Future Headline: Big Mac prices in California hit $45. Lawmakers plan minimum wage hike

In a world full of unimaginable absurdity, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future… and to where all of this insanity leads.

“Future Headline Friday” is our satirical take of where the world is going if it remains on its current path. While our satire may be humorous and exaggerated, rest assured that everything we write is based on actual events, news stories, personalities, and pending legislation.

November 10, 2029: A Big Mac in California now costs $45. Lawmakers Plan Another Minimum Wage Hike

Members of the California State Legislature expressed anger this week after fast food chain McDonald’s hiked prices of its signature Big Mac to $45 per sandwich at locations across the state. In other states like Texas and Florida, however, Big Mac prices are below $15.

“This is capitalist greed, pure and simple,” State Senator Justin Flate said, “And we won’t stand for it.”

Flate, of course, was the state lawmaker who spearheaded the 2026 law that raised minimum wage to $40 per hour, as well as last year’s bill which raised minimum wage to $50 per hour.

Flate stated this morning that he will respond to McDonald’s price hike by sponsoring a new bill which raises the minimum wage to $60 per hour, which is 3x higher than the rest of the country.

“There’s a clear pattern here,” Senator Flate said. “Every time we raise the minimum wage, McDonald’s and other businesses raise their prices. This is a greedy, intentional action on their part to snub our efforts to control the cost of living for Californians.”

Lawmakers say they can’t understand why California’s cost of living has risen so much more quickly than the rest of the United States. Some estimates say that a $10,000 per month household income is required just to meet Californians’ basic needs of housing and food.

This, despite the strongest efforts in the nation by lawmakers to drive minimum wage higher, and to heavily regulate the companies whose price hikes are driving inflation.

For example, a 2027 law requires all California farmers to calculate the exact cost of each crop grown, report it to the government quarterly, and sell those crops for no more than 10% above cost.

But lawmakers say unfair competition from farms in bordering states has made that regulation less effective.

Experts also say that the sky-high cost of living is the primary driver of a shoplifting epidemic that has been affecting the state for nearly a decade.

In 2014, California raised the threshold for felony theft from $450 to $950, essentially decriminalizing shoplifting under $950.

But in an effort to make sure desperate shoplifters were not unfairly punished, in 2024 the state indexed the felony threshold to inflation.

Now, stealing goods worth $3,500 or less is considered a misdemeanor.

Many residents and businesses point to the state’s extreme cost of electricity, which is more than seven times the national average.

But legislators insist that saving the environment is worth the high cost of electricity.

California has put itself on a path to be 100% solar-powered, despite most other states investing heavily in inexpensive nuclear power. And to help fund the transition, the legislature passed a head tax on businesses of $100 per employee per month.

The head tax has failed to raise revenue as countless businesses shut down or fled the state, and California saw its deepest deficit last year than it has seen in decades.

But lawmakers aren’t discouraged. They say this all just invigorates them even more to apply the proper economic interventions to fix the state.

Senator Justin Flate said, “We know that we are doing the right thing. We know that. There is no question. It’s clear, we just haven’t been aggressive enough yet. But just wait until you see us in action during the next legislative session!”

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