Inflation is running near 10 percent and economists now worry a recession may be on the horizon. But that’s not enough to suppress the unceasing itch that drives California Democrats to strengthen the chokehold in which they’ve placed state employers.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that a bill making its way through the halls of Sacramento would mandate a 32-hour work week for many employees, with no concurrent reduction in pay. Employers would be forced to pay overtime for workers who toil for more than four full days. The proposal would cover salaried and nonsalaried employees.
Not surprisingly, the two Democratic sponsors — Assembly members Cristina Garcia and Evan Low — have virtually no private-sector job experience.
“We’ve had a five-day workweek since the Industrial Revolution,” Ms. Garcia, a former public school teacher, told the Times. “But we’ve had a lot of progress in society, and we’ve had a lot of advancements. I think the pandemic right now allows us the opportunity to rethink things, to re-imagine things.”
That sure sounds innovative — never let a crisis go to waste — but Ms. Garcia isn’t actually rethinking or re-imagining anything. Her proposal is simply an extension of the status quo in the Golden State, a one-party leftist state in which organized labor — particularly government unions — holds outsized sway. It’s no coincidence that Ms. Garcia’s legislative brainchild exempts unionized workplaces.
But regardless of that shameless provision, the measure — which would apply to companies with 500 or more workers — remains an economic disaster in waiting.
“This significant rise in labor costs will not be sustainable for many businesses,” Ashley Hoffman of the California Chamber of Commerce told the Times. The chamber has placed the proposal on its “job killer” list, the paper reported.
And with good reason. Companies that don’t decide to join the exodus of job creators fleeing California will seek to minimize the massive cost hike by either limiting worker hours, putting the kibosh on expansion or eliminating jobs altogether. Those who decide to eat the costs may be forced to raise the prices of their goods or services in order to stay in business.
No doubt Ms. Garcia and friends will then complain about “greedy” corporations gouging the poor and middle class.
There is a rapidly growing disconnect with many progressives — in California, Nevada and across the country — when it comes to understanding that a healthy, thriving private sector is necessary to generate the tax revenue that they so love to spend. That’s the only way to explain an aggressive job-killing government mandate like the one Ms. Garcia and Mr. Low seek to forcibly inflict on California job creators.