The Hypocrisy Of California

Some background:

Consider now that California is raising it’s minimum wage to $15/hour.

Now consider this quote from a Marketplace story on Trump and Small businesses:

Ryssdal: So you’re skipping way down on my list of questions to ask, but since we’re on that now … immigration. Let’s say you want to make an apple pie, but immigration restrictions that are coming or have been put into place do something about agriculture workers. How do you get the apples that you need to make your apple pie if farm labor in this country is reduced?

Brennan: Or, the cost of it goes up. We’re very concerned that produce is going to skyrocket because labor is going to be affected. This is what farmers are saying in the state right now. And at the same time, if labor and commodity pricing changes in the state of California, where we get most of our produce, and we can’t find an alternate means in another state, or from Mexico, or someplace to get those commodities then …. [Emphasis added.]

The “No Ban, No Wall” protests have confused me immensely. Why is border security somehow mutually exclusive of immigration? Is there no longer a “high fences, wide gates” option? It dawns on me it’s because groups in favor of broad immigration don’t want legal immigration, they specifically want the illegal form.

Now full disclosure: I have no idea of the immigration preferences of the bakery owners in the article. But at the very least their answer includes with it the idea that farm wages must be lower than they would be under a more restrictive program (i.e. they cannot go much higher than they are now). Yet at the same time California is claiming that anything under $15/hour is not a “livable wage.” They’re then artificially adjusting the market (via minimum wage laws) to push all jobs to this number, which means the jobs currently don’t pay at that level.

To solve this contradiction, California is tacitly relying on a system of people who will work illegally for less money than what the state is claiming is a “livable wage.” Setting aside for the moment myriad critiques of the idea of the living wage, if Californians believe that number is $15/hr (which their voting habits suggest) then they’ve built their entire economic system on a permanent underclass which toils below living standards. Call it what you want: indentured servitude, slavery, exploitation, whatever. But it’s the only logically consistent conclusion.

And this, even if they won’t admit it, is why California is fighting so hard to protect illegal immigration.

Now some may argue that programs like DACA contradict this point, but that’s wrong. DACA is self-selected such that the people enrolling are those for whom the benefits of being illegal (i.e. those described by Friedman such as the ability to work off the books for the lower, now illegal wage) no longer outweigh the benefits of being legal (i.e. attending college without concern over deportation or perhaps working a higher wage skilled job on the books.) Even using the likely lowballed “11 million” number for illegal immigrants, DACA applicants represent less than 10% (about 900k per Wikipedia.)

Mass amnesty might undercut this point, but the Dems don’t really seem to be actually fighting very hard for it beyond its usefulness as a poison pill for broader immigration reform. Consider that when they controlled Congress and the White House, immigration reform took a back seat to Obamacare, and you really only started to see amnesty get the hard push when it seemed likely we might actually get comprehensive immigration reform. Suddenly it was nonnegotiable.

It’s worth calling this contradiction out, if only because Liberals need to come to grips with the effects of their policy positions.

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