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EDITORIAL: More businesses publicizing the costs of government interventions and mandates

Donald Trump and the Republican Congress have already repealed a handful of Barack Obama’s last minute gifts to the regulatory state. They promise to do much more.

In the meantime, it’s refreshing to see some businesses get proactive in protesting constant government intrusion.

For instance, Scientific American reported last year that California gas station owners plan to post signs informing motorists that they’re paying higher fuel costs thanks to the state’s cap-and-trade program designed to limit carbon emissions.

The California Independent Oil Marketers Association estimates the regulations add 10 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline and 13 cents per gallon of diesel. “We just think that consumers ought to know that they’re paying 10 cents a gallon,” an executive with the association told the magazine.

Now the practice is spreading to bars and restaurants in states that have hiked the minimum wage, including Arizona, California, New York and Colorado, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some business owners now tack on to the check surcharges of 3 percent to 4 percent to cover higher labor costs.

“Restauranteurs say they want customers to understand the consequences of higher wages on a business with profit margins of generally between 2 percent and 6 percent,” the Journal explained last week.

Of course, this type of transparency is anathema to the regulators and their champions on the left. Publicizing the high costs of these interventions might erode support for further mandates. New York City, the paper points out, has even outlawed advertising administrative fees — although it’s doubtful that placing restrictions on truthful communications between a business owner and his customers would pass constitutional scrutiny.

Expect the trend to make its way to Nevada if Democratic lawmakers insist on pushing the wage floor higher than is already required by the state constitution. Supporters of the idea, currently being given a test drive in Carson City, seem to have embraced the fantasy that they can almost double the minimum wage with no effect on the businesses climate, employment or consumer costs.

Such denial of reality is epitomized by a 37-year old San Diego woman who told the Journal that she walked out of a local establishment after seeing a notice about the labor surcharge. The woman voted for California’s minimum wage hike “and said she was personally offended that the restaurant blamed the wage increase for higher prices.”

The Wall Street Journal offered no word on whether the woman was also personally offended at the idea that the Earth is round.

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