The Wall St. Journal is now advocating for international working class solidarity and for socialism. We can clearly say this, based on their lead editorial in today’s paper, in which they discuss the new minimum wage bill that Governor Brown is promising to sign. This bill will raise the state minimum wage (currently at $10/hour) to $15/hour for all workers by 2023. They explain the problems:
“The American Action Forum, a free-market think tank, reports that California’s 50% increase would eliminate nearly 700,000 jobs—which means higher unemployment for the poor and least skilled in particular…. In Seattle restaurant employment grew 1.4% compared with Washington’s 6.9%, as American Action notes….
“If California progressives want to eliminate low-wage labor in the state, perhaps they should finish the job and raise the wage to $30 or $40, and watch entire swaths of the economy flee to Nevada or Texas….”
Never Ending Downward Spiral
The problem is greater, still: As employers flee to the low cost leaders like Nevada or Texas, and as demand for workers there rises, wages will tend to increase there, too. So then they will have no choice but to go to Mexico or China. (Employers are already leaving China for lower wage Vietnam.)
But back to California: Average rent for a one bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Bay area is 3,096/ month and in the L.A. area is $1898/month, which is unaffordable for the current minimum wage earner in California who makes $1,733/month if working full time. (Note: According to studies, you should be paying not more than 25% of your gross income on housing.) In fact, even if the state minimum wage were raised to $15/hour immediately, that would only equal $2600/month, which still leaves the minimum wage worker priced out of the housing market.
The solution is so obvious that the Wall St. Journal editors must get it: Workers in California, Texas, Nevada and onwards must join hands to raise the wages everywhere. And as the Wall St. Journal editors are always explaining about foreign competition, workers in this country must join with workers in China, Vietnam, Mexico, etc. to build a global movement for higher wages. We are sure the Wall St. Journal editors understand this.
But then, as the Wall St. Journal editors surely know, ultimately the employers will find some areas of the world where, for political reasons if for no other, wages are held down. So the ultimate solution is to take the giant corporations out of private hands, end the system of production for private profit, and build a socialist world. Otherwise, we’ll all be driven down to “one common gray mass”, broken down and homeless. That’s the future that capitalism has to offer as the Wall St. Journal editors explain.
Surely, the editors of the Wall St. Journal must understand this and understand that that is the conclusion workers must draw.