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Can't agree on a state budget for cash-strapped California? Fine: state workers will now be working for minimum wage. Governor Schwarzenegger issued the order Thursday. The way it works is that once a budget is signed, the workers get back the money they would have been making under that budget.

In concept, some view the move as a decent bargaining tactic, putting pressure on the legislature. But is this move too draconian, and is it ultimately that productive? Commentators are enjoying the flashiness, at least.


  • 'The Reasoning Is Clever,' chuckles Jay Tea at Wizbang. "The state has reached pay agreements with many of the unions representing employees, but not all of them, and the state has not passed a budget. So there is nothing in writing that dictates what the state has to pay them. However, there is a minimum wage law which sets the floor, so that's what they will be paid." He likes the incentives at work, putting pressure on the unions. He wonders whether it could be used at the federal level, too, to force budget compromises.
  • This Seems Unwise  "Even if it's legal, is it the right thing to do?" wonders Proof at SayAnythingBlog. "That's about a quarter million Californians who will have to cut back on spending (and paying sales tax) just to struggle to make ends meet."
  • And 'a Tad Cruel,' adds Ernie Smith at Shortformblog. "Look, we know that Cal­i­for­nia pol­i­tics are tough, but there's no rea­son to use state employ­ees as pawns in a polit­i­cal game."
  • 'Gimmicks'  Hot Air's Ed Morrissey points out that it's "unlikely that any worker will see their pay actually cut, even temporarily." Nevertheless, he suggests California, with its massive budgetary problems, might be better served by "looking at ways to actually reduce payroll by reducing the size and scope of government."

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