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The Editors

California’s Plan to Get Fast Food Workers Fired

A new bill would empower a committee to set industry wages. It’s a terrible idea.

Why stop there?

Why stop there?

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Apparently unhappy with the current pace of business migration out of their state, California’s legislators have come up with a good way to accelerate it. They voted recently to create a council of political appointees to set wages in the fast-food industry. The so-called FAST Recovery Act awaits Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature. He can’t squash this ill-conceived initiative quickly enough.

California already has a minimum wage of $15 an hour. The new measure envisages raising this to as much as $22, with inflation-linked increases to follow — but only for those who work for big fast-food chains. Why this group should be singled out for special protection isn’t entirely clear. Yes, the bill’s proponents believe that market-determined wages are inherently predatory, and that the franchise business model compounds this underlying problem. Even so, the fast-food industry seems a strangely narrow target.