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.”

https://reason.com/2024/01/18/californias-attack-on-gig-work-predictably-drove-workers-out-of-jobs/

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.”

https://reason.com/2023/12/27/californias-new-minimum-wage-is-predictably-killing-food-delivery-jobs/

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.”

https://reason.com/2023/12/11/how-some-of-californias-worst-schools-got-better-at-teaching-reading/

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.”

https://reason.com/2023/11/14/san-franciscos-apec-cleanup-hasnt-fixed-its-homelessness-problem/

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.”

https://reason.com/2023/11/24/californias-war-on-fast-food-jobs/

‘A devastating financial blow’: California’s so-called ‘draconian’ fast-food bill is now law — here’s why McDonald’s franchisees say it’ll cost small business owners $250K a year

“B 1228 applies to fast-food chains with at least 60 locations nationwide — except for those that make and sell their own bread. The bill’s landmark change is a minimum wage hike to $20 per hour, almost $5 higher than the Golden State’s minimum wage of $15.50.
It would also see the establishment of a Fast Food Council to set wages and make recommendations for working conditions. The council has the power to increase the new minimum wage each year through 2029 up to 3.5% or the average change in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners, whichever is lower.

One key part of the bill has been removed since its proposal. Previously, AB 1228 would have made fast-food corporations jointly liable if franchisees committed labor violations, which the NOA believes could have led to “frivolous lawsuits against franchisees” that would then force the larger corporate head offices to exert more control over local operations.”

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/devastating-financial-blow-mcdonald-franchisee-163000954.html

California State Guidelines Discourage Schools From Offering Advanced Middle School Math

“A small but growing number of American schools are reducing or delaying access to advanced courses. Most often, these changes have been enacted in the name of reducing achievement gaps between demographic groups. However, rather than helping marginalized students, these policies deny educational opportunities for gifted students of all backgrounds.”

https://reason.com/2023/10/04/california-state-guidelines-discourage-schools-from-offering-advanced-middle-school-math/

Inside the power struggle between California politicians and judges on homelessness

“California politicians have been unable to make meaningful headway on a deteriorating homelessness crisis, and the conflict has shifted to a new arena out of their control: courtrooms. A series of rulings in California and beyond has barred cities from clearing encampments even as mayors are contending with lawsuits that accuse them of failing to do so. Sacramento’s top prosecutor hit the city with such a complaint, and Los Angeles spent years in legal limbo after a judge ordered the city and county to shelter every person in a sprawling encampment.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/10/04/california-homelessness-crisis-judges-00119504

Newsom urges SCOTUS to consider encampment ruling that has ‘paralyzed’ California cities

“Gov. Gavin Newsom is pressing the U.S. Supreme Court to review a controversial ruling that has prevented cities from clearing homeless encampments.
In a brief filed to the high court Friday, Newsom’s office warned a ruling invalidating anti-camping ordinances in Grants Pass, Ore. had “paralyzed” cities around California by imposing an “insurmountable roadblock” that effectively bars cities from moving people from parks and sidewalks.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/22/newsom-scotus-encampment-california-00117762

California’s Latest Tax-the-Rich Scheme: Electric Bills Based on Income

“Electric power customers typically pay more if they use more. Under a new law, customers of California’s three largest private utilities will be charged a fixed fee based on their incomes, not just how much power they use. The chief motivation behind this scheme is to provide some relief to low-income customers who are being hammered by escalating electricity rates as the Golden State transitions from fossil fuels to wind and solar power.”

“the value of the investments in energy efficiency already made by millions of Californians will be undercut. For example, consider a high income customer who has put in better insulation, bought energy-sparing appliances, or even installed a solar energy system and thereby cut his monthly electric bill to $50 per month. His cost for electricity is now $600 annually. The 42 percent cut in his rates lowers that to $348 per year, but the total fixed fee is $1,536. That results in more than tripling his bill to $1,884 annually.*”