homelessness problem, which is what the local homeless advocates are complaining about. The city simply moved some homeless people from one area of the city to another. Some have plausibly ended up inside homeless shelters or less visible spots on the street. But, the number of homeless people in the city remains as high as ever.

San Francisco did make some progress on the second homelessness problem by dismantling tent encampments, replacing people on the streets with flower boxes, and creating a heavily policed security cordon covering a few city blocks.

Even still, the city hardly “fixed” its second homelessness problem. It just shifted encampments and vagrant behavior away from the downtown.”

“San Francisco is one of the richest cities in the free world. Its residents shouldn’t have to choose between a degraded quality of life that comes with thousands of people living on the streets and an aggressive police state that keeps those thousands of homeless out of sight and out of mind.
Escaping that unhappy tradeoff would require the city, and the surrounding region, to radically liberalize housing construction.

That would bring housing prices down and bring a lot more people inside. That wouldn’t solve everyone’s problems, but it would mean a lot of dysfunctional behavior playing out in public will instead move behind closed doors.

A less overwhelmed San Francisco city government (and voluntary philanthropic actors) could also more judiciously deal with those remaining people that insist on pitching a tent in the park or smoking meth on the street.”

California’s War on Fast Food Jobs

“The unions are claiming a victory for workers, but it’s not hard to guess the result. Higher prices will mean fewer customers and reduced profits. That means fewer restaurants and fewer jobs. Although the legislation only applies to fast-food chains with more than 60 outlets, it will drive up costs for mom-and-pop restaurants. They will have to compete for workers with chains that must pay a much-higher wage.
That’s not the only bad news. “Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed,” wrote famed economist Thomas Sowell. In other words, restaurants will not hire people who aren’t productive enough to justify the wage.”