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How a $15 Minimum Wage Would Make Everyone Richer

Set Aside Arguments About Fairness and Social Justice for a Moment—a $15 Minimum Wage Would Be Great for Business

How a $15 Minimum Wage Would Make Everyone Richer

James Yamasaki

WE’RE ALL BETTER OFF WHEN WE’RE ALL BETTER OFF Though there are cities in America bigger than Seattle, no city can match our combination of economic dynamism and civic engagement.

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This editorial is the first in a series. Next week, restaurant owner Dave Meinert and 15 Now activist Jess Spear debate “total compensation”—including the question of whether a restaurant worker’s tips should count toward their pay.

In case you've been asleep since November, Seattle is at the epicenter of a national debate about the crisis of inequality. Much of the debate here has centered on the costs and benefits of a $15 minimum wage, how fast to get to $15, or why $15 and not some other number.

As members of the advisory committee that will be offering recommendations to the mayor next month, we know there'll be policy options aplenty. We're hearing from all sides about the trade-offs and consequences.

But we want to be very clear: $15 isn't just about $15. It's about recognizing what actually makes this city so special—and making a conscious effort to nurture it.

Though there are cities in America bigger than Seattle, no city can match our combination of economic dynamism and civic engagement. While we have plenty of successful capitalists in Seattle, this isn't a town like Dallas or New York that worships the super-wealthy and believes in trickle-down economics.

People here recognize that prosperity and community emerge from the middle out, not the top down. That we're connected in an ecosystem. That we're all better off when we're all better off. It's why so many companies here treat their workers better than the market says they have to. Compare Costco to Walmart. Or Starbucks to McDonald's. Or Tom Douglas restaurants to Olive Garden.

This "Cascadian" form of capitalism works—for everyone, not just for capitalists. And we believe that raising Seattle's minimum wage to $15 in a speedy, simplified, and practical way will make our city more competitive and bring giant benefits, both economic and civic.

Let's start with the economics. Most champions of a higher minimum wage base their arguments on fairness and social justice. They're right. But we want to offer another argument: It would be great for business.

The fundamental law of capitalism is that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Raising the minimum wage shifts money in the economy to those with the highest propensity to spend, increasing sales for businesses, which in turn leads to hiring, and more sales.

Because the current minimum wage in Washington is $9.32, some people think $15 would be an exorbitant leap. But if the minimum wage were enough to support one childless worker in King County, by even very conservative estimates, it would be more than $16. If it had tracked productivity gains since 1968, it would be $21.70. And if it had tracked the wages of the top 1 percent, it would be $28.

These aren't teen jobs, by the way. The average age of a fast-food worker is 28. And minimum-wage jobs aren't confined to a small corner of the economy. By 2040, it is estimated that 48 percent of all American jobs will be low-wage service jobs.

Trickle-down advocates would have you believe that a $15 minimum wage makes Seattle less competitive. We disagree. Yes, there may be businesses that today depend on paying workers near-poverty wages that will need to change their ways—or leave. But making Seattle the highest-minimum-wage city in America gives businesses a more secure and growing base of customers, and from that base, this city becomes a better place to be an entrepreneur and innovator.

The argument against a minimum-wage hike treats workers simply as costs to be cut, in order to push prices ever lower. This is the Walmart bargain. But here's the thing: No matter how low Walmart's prices get, its workers still can't afford to live on Walmart wages. Walmart made $27 billion in profit last year. And its workers are among the nation's largest group of food-stamp recipients, a program best understood as a taxpayer subsidy of Walmart's profits. This is an arrangement as inefficient as it is immoral.

The Walmart model (which, by the way, is prevalent across the poor, unhealthy, dole-dependent states of the former Confederacy) is a race to the bottom. What we need is a race to the top, in which higher wages generate more demand, in turn generating more hiring and higher wages. This is middle-out economics. It's Cascadian capitalism. And it's a whole lot better for you than trickle-down Confederate capitalism.

We think public policies should advantage locally owned small businesses over quick-serve national chains that are economically extractive and culturally dilutive (what neighborhood was ever enriched by the arrival of a McDonald's?). Local small businesses should get a longer phase-in period for any wage hike, for instance. But even if it takes longer, they eventually should be held to the same simple standard: Someone who works full-time in Seattle should be able to live in Seattle.

People who oppose an increase in the minimum wage often point to "unintended consequences." And there are real costs to any change. We know that. We don't think $15 should happen overnight, and we think certain sectors like small businesses and nonprofits should get more time to get there.

But the term "unintended consequences" implies that all consequences must be negative. That's just not true. There will be unforeseen positive consequences, too, as most studies show: business benefits like higher worker satisfaction and productivity, lower turnover and absenteeism. And those positives cancel out the negatives. Minimum-wage increases have no net negative effect on employment—and a definite positive effect on community health.

Which brings us to the civic dimension of what $15 is really about.

Consider the 12th Man phenomenon that unified our city. Some outsiders assume that the success of the Seahawks generated this incredible wave of popular solidarity. But they got it backward. It's our spirit of mutuality and common cause—stronger here than in most big American cities, according to national reports—that powered the fans who powered the Hawks.

Even as Seattle has become dramatically wealthier in the last generation, we haven't wanted to become San Francisco. We haven't adopted the hyperindividualistic mantra of "every man for himself." Seattle is less prone than Texas to divide the world into makers and takers. We volunteer more, we participate more, and we link up to solve local problems more regularly than citizens in other cities do.

But we're also, undeniably, becoming a more unequal community—in incomes and in opportunity. The danger we have to face is that economic inequality always begets political inequality, which always begets more economic inequality. Low-wage workers stuck on a path to poverty are not only weak customers, they're also anemic taxpayers, absent citizens, and inattentive neighbors.

To put it in the affirmative, we have a chance now with $15 to make Seattle as civically robust as it already is economically. We have a chance to set off a virtuous cycle in which economic participation begets civic participation. True prosperity doesn't trickle down from above, and neither does great citizenship. Both are middle-out phenomena.

When workers earn a wage that they can survive on in Seattle, they can help their kids with homework and keep them out of trouble, look out for neighbors, join community groups. And as we saw during the successful SeaTac $15 campaign, they can participate more meaningfully in self-government. They can see themselves as participants, not spectators. They can speak out on issues and organize others. They can assume their views will be heard.

And all this recirculates into our economy. Better citizens make better customers, and better customers make better neighbors, in an endless virtuous circle. This is how Seattle has thrived. And it's how we'll win in the future. The rest of the country has run a 30-year trickle-down experiment, and the result has been an economy and a politics rigged for the very richest. The people who benefit most from that arrangement are desperate for us to believe this is the only way an economy can work. Screw that, and them. At the end of the day, $15 isn't about just rejecting that approach. It's about replacing it. recommended

Nick Hanauer (@NickHanauer) is an entrepreneur and investor at Second Avenue Partners. Eric Liu (@ericpliu) is founder and CEO of Citizen University. They are the coauthors of The Gardens of Democracy.

 

Comments (140) RSS

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pdp 1
Swoon!
Posted by pdp on March 26, 2014 at 7:15 AM · Report this
2
Of course nick hannauer wouldn't have his billions of dollars if not for the millions that his family's company Pacific Coast Feather Company made paying low wages and by exporting jobs to China. His hypocrisy is rank.
Posted by His family were low wage mavens for decades on March 26, 2014 at 7:38 AM · Report this
3
Very well written, insightful and thoughtful. Event though I'm not a Seattle citizen, I'll be following this conversation very closely. Thanks!
Posted by DevoutAtheist on March 26, 2014 at 7:46 AM · Report this
4
Look, everyone! They solved Capitalism.
Posted by riot gorl on March 26, 2014 at 7:46 AM · Report this
5
Does Nick Hanauer pay all the employees of his family owned company Pacific Coast Feather Company $15 an hour? Readers would love to know.
Posted by Because he doesn't on March 26, 2014 at 7:59 AM · Report this
6 Comment Pulled (Duplicate) Comment Policy
7
Sorry, but this is one of the worst-written pieces I've seen on the subject. He takes a few general statistics and wraps them up in 12th Man Flag Waving Patriotism. And #2 is exactly right - it doesn't take any of Nick's money and put it into circulation because he doesn't have any low-wage workers here.
Posted by dougmac on March 26, 2014 at 8:01 AM · Report this
8
I highly recommend you guys watch the Marcy Ask the Mayor. Early in the second half Jess Spear tried to pin Murray's position on tip credit the wrong way and he verbally bitch slapped her saying she's not looking at his actual record on min wage tip credits.
Posted by ChefJoe on March 26, 2014 at 8:01 AM · Report this
9
doh, March Ask the Mayor.
Will be on at 2 pm or 6 pm on TV and will probably be posted here later today.
http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/new…

Of course, nobody really announced any firm plans from the committee, or even their recommendation.
Posted by ChefJoe on March 26, 2014 at 8:06 AM · Report this
10
Love it, though the pot shots at the confederacy were unnecessary and distracted from the argument.
Posted by SoldDownTheRiver on March 26, 2014 at 8:09 AM · Report this
11
A review of nick hanauer's Pacific Coast Feather Company on Glassdoor:

"Extremely unprofessional, no management structure no training for new employees, grossly low pay. "

-former employee in Henderson North Carolina

Posted by Hypocrite heal thyself on March 26, 2014 at 8:10 AM · Report this
12
Lose the paragraph about the Seahawks, maybe? That's not an especially labor-friendly business, and it's a member of one of the most regressive, anticompetitive cartels in the country.
Posted by robotslave on March 26, 2014 at 8:11 AM · Report this
13
I appreciate this:

Someone who works full-time in Seattle should be able to live in Seattle.

But it's important to note that wages alone can't do this. If we want to make Seattle affordable we also have to insure that a sufficient quantity of housing is being built. Our zoning laws don't make this extremely difficult, and it's not just height restrictions. In much of Seattle, it's perfectly legal to tear down a 100 year old 1200 SF craftsman and replace it with a 4000 SF McMansion. But it would not be legal to replace it with a 4000 SF 6-8 unit building. This is bad for the environment and for affordable housing. These limits mean that those lucky enough to actually build are only going to focus on the high end of the market. Let's not forget the other fronts in the fight for an economy that works for everyone. Without sufficient housing supply, wages will not be able to keep up with the cost of living.
Posted by david jw on March 26, 2014 at 8:36 AM · Report this
14
"business benefits like higher worker satisfaction and productivity, lower turnover and absenteeism." Why? It's just the new minimum wage. It's not like they can't just find another job that pays $15/hr if they get fired for poor productivity or absenteeism. But how about those of us who are making $15/hr after years of service, and spending a chunk of that money towards student loans that were accrued in order to make a higher wage than minimum wage? My company, and the vast majority of others, will not be raising everyone else's wage to be $5.68/hr more than their current wage in order to maintain the standard. So we get left behind. There goes our motivation and productivity.
Posted by aukele on March 26, 2014 at 8:42 AM · Report this
15
The state needs to set a formula whereby cities and counties can establish a minimum wage based on the cost of living in each city and county and indexed to the cost of living for subsequent increases.

Different cities and counties would then have a minimum wage that fits their economy. Forcing a universal average on the whole state creates an imbalance wherein people in Seattle are underpaid and businesses and customers in smaller cities with lower costs of living are overburdened and overcharged.

We need a formula that sets a state average, but allows for differentiation and fluctuation based on the diverse, local economic realities in each community.

In addition the city and county need to levy a penalty tax on residential rental properties that increase rent significantly more than the annual rise in the cost of living apart from housing.

One more thought - the city, county and state should be developing a legal and financial environment that promotes worker ownership. The promotion of investor owned businesses has resulted in a massive economic imbalance, highly exploitive business practices and corrupt governance. We need to transition from a market based on exploitation and self-interest to one based on cooperation and mutual interests. Workers must become owners of their work and have a voice in the governance.

We all deserve to make a living, but no one deserves to make a killing.
Posted by Smart, Not Expedient on March 26, 2014 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 16
Honest to Pete, this is silly. Some jobs simply do not justify $15 an hour. Move on.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on March 26, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
meanie 17
@13 wrong, our current zoning laws are ridiculous , and border on negligence.

http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Research/gis/…

All the uproar over micro houses and tear downs occur in the tiny percentage of NON single family zones.

Also, a trustifarian who *made* money off a business inherited from parents and outsourced Chinese labor is a pretty poor spokesperson for living wages.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on March 26, 2014 at 9:18 AM · Report this
18
Holy "bull plop".

This is one of the worst articles I've seen on this $15 Now to date. It is so fraught with economic non sequiturs and wishful thinking as to be in the a bedtime stories for children section of the library.

(The only problem is that this is a nightmare)

What in the world were the authors smoking when they whipped up this "economic" spin on reality.

Even 1st year economic students would laugh this one right out of the class room.

Just dreadful.
Posted by mistral on March 26, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
The Dopest 19
I predict that one of the best things to come from this will be the solidarity of having a massive group of people all making the same hourly rate.

I remember when I was a cashier at $7/hr I resented my friend the line cook who made $9. Then when I became a cook I resented the bussers who made $11 and so on. I'm sure it won't last long, but I do know that equality is good for the soul, and having the general mass of service workers all making the same hourly rate is going to create a lot of happiness. More money in the pocket is good, but more equality in the social ladder is better.

And maybe once the thousands upon thousands of 15-ers all start seeing themselves as one, they'll band together to keep improving things for themselves (I say "they" but 2 years ago and possibly again in the future it will be "we")
Posted by The Dopest on March 26, 2014 at 9:31 AM · Report this
20
@19 maybe your problem is you're resentful of other people's success. Class envy is a vice.
Posted by Seven deadly sins on March 26, 2014 at 9:41 AM · Report this
21
" will be the solidarity of having a massive group of people all making the same hourly rate."

What an idiot. Why work hard to raise your skills to be, say, a manager when you can just wash dishes. Solidarity my ass.
Posted by Socialism fails everytime on March 26, 2014 at 9:44 AM · Report this
22
I'm certainly in support of a living minimum wage, but the title is just not true. While it will help many businesses, it's a unavoidable fact that it will hurt some. Now I would argue that it's an acceptable cost, and society shouldn't have to subsidize businesses who's balance sheet doesn't support a living wage to employees.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 26, 2014 at 9:45 AM · Report this
23
How in the actual fuck have so many people in Seattle never heard of the concept of inflation?

Posted by seatownr on March 26, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
24
This is a terrible piece. Please, drop the platitudes and examine real consequences and realities.

"Someone who works full-time in Seattle should be able to live in Seattle."

This is a red herring in the ongoing argument. Nearly a quarter million people commute to Seattle for work. There are undoubtedly many reasons, but one is the cost of living is so high in the city. Having a dramatic increase only makes that worse. Out of big cities in the United States, San Francisco has the highest minimum wage (and it's not even a dollar more than Washington state's min) and guess what? Housing there, especially rent, is among the highest in the country (and according to many sources, it is the highest).

That's not really a good model to follow. Additionally, what large, prosperous city is affordable to live in for the lower end of the economic scale? Maybe Houston? Either way it's a thin, thin list.

I'm not a fan on hew long many things take to finally bloom, but this would have massive local and regional impacts, and such gravity should require less feel-good platitudes and more very, very careful and meticulous examination.
Posted by tennisballmilk on March 26, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
25
@23

Inflation occurs when money is created, either vie government printing or bank loans.

Raising the minimum wage simply moves a portion of the income a given business makes from the shareholders, who have a low marginal propensity to consume, to the people at the bottom, who have a high propensity to consume.

The price of eggs, milk, shoes, and clothing isn't going to spike just because people who need them can suddenly afford them.
Posted by Woodbun on March 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Big Boss 26
The main important takeaway from this article is that $15 is wholly inadequate. Even $21.70, even were it pegged to productivity as a living wage law, would be barely adequate. Capitalism per se is the problem; you can't steal from working people to enrich a tiny aristocracy and expect it to be sustainable.
Posted by Big Boss on March 26, 2014 at 10:36 AM · Report this
27
This heartwarming, but poorly constructed argument lacks any mention of how a >60% increase in the wage floor would effect labor demand. Even Sawant would give this an "F."
Posted by 98122 on March 26, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Report this
28
"The price of eggs, milk, shoes, and clothing isn't going to spike just because people who need them can suddenly afford them."
Correct.
It will, however, spike because the cost of labor at the grocery store will increase by 60%
Posted by soundfish on March 26, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
29
To the authors: your heart is in the right place but get yourselves an editor. Are you being paid by the word? This is a rambling mess. At the moment it is a series of platitudes loosely held together by a word salad. Also, I recommend paying that editor well over $15 an hour. They'll definitely deserve it.
Posted by Senor Guy on March 26, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
30
@25, prices going up to pay for massively increased labor costs = increased inflation.

Do you think raising the minimum wage to $25 would be a good idea or a bad idea, and why?

Zero sum game.
Posted by seatownr on March 26, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
31
@28

I work at a grocery store. I make minimum, journeymen make slightly above $17 per hour. When one of them calls in sick and I sub for them, that wage difference goes directly to corporate.

I am aware of the profit margins, and they are not so thin that price hikes will be needed to keep the large chains viable. The pure profits received by shareholders will be lower than they might be otherwise.
Posted by Woodbun on March 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
32
@31
I agree that the profit margin might notbe so thin that price hikes will be "needed" to keep the large chains viable. But corporate most definitely will not be taking a pay cut in order to accomodate the pay increase for their minimum wage employees (60% is pretty significant). They will increase prices in order for their profits to stay the same.
Posted by soundfish on March 26, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 33
Who's stoked that at long last Dave Meinert is going to break his silence?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this
34
Here it is... Murray giving the pimp hand to Jess Spear's characterization of his position on tip credit.

http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/vid…
Posted by ChefJoe on March 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Cascadian 35
I think it's telling that people are attacking the way this piece is written rather than what it's saying or the facts it's built on. The economics strongly support what Nick Hanauer is writing about. $15/hour is a good policy, and is actually probably a bit short of where we need to be as a city.

That said, I had my own problems with the style and tone of this piece. It plays hard to the prejudices of localism, where we are special and better than those outsiders from California and New York and Texas. The fact is, we're not. I guess it's a smart move because the balance of political power in Seattle is held by people who believe in our own myth, but in the bigger picture this is good for workers and business everywhere, in every city, and we gain little by playing off petty local resentments.
Posted by Cascadian on March 26, 2014 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 36
It's depressing that the left is devolving into the same arguments as the right. "We're good! That other group is bad! Do this, because we're not like that other group which is bad!"
Posted by Sam Levine http://levinetech.net on March 26, 2014 at 12:36 PM · Report this
37
This means NO MORE gratuities, right? If I'm paying $20 for a big mac, fries, and coke then I stop eating out as much and certainly since I do not receive tips for my job (which will be very close to minimum wage) neither will those people who are "just doing the job that they are being paid (well) to do". How will this affect those who worked very hard and spent thousands of dollars on college educations? Don't you think that they are going to want higher pay then those who did nothing to better their lives or job prospects? All the people who have hit a comfort zone with Burger King and have failed to lift a finger to get a better job or to do anything to improve their position in life are just sitting back waiting for the world to be served up on a silver platter while wasting their lives away playing XBOX and PS3. You get what you deserve and EARN in this life, I started washing dishes @ Denny's but I kept applying for better jobs, joined the military for some trade skills and self discipline, went to some college and kept at it until I worked my way into a decent job with benefits that would support and provide for the family I raised. It WAS NOT easy but no one ever said that it would be. People today are just to full of "QUIT" and "GIVE UP ATTITUDES"!
Posted by Redbo57 on March 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
38
Cascadian capitalism? Confederate capitalism? Rhetoric. And a lot of numbers impersonating data before the research is presented and Income on Inequality Symposium has even happened.

How is this for civic engagement?

I am a resident of Seattle and a small business owner. My friends are artists, musicians, employees of low wage jobs, employees of non-profit social services and other small business owners. I am a proud progressive and have unparalleled civic pride.

Our opinions on political issues may vary but we all agree:
-there is undeniable support and momentum to raise the minimum wage
-raising the minimum wage to $15Now is unacceptable

I encourage all of you, from every walk of life and ideology to consider what is at stake and be realistic about the impending situation. Up until now you may have been prideful, afraid or still in disbelief, but you are not alone. Not by a long shot. The critical thinkers who care about a thoughtful sustainable implementation of a minimum wage ordinance are going to go public next week and can give you shelter. We are in every neighborhood, we are your next door neighbor and corner store.

We organized because there is no forum where people can talk about their concerns without being attacked. I implore you to be aware of disinformation and get answers for yourself. There is a void of any other public opinion. The opposition to $15Now must make its voice heard immediately.

Let's change the conversation. Stand up for a pragmatic, ordinance that will allow for gradual adjustments to be made.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM · Report this
39
“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

- US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933, Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act
Posted by garrettensign on March 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM · Report this
40
“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

- US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933, Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act
Posted by garrettensign on March 26, 2014 at 1:32 PM · Report this
41
@38

And what a remarkable bit of rhetoric you've crafted, yourself. You even managed to fit in a "some of my best friends are…" line.

People are more than willing to have a conversation. What you've written is a demand posturing as an invitation. It's pure condescension. If you want to win people over, you'll have to confront the historical evidence and studies supporting a higher minimum wage.

Posted by Chareth Cutestory on March 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM · Report this
42
So will there be a contrasting article by someone about how a $15 minimum wage policy will hurt local independent businesses and instantly inflate prices, negating any income gains? No, a debate between Dave Meinert and someone form $15Now doesn't count- where the unopposed, uninterrupted soapbox for the sensible progressives in this town? We want to make Seahawks analogies too!
Posted by RS2 on March 26, 2014 at 1:46 PM · Report this
43
It all sounds great, but it's all an illusion. You get a bigger check, true, but the guy at the shoe store had to raise his prices, the bakers, farmers, dairy, everyone has to make price adjustments to pay $15.00 an hour. Now they have a smaller customer base, due to inflated prices. At the end of the month the only one with more money is the government. You're expenses are higher, so they collect more tax, the IRS is now taxing you at a higher rate. It will close business, and unemploy thousands Huge mistake. I understand that you likely cannot support a family at McDonald's...etc. on the current minimum wage, but it was never meant to. I was for college and High School kids to make some money. Basically an entry level for starting out, or a few extra bucks when the nest is emptied. My fiance' repairs airplane parts to keep people in the air for $22.00 an hour, can you honestly tell me that his profession is worth $7.00 an hour more than a fast food worker?
Posted by formosagal on March 26, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
44
1. The numbers in this article do not match the number provided by city council's own policy analysts, circulated at last friday's council meeting. According to them numbers, livable wage for a single resident of the city should be $10.62

2. Anybody that thinks that wage inflation will not affect prices is completely wrong. The big corporations are not going to "share" their profits, they will increase prices. Wholesalers will compensate higher overhead in a similar manner. Eggs and milk will be more expensive.

3. With rent hikes being left on the back burner, a huge percentage of the wage increase will line up the pockets of the landlords. Simple- not enough rental units supply, higher demand, more disposable income on the lower tier- higher rent.

4. The only people who will finance this expansion are the middle class- workers and small business owners alike. There is not going to be a fresh influx of cash in the system which can alleviate that. In other words, middle class will spend less or stop tipping. That would create business closures or employee actual income erosion, since guaranteed 15 for a bartender is half of what they currently bring home.

All that said, I agree with @38- viable solutions that can push us towards wage increase without destroying the city fiber and its economy are circulating out there, even though they are not formulated completely yet. The sooner any of these proposals hit the street- the better informed everyone would be and better chance the city will have to actually accomplish the goal of mitigating income inequality.
Posted by valume on March 26, 2014 at 2:03 PM · Report this
Rinelle Boomtown 45
I work full time and then some in Seattle and can't afford to live in Seattle. All I see are these ugly apartment condo buildings goin up EVERYWHERE. So people that don't live in Seattle can move into Seattle? Who's gonna be able to afford that shit?

Every person I know should be making more $. We are the workforce being forced out of the city we work in by greedy land developers who don't even live here and greedy politicians.

When is there going to be something that regulates greed? People who are the ones making the profit shouldn't be the ones setting the rules.
Posted by Rinelle Boomtown on March 26, 2014 at 2:05 PM · Report this
46
Previous posters have pretty well picked apart the weak arguments and cherry-picked facts presented in this article. Among my favorite quotes from the article is this one:

"We think public policies should advantage locally owned small businesses over quick-serve national chains that are economically extractive and culturally dilutive."

Setting aside the rhetorical emptiness of terms like "culturally dilutive" - which is void of ANY substance but will no doubt appeal to many Stranger regulars - the author seems to think that a $15/hr minimum wage would advantage small local businesses over large national ones - given a little creative enforcement of the law, of course (ACA anyone?).

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the big boys with the deep pockets who will be able to survive the financial hardship of a $15 minimum wage hike. They are the ones with the financial resources to weather the storm and perservere while their smaller, weaker rivals go belly up. What this will in fact do is help the big boys consolidate the market info fewer and fewer entities (and fewer and fewer consumer choices) as the little guys with shallow pockets and thin margins are priced out of the market altogether by yet another government mandate.

Somehow the feel-good policies that progressives like Hannauer and Comrade Sawant are so keen to promote always turn into a lesson in unintended consequences. This misguided proposal will be no different.
Posted by rolo tomasi on March 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Report this
47
@41

Real people have best friends. And you are clearly not the audience to whom I refer.

I am a fan of history. My favorite founding father is John Adams. And when there is research presented at the Income Equality Symposium which offer apples to apples comparisons of the various implementation across the different jurisdictions, I will gladly confront the data.

Please come find me tomorrow and say hello, I will be the lady in the red hat.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM · Report this
48
oh yes, Seattle that embraces all, is so progressive, isn't that the same place that is busy shuffling tent cities from parking lot to parking lot? And, this whole thing fails to wrap around the idea that guess what not everyone was into the 12th man routine. This is a lot of boosterism and jingoism, not to mention what is this whole idea that it's great to turn workers into consumer bees?

the other part of the raising wages question that is not addressed at all is what about the deflation of the wages that are already at 15 and above? If I'm somebody making 15 now and all of a sudden somebody below me is getting a 5 dollar raise I'm going to be looking for my own 5 raise!
Posted by bethatuw on March 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Machiavelli 49
21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act,
A bill that would complement critical reforms like raising the minimum wage by providing targeted tax cuts designed for today’s workforce. This bill builds on work incentives both Republicans and Democrats agree have been effective, and it is paid for by closing wasteful loopholes both parties have proposed eliminating.

http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/inde…
Posted by Machiavelli on March 26, 2014 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Baconcat 50
The Evans school report says that:
70% of Native American/Alaska Native workers in this city earn below $15, as do
49% of Latin@ workers, and
43% of Black workers, and
41% of Asian/Pacific Islander workers.

We keep talking about how unfair it would be to people who make $15.50 or similar already, or unfair to businesses, but when you have several groups for whom it is either all-but guaranteed or a fair chance that they will make less than they need to survive you need to understand it is gravely unjust as a system. This happens whether or not your business succeeds or fails. And as a business owner you're still clearly able to float loans and do a whole variety of things to survive, whereas there are whole groups that are largely destined to simply move away or die in poverty.

It's great that some have the luxury of saying "we might have to close one location" or "we may have to downsize" or "we may have to close". All too many people in the city of Seattle -- named after a Native no less -- don't have anything of the sort. They bite their nails at every resume they submit, they shudder and suffer when they get a rent bill, they question their ability to even pay next month's phone bill, and all because they had the audacity to be born into a tribal nation or to be born with dark skin or to be born in another country.

We want our city to be innovative and some have even said an increased minimum wage may stifle innovation among business owners. But what about those people who can barely afford to live in this city, not for failure to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" but because the system you're all so keen on is intensely racist? You know, we say how much we love NW Coastal art, we adorn our city in it like jewelry, but what about those native artists who are 7/10 times likely to earn less than $15 if they can even manage to be hired in the first place? If we're so committed to innovation, what about them?

Why are people defending a gravely unjust system?
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Posted by Baconcat on March 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
51
The idea that increased wages will pay for themselves and result in more prosperity doesn't cut it mathematically. Simple example:

If I pay you $10 to do a job, and then you buy a $5 item from me, I have lost $5 and you have $5 in your pocket, plus the item you purchased.

Now you suggest, I pay you more, and in return you will spend that extra money at my business...sounds great eh? I win, you win?

So now I pay you $20 to do the same job, and with your newfound raise, you buy $10 worth of stuff from me. I am now out $10 and you have $10 in your pocket, plus the items you bought. This doesn't scale...I lost $10 instead of $5. Even if the things I sold cost me nothing to make, I still lost $10 on this transaction.

Or slightly different scenario. I pay you $20 and now you buy $15 worth of good from me. As people like to suggest, you've now poured all that money back into my business. I am now out $5 and you have $5 in your pocket, plus the goods you purchased from me. How am I prospering? The extra money you are giving back to me is, by definition, no more then the extra money I gave you...and I am now out the product I sold you as well and must purchase more.

There are good reasons for increasing the minimum wage, but the idea that it will somehow pay for itself is a pipe dream. It's trickle down economics in reverse. Give the low earners more money and they'll reward you by giving it back to you.
Posted by tempo36 on March 26, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
52
@50

This is part of the problem with the minimum wage argument: it, too often, branches out to attempt to address issues that it itself does not address or help.

The effects of raising the minimum wage are not static. It is not that all of a sudden people earning minimum wage to $14.99 get a raise and everything proceeds as it was with the exception of more money in the hands of lower wage workers. Please tell me how having fewer jobs available and increased costs for goods and services (including rent) to the residents of Seattle and the region helps those on the bottom of the economic ladder or those who are seeking employment?

If you're seeking to right the injustices as you say, this is NOT the way to do it, because it will do the opposite despite your intentions or desires.
Posted by tennisballmilk on March 26, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this
53
This is a pointless article, there is barely any info addressing the actual issues of this wage increase.

1. Why wouldn't $15/hr cause employers to lay-off some employees due to the extra cost?
2. Why wouldn't employers pass on the additional cost to the consumer, as they do in all other industries? In many cases these customers are the same income level as the employees they hire.
3. Why do fast food workers even deserve $15 an hour? It's an industry that promotes terrible health in the first place. Workers such as myself with college loans to pay off are working for less than that amount in offices and other business', what will the repercussions of their huge pay increase be on all other professions? Don't answer this with, "why don't you go work at McDonalds then?" Clearly that isn't a solution.

This whole plan is pretty flawed. Like how this article says increase pay causing less absenteeism and greater moral is somehow enough reason to out-weight any negatives. That statement basically suggests these people are so lazy they need a giant wage increase to be halfway decent workers...nice, lets give 'em it.
Posted by Wes12345 on March 26, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
54
This is a pointless article, there is barely any info addressing the actual issues of this wage increase.

1. Why wouldn't $15/hr cause employers to lay-off some employees due to the extra cost?
2. Why wouldn't employers pass on the additional cost to the consumer, as they do in all other industries? In many cases these customers are the same income level as the employees they hire.
3. Why do fast food workers even deserve $15 an hour? It's an industry that promotes terrible health in the first place. Workers such as myself with college loans to pay off are working for less than that amount in offices and other business', what will the repercussions of their huge pay increase be on all other professions? Don't answer this with, "why don't you go work at McDonalds then?" Clearly that isn't a solution.

This whole plan is pretty flawed. Like how this article says increase pay causing less absenteeism and greater moral is somehow enough reason to out-weight any negatives. That statement basically suggests these people are so lazy they need a giant wage increase to be halfway decent workers...nice, lets give 'em it.
Posted by 99871431 on March 26, 2014 at 3:08 PM · Report this
guerre 55
All these anti- minimum wage commentators are making really good cases for having no minimum wage, or child welfare laws, etc. Let's pay people what they are worth- and let's have the "free hand" determine what worth is, which coincidentally lines up with who already has wealth and political power. Also anyone who thinks a) this would create huge inflation and b) that inflation is even an issue in our modern economy stopped learning econ after their 101 or 102 class.
Posted by guerre on March 26, 2014 at 3:11 PM · Report this
56
Thanks for the straw man, #55. Got a match?

Nobody is arguing for an elimination of the minimum wage or child welfare laws. Nobody. The argument is against increasing the minimum wage by a whopping 50%. I better leg you get back to your econ homework.
Posted by rolo tomasi on March 26, 2014 at 3:19 PM · Report this
57
I expected a better contribution to the minimum wage debate from Hanauer. His worst transgression is his blanket claim that $15 will have no effect on job losses, when there is zero economic research at that wage level. He falls back on stale assurances that (undefined) "small business" won't be hurt by this.

It's mostly superficial rah-rah.
Posted by concours on March 26, 2014 at 3:25 PM · Report this
58
@43
No. Jobs are McDonalds aren't "meant" for anything but to make money for McDonalds. The minimum wage is only "meant" (and right now failing) to make sure that someone working full-time can pay for the very basic things in life, without falling into poverty.

I don't know where you get this idea that the minimum wage and fast-food jobs are somehow a jobs program for high-school kids. The vast majority of minimum-wage workers are not high-school kids, and the minimum wage was not designed with kids in mind. It was designed, during the labor movement, with *workers* in mind.

Also, I could care less if your boyfriend only feels good if he's making x amount more than the lowest-paid workers. I started with a minimum wage job, and now make 3x the current minimum wage. I don't have time for any fucking nonsense from a worker who makes so much more than the minimum wage and wants to keep it that way. That is some weak shit.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on March 26, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 59
@57

History can be our guide. We've had dozens of minimum wage increases in the past, and most of those were unprecedented. Unprecedented! And always they said there were going to be job losses.

And the jobs didn't disappear. Over the long run, high minimum wage places like Washington did well and "business friendly" Idaho and Wyoming continued to swirl the drain.

What you guys need is to cite actual examples of a wage increase leading to employers disappearing and jobs drying up. Why don't you guys ever do that? Because the actual record shows Hanauer is right -- even after the 80+% wage increase for tipped employees after I-518 in 1988. This $15 is only a 60% increase, smaller than in 1988, and it didn't cause a ripple.

Reality simply doesn't favor supply side economics. It's time to let Reagan die.

The cool part: after Seattle gets $15/hr, the rest of the country can follow suit, and it won't be "unprecedented". The writing is on the wall.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 26, 2014 at 3:46 PM · Report this
60
@59

So your entire argument is based on an initiative from 26 years ago that applied to only a small fraction of jobs - tipped positions - that already had their own unique minimum wage that was set well below the state minimum. That's hardly a convincing argument.
As you know, the current proposed minimum wage will apply to ALL jobs, and will entail a $5/hr increase rather than the $1.50/hr increase that resulted from I-518.

Furthermore, the argument that somehow Washington's economy is so much stronger than Idaho or Wyoming because of differing minimum wages is absurd. You are comparing land-locked, overwhelmingly rural states with very low populations to that of Washington, with it's major ports, large urban centers, and much larger population base. The classic Apples and Oranges scenario.

Sorry, but the burden of proof lies with the supporters of this proposed law, not the other way around.

By the way, President Reagan died a few years ago. Perhaps you missed it.
Posted by rolo tomasi on March 26, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
61
I think that most agree the minimum wage should be increased. However and forever, the minimum wage increases have always been justified about "lifting hundreds or thousands out of poverty." Well, I think we all can agree that so far that's not worked.

First, you get people fed and healthy, then help them with the roof over their head, then educate or train them in a skill...then put them to work. The idea is that they feel better about themselves and might even have a chance at happiness. Leaving out these steps, will only produce more of the same and that's just One problem with this 15 NOW. But we all know that's a daunting task and someone will have to grow some fairly big cojones to tackle all that AND tell corporations to go take a hike right our of our city ( all 5 or more of them). Problem is we can't find the big guys, cause they're hiding behind us little guys ( local independent businesses) and guess who is the easiest target and will be hurt the most? Yep.

If you think its ok that small businesses get kicked to the curb, then what your really saying is that the city you'd rather live in looks more like a mall. If a little guy can't hang on to one shop( jobs lost) then there certainly won't be two, or three from him ( future jobs) oh, but better not grow our business anyway or we will be considered a corporation or big business and all of a sudden exploit our employees and steal from them. we should not be considered as we are now "rich" and have it to lose.

I'm very concerned about our city, and hope that political agendas will take a back seat to reaching a solution that works for the majority. No doubt no one will get everything, but lets hope we walk away from this somewhat intact.
Posted by voteforpeas on March 26, 2014 at 4:08 PM · Report this
62
I like how some folks here act as though there are attempts at persuasion that AREN'T rhetoric. You should have payed more attention in college...
Posted by returnedtoseattle on March 26, 2014 at 4:11 PM · Report this
63
@62

Facts can be very persuasive. Rhetoric is just rhetoric. I'm surprised a college educated person such as yourself doesn't know the difference.
Posted by rolo tomasi on March 26, 2014 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Baconcat 64
@52: Your dire predictions of runaway inflation and net job losses is actually poorly sourced speculation oriented toward a singular outcome that sustains wages as they are.

But I'll indulge you: what should we do instead? The system is clearly not working for large portions of some populations. As an opponent of a $15/hr wage, what do you think should be done? Now, keep in mind that many proponents are already working in various places on social justice initiatives beyond fair wages, so don't go crib off what they'd say.

Tell me. In your own words. What would you do to mitigate the impact of a demonstrably harmful system that leaves thousands of people impoverished due to their ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation? And if it helps you come to an answer, tell me if you think it's fair that a good portion of these populations should earn considerably less than $15/hr?
Posted by Baconcat on March 26, 2014 at 4:40 PM · Report this
65
@47

But why ignore previous minimum wage increases, especially the increases that have occurred in Washington and brought the minimum up by a greater amount than the current proposal? Why ignore the data in the op-ed written by the very researchers presenting to the symposium you plan on attending? Why ignore what history has told us about the minimum wage and economic prosperity? If you're a fan of history, as you say, surely you'd want to investigate these things with an open mind.

The fact that you already called a $15 minimum unacceptable shows you're not being genuine. If you want to prove that $15 would irreparably damage Seattle, you need to present evidence, not theory, not a gut feeling, not complaints about the working poor being unfair to you. If you want to have a debate, then let's do it.
Posted by Chareth Cutestory on March 26, 2014 at 4:48 PM · Report this
66
"Compare Costco to Walmart. Or Starbucks to McDonald's. Or Tom Douglas restaurants to Olive Garden"

Why would we compare these? None of these are similar? And why do we keep bringing up Walmart that isn't even in Seattle?

I'm sorry Mr. Hanaeur feels guilty about being born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never having to work in a minimum wage job and work his way up, or operate a retail or food service type establishment from the ground up. I'm sorry he feels guilty that he is making so much money on Amazon, whom he admits has been a very destructive force to other businesses.

He is the 1%. He is untouchable. His wealth will never go away. This increase will mean absolutely nothing to him, his families, maybe his employees, but clearly he isn't terribly concerned with that or he would already be paying them a "living wage". So listening to him tell people blatant fairy tales while destroying people who actually work for a living is really difficult. Maybe more therapy Mr. Hanauer, or another boat or plane or something would make you happy.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 26, 2014 at 4:53 PM · Report this
67
@ 65

Regarding your 1st paragraph: what are all these facts and historical precedents that you suggest are so persuasive in support of a $15 min wage? If they are so persuasive then why aren't you presenting ANY of them? I think we both know the answer.

Regarding your 2nd paragraph: sorry, but the burden of proof lies with the supporters of this proposed law, not the other way around.
Posted by rolo tomasi on March 26, 2014 at 5:00 PM · Report this
68
#19 - you really need to take a good look in your soul if your are consistently looking at other people making a few more dollars than you and feeling resentful. What do you feel about those that make less?

You do realize that while you might be happy making the same as the person a few dollars above you, they would not be happy making the same amount as you do, because one would presume (although, yes life is not always fair and perfect) that they are providing more value than you, thus the higher pay.

Posted by ahumanbeing on March 26, 2014 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Baconcat 69
@61: Ah, but small businesses still profit from this situation. To say low wage workers must choose between small businesses and low wages or box stores and higher wages is a ridiculous proposition. It essentially says that low wage workers actually owe businesses of a certain size something out of this whole arrangement and that the real enemy is not the inequality but an oh-so-scary box store that might show up. It pretends that the burden of inequality must be shouldered for as long as possible until small businesses can be propped up high enough and then we can work on fixing the problem.

You should review that wage increases have never once caught up to early- and mid-century inflation thanks to being stalled, watered down, carved out and made weak in the face of demands business made in various points from the wartime accord era. Hell, part of the impetus that urged Nixon to sign his minimum wage increase was anxiety over the war compounded by broad wage inequality. It really will take double-digit increases to catch up. That's raw economic fact.

Next up, what in the world is this:

First, you get people fed and healthy, then help them with the roof over their head, then educate or train them in a skill...then put them to work. The idea is that they feel better about themselves and might even have a chance at happiness. Leaving out these steps, will only produce more of the same and that's just One problem with this 15 NOW. But we all know that's a daunting task and someone will have to grow some fairly big cojones to tackle all that AND tell corporations to go take a hike right our of our city


I can't think of any rational activist who thinks we can leave social welfare behind in this whole thing. Addressing income inequality is a part -- a middling sized part -- of a broader initiative. And on top of that it's terribly condescending to say "well, take care of their needs and they'll feel better about themselves and it'll all work out". I've seen people in my tribe and other tribes, immigrants and people of color struggle through school with some help only to land on their faces when they're done because, even when they get help, there's always unseen things that obstruct and offend every effort certain people make to better themselves. So activists, the ones doing the work, aren't committing themselves to the limited cause of preventing harm to small businesses by hiding behind the genuinely oppressed. They're doing EVERYTHING THEY CAN to solve real problems.

Finally, importantly: don't go waving your finger at activists by saying poor and underserved groups need to be made to feel happy first. I'm hella happy right now. I can look at statistics that say only 3/10 people of Native American/Alaska Native descent that can even manage to be hired amid awkwardly high unemployment will even get a decent wage (I got my diploma, call me somebody!) and yet I still call my grandma, who was called "injun" and other even worse pejoratives to her face when she was out in the workforce, and we'll still laugh and have a good conversation because, hell, we're happy. So don't worry about that.
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Posted by Baconcat on March 26, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
threnody 70
"The only people who will finance this expansion are the middle class- workers and small business owners alike. There is not going to be a fresh influx of cash in the system which can alleviate that."

Why don't more people realize this is the truth? 15now and Sawant have grossly oversimplified who gets to call themselves a "worker." If you started a business and hired some people, you are now either Corporate America or a Pawn of Corporate America...in their eyes.

Many small businesses in Seattle have working owners. It's sad that The Stranger is supporting ideologues who have started with an arbitrary number, putting local, liberal, community-focused small businesses in the position of coming out against a minimum wage increase...when that goes against their values. $15 is just too high and January 1st, 2015 is just too soon.

Studies that have shown that tiny minimum wage increases succeeded really don't prove anything about the efficacy of a giant increase overnight, sorry. They just do not.

Also, Sawant is right that Big Business is hiding behind small businesses on this issue. But she and 15now have set it up so that Big Business is the only winner of this situation. Small biz either fights this and wins concessions of some kind, or the minimum goes to $15, the small businesses go under and Big Business wins.

If I were the CEO of a large retailer or restaurant chain I would write Sawant a campaign donation check right now.
Posted by threnody on March 26, 2014 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 71
@60

OK, then, If you don't like my examples, then you pick the examples.

Which minimum wage increases would you like to study? Which states do you want to use for comparison? Can you cite any that tell us the wage increase will lead to disaster? And why haven't you done so yet? What are you waiting for?

If the burden of proof were on those who would raise the minimum wage, then it would never have been raised in history. It would never exist.

But it does exist. And it has been raised many times. Please cite any of those times when it has led to harm.

And what about Australia? The whole country is over $15/hr. Why hasn't Australia collapsed?

Why am I talking to a person who doesn't even get my Reagan reference? Especially when he represents 25% of the electorate. Hey, let's vote on it, buddy. You're going to lose.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM · Report this
72
"Also, Sawant is right that Big Business is hiding behind small businesses on this issue."

I don't think big business is hiding at all. $15 Now is mad because they aren't getting a fight from the people they hate so much. They are mad because the REAL PEOPLE are getting in the way and showing them the real numbers of what damage this is going to cost to small employers, their employers, their landlords, their communities, their tax revenue, etc...

Big business really doesn't care. This isn't their fight. They can absorb it. They will just raise the prices, adjust. And, while I know people believe it is really hard to find a job, it is actually really hard for an employer to find good people. This is going to leave a lot of options (potential employees) out there for them to pick and choose from. And as jobs will be more competitive in the city, they can also ask more of the people because their choices will be reduced.

So, yeah, just a win-win for everyone. Money falling from the sky... right into the hands of the 1%. I guess they earned it.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 26, 2014 at 5:32 PM · Report this
73
"And what about Australia? The whole country is over $15/hr. Why hasn't Australia collapsed?"

Actually, not accurate. They have a teenage wage of $8USD and very high youth employment. In fact most of your McDonald's are staffed by teenagers. In Europe they are highly computerized so have less staff.

And of course they charge a lot more. So, in the end, does it matter what the amount you get paid is when the buying power is the same?

Posted by ahumanbeing on March 26, 2014 at 5:39 PM · Report this
74
Raising the minimum wage is important but it must be done responsibly to make sure do unnecessary harm to our city and it's Social service Org's and local businesses. I read recently a quote by The Arc of King County ~ "funding for vital services is appropriated by the state Legislature, matched with federal Medicaid funds and allocated to hours of service. As a result, providers are limited in how much we can pay employees. We cannot simply raise prices to meet a new minimum wage."
YES let's find a responsible way to raise the minimum wage without hurting our city and the identity we care so much about. We are being irresponsible by not getting all the facts and just advocating to raise the minim wage without asking the right questions.
Posted by Polyp on March 26, 2014 at 5:47 PM · Report this
75
@67

Previous wage hike: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

Researcher's Op-Ed: http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/opiniona…

High minimum tied to job creation: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-05…

That takes care of my first paragraph. Your turn.
Posted by Chareth Cutestory on March 26, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
76
@65
Glad your back. Tricky, tricky, tricky. Nothing up your sleeve right? Good misdirection. Drop a few letters here, add a few letters there. But I'm paying attention and so is the rest of Seattle. To clarify, I didn't call $15 minimum unacceptable, I said $15Now is unacceptable.

And why don't I compare apples to pears? Because I actually want standards of living for the poorest in our city to improve, I'm not just looking for a quick win. I will not rely on old data from an economy 20 years ago+ to instruct me enough to tinker with peoples lives. Actual work has to be done before a remedy can emerge.

Data? Where's the data? I'm dying to see it. All I see is a very biased analysis of a few data points. I am certainly not going to the Symposium to hear any "research" by Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu. I will look at the data from the real researchers myself and form my own opinion, thank you very much. I am a free thinker and I'll not be spoonfed.

How can I claim that $15Now is unacceptable? Because The Seattle Human Services Coalition report from February indicated that an unintended consequence of such an ordinance would deny access to critical services to vulnerable, low income people. It is cruel to pit one low income group against another. And in my world, it is unacceptable.

When I have the data, I certainly will present evidence to further illustrate what I know from my own personal realities. Like an avalanche. Because unlike the loudest voice in the room, I ask questions before I come up with an answer.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 26, 2014 at 5:58 PM · Report this
77
@28 - When someone calls in sick and you sub, not only is the company paying you, they are paying the sick person too. No extra profits that day, just extra cost.

Unless you know business, run one or studied p&l statements for a job, or a significant area of study in school, you have no idea what the expenses of running a business are which you clearly just have proven by suggesting a profit when an employee calls in sick.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 26, 2014 at 5:59 PM · Report this
78
I think one of the best things that the $15Now campaign has and will do is motivate all of Seattle's supposedly progressive, supposedly compassionate small-business owners to actually put their energy where their high-minded mouths have been for the past several years. I mean, look at the responses from the $15Now "opponents" scrambling to figure out a way to raise their own employee's wages. I mean... it's not as though income inequality is a new issue, it just took a Socialist city council candidate igniting a grassroots efforts for an, admittedly somewhat hyperbolic, minimum wage initiative, to actually get these people to the table to craft actual policy to make something actually happen... instead of hearing them passively supporting the **idea** of addressing income inequality... you know... if it ever came up... you know, not that as a business owner I have any direct influence or stake in... you know, anyone's actual income.

Don't get me wrong... I'm excited to hear what they come up with. Because I know that there are few things as effective as a motivate entrepreneur, especially when the business they've poured themselves into is potentially at stake. I also don't blame them for being a little bit scared or even crowing about fairness. They built their business to be successful in a specific clearly defined economic climate (albeit a horribly inequitable climate for the people who actually make their business run) and this $15Now would constitute a serious climate shift.

Just don't expect much sympathies for the fact that the $15Now folks are forcing you to engage in helping craft a solution, since apparently that is what it took to bring your energies to the problem. It seems completely appropriate to me for Seattle’s small-business owners to be the ones busting their humps trying to figure out how to get to where a seeming majority of people in the city want to be (if we accept poll data that has been presented in previous articles that I am too lazy to look up and link to but I know they are out there) in a way that keeps their businesses viable.
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Posted by SimplyNotClever on March 26, 2014 at 6:13 PM · Report this
79
@78

So, The Socialist Alternative is making Seattleites talk about things that we didn’t have the fortitude to face before Sawant arrived in our city -- or is it just small business owners that are all talk and no action? Wrong on all accounts. Socialists offer up a simple “solution” to problems prevalent everywhere in the U.S. Well, there is no simple solution. Socialists don't abide by capitalism as a rule. This is poison. We all know from injecting the Tea Party into Congress, that there is no value to electing representatives to our government who only want to dismantle the system.

Sawant exploited the strong social justice ethics of Seattle citizens to get elected and is now dividing us politically instead of creating any kind of momentum where we can actually work towards solutions beyond the minimum wage.

These are not the activists of Seattle, they take activism to a dark place. They are idealists. Idealists do not play well with others. The only answer to an unbalanced amount of idealism is pragmatism at every turn.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 26, 2014 at 6:32 PM · Report this
80
@76

See post 75 for citations.

I swear, you'd win an award in rhetoric if you ever entered. Despite the concerned and moralistic tone, the content of your post doesn't give the same impression. Consider the "apples to pears" cliché you employ: you're using a rhetorical device to hide from comparison. You must know there can never be an exact comparison in a situation like this. Waiting until you find (in your opinion) a precise comparison simply means we'll be waiting for you to happen upon a bit of data matching your assumptions. If none comes along, you can safely retreat by claiming we're headed into dangerous, unprecedented territory, and thar be dragons in those waters.

However, we aren't. We've already weathered a wage hike of roughly 80% in the past. The fact that it happened 20 years ago doesn't change the percentage - it's the size and speed of the increase that counts. Think about it another way. Does the historical distance from yourself to John Adams, your favorite founding father, render his actions obsolete? Obviously, the answer is no. A study of history gives us a context by which we can understand and measure modern events; you cannot simply dismiss what you dislike.

You also ignore a rather prominent fact - SHSC actually supports a $15/hour minimum. To quote them directly, "SHSC fully supports raising the minimum wage for all human services workers (and others) to $15/hr." Does this change your opinion? Or were you originally lying and hoping no one would catch you?

You do bring up a very valid point near the end - "personal realities." In your personal reality, this isn't a working class movement; this is some sort of political game. In your personal reality, you're out to protect the poor, instead of the status quo. In your personal reality, restaurant and bar payroll didn't increase by 21%, when, despite dire predictions of job loss and stagnation, Washington raised the statewide minimum, becoming the highest in the US.

Perhaps if you employed a little empathy, you'd find it easier to see outside yourself, to see what most of us already see. No matter how concerned for the poor you are, you must know that concern alone doesn't raise people out of poverty, and it certainly doesn't repair the economic injustices of the past.
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Posted by Chareth Cutestory on March 26, 2014 at 7:37 PM · Report this
81
@80

Yes. Historical distance matters very much because the cultural and economic climates change. The economic climate is even different today than it was in 2008. Historical data informs, but we need facts and prudent dialogue without condescension to give us robust legislation.

Maybe you have come across some unsavory characters in your life, but I am not a liar, I do not want to win awards and I don't believe in dragons.

And, just a reminder, I am not against $15. I am against $15Now.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 26, 2014 at 8:14 PM · Report this
82
Read this article. "Stop Welfare At The TOP".

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/20…
Posted by Pluto in Capricorn on March 26, 2014 at 10:46 PM · Report this
83
@58

Whooooaaaaa, way too much sugar, sugar! I have been an employer, and an employee, I know both sides, and as an employee, I accepted the job they gave me usually minimum wage, I was a food service worker 40 years. You should be proud of yourself, you did what you needed to do to better your life, and for that I salute you, that's what they need to do too. Hopefully the next plane you get on had a competent mechanic! A fast food worker makes a mistake, you get a fresh order, an aircraft mechanic makes a mistake, you're gonna drop out of the sky, tell me which job is justified for higher wages.
Posted by formosagal on March 26, 2014 at 10:48 PM · Report this
84
"It would be great for business."

Sure, it stands to reason that if one puts more money into an environment, that that extra money will be spent...somewhere.

The HUGE problem with this ill-considered and bias-led statement/belief is that for the businesses that will fall the victims to this new 60% increase in payroll expense (before we even talk about the increase in expense from a businesses purveyors, but we'll leave that relevant point to another day), there's absolutely no guarantee that if a business has to increase their prices by 25% in order to match the rise in costs, that they will get 25%+ more income in order to stay even. In fact, it's inane to even CONSIDER this to be any kind of reality out side of what someone will tell you to get you to believe them.

Please keep in mind, Dear Fellow Citizens, that these people who wrote this are trying to convince you. They are whispering sweet nothings in your ear and seducing you with their saccharine promises.

The problem? They are wrong. ANY businessperson worth $5 will tell you that THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN. I'll tell you that - hell, I just did. It won't happen. The most basic laws/rules of competition make such a statement to be laughable. To be hysterical. Well, they would be laughable and hysterical if their foolish argument if made a reality would not cost so many people their businesses and so many of their employees their jobs.

BUT! The sad comedy of these two continues when they write, " this isn't a town like Dallas or New York that worships the super-wealthy and believes in trickle-down economics."

Yes, we don't subscribe to "trickle-down economics", but NEITHER will we fall for your what I like to call 'Trickle Around Economics'. They're trying to sell you a talking point, a slogan - but we can't govern by talking points and sloganeering. WE need to make good choices with facts & reason, and so far we get just manipulative feel-good rhetoric.

Funny how they will cite Tom Douglass restaurants as 'proof' that we Seattleites are better, but didn't Tom Douglas himself claim that he'd have to probably close a number of his restaurants and increase his prices? But, that's the rub, 'eh? To quote Caddyshack, 'The world needs ditchdiggers, too.', and these people want to make you their ditch digger.

The rest of this is the same balderdash. The same International Socialist nonsense. The same 'Trust Me' reasoning.

If you want to trust someone, trust someone that owns a small business here in Seattle. Because, unless we're all liars, we're here to tell you that many of us will close if we have to go to $12.50, much less $15 which I GUARENTEE you will result in mass closings. Yes, I know, they'll tell you that this is just scare-mongering, but it's the truth.

Don't let these people Wormtongue-like whisper those sweep promises in your ears. They are wrong, and their error will be your hardship.
More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 26, 2014 at 11:01 PM · Report this
85
@81 "And, just a reminder, I am not against $15. I am against $15Now."

Well that's good to here seeing as Sawant proposed a 3 year lead in. So you're essentially fighting a ghost now.

And this is why you're a disingenuous POS.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on March 27, 2014 at 12:46 AM · Report this
gtk 86
every high school dropout and waste of air deserves $15.00 an hour. Do it all at once and see what happens to your economy.
Posted by gtk on March 27, 2014 at 7:11 AM · Report this
87
I'll keep this short and to the point.

City government should not be writing payroll policy for private business.

City government should stay out of the Human Resource arena for private business.

Why?

Once this single policy is voted up or down, they will move on and forget this entire issue.

A simple vote on minimum wage doesn't make them business partners.

When you take on the responsibility of payroll decisions you should be prepared to continue involvement with the businesses you are immediately impacting.

Everyone knows that will not happen.
Posted by # no fear on March 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM · Report this
88
Why would an entrepreneur ever start a business in Seattle? He or she could do better in Bellevue, Redmond, Factoria, Tacoma, Everett... where wage rages will be significantly lower.

Think about this: A company with 10 minimum wage employees will have an increase of $120,00 per year in payroll. Do the math. $6 x 2000 hrs x 10 people + $120,000. Most small businesses do not even earn $120,000. These businesses must close down or move out of Seattle.
Posted by Taupe on March 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM · Report this
89
Why would an entrepreneur ever start a business in Seattle? He or she could do better in Bellevue, Redmond, Factoria, Tacoma, Everett... where wage rages will be significantly lower.

Think about this: A company with 10 minimum wage employees will have an increase of $120,00 per year in payroll. Do the math. $6 x 2000 hrs x 10 people + $120,000. Most small businesses do not even earn $120,000. These businesses must close down or move out of Seattle.
Posted by Taupe on March 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
90
I think minimum wage agitators should come to the table with something other than shopworn slogans and a commingled sense of victimhood and entitlement. Can employers who are forced at the barrel of the government gun to raise wages expect a commensurate increase in productivity and decrease in absences?
Posted by dean.fuller on March 27, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
91
If a higher minimum wage increases demand and the standard of living for all, then why not make the minimum wage $100 per hour. $15 is still not a great lifestyle. If everybody keeps benefiting the high it goes, then why are we debating $15, why not $100-$150 per hour so then everybody can really benefit!

Very clear that writer of this piece has no grasp on macroeconomic principals.
Posted by taylorcoug on March 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
92
If a higher minimum wage increases demand and the standard of living for all, then why not make the minimum wage $100 per hour. $15 is still not a great lifestyle. If everybody keeps benefiting the higher it goes, then why are we debating $15, why not $100-$150 per hour so then everybody can really benefit!

Very clear that writer of this piece has no grasp on macroeconomic principals.This is the most uneducated piece of dribble I have seen in awhile.
Posted by taylorcoug on March 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM · Report this
93
That's a good point. Why not just make it $30/hour if it helps so much? I'd like a serious answer.
Posted by seatownr on March 27, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 94
@73

So you want buying power to be the same? Then you would support a Federal minimum wage of over $11/hr to maintain the buying power workers -- even teenagers! -- had in 1968? And if you make Washington's minimum wage proportionate to that, you get at least $14.15 per hour. For the whole state. And if you account even a little for the higher costs in Seattle, you've got to be talking about at least $15/hr in Seattle.

And that's just buying power. The loss of buying power that minimum wage workers have had in the last 40 years is what we're trying to fix. It doesn't even account for the increase in worker productivity that would put wages at over $22/hr. Which you can't say is only due to computers; it that were true, US productivity wouldn't be so much higher than Europe.

I like your focus on purchasing power though. It gets us to at least $14.15 per hour. So your quibbling over the last 85 cents, I take it?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 95
@93

Because $15/hr has the support of 68% of Seattle voters and will pass in a landslide. The amount $15 was chosen because it fairly splits the difference between what the minimum used to be back when America had a middle class to speak of, and the current, much higher, hourly worker productivity.

Are you thinking that after $15/hr passes, labor is just going to pack up and go home and not ask for anything more? Not likely. Going to $30/hr would certainly start to make a dent in the heinous wealth inequality in the country, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

There's more to come.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 96
@88

Why would an entrepreneur ever start a business in Washington?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
97
@95 - yeah, because every job should pay $60k a year! People will decide to pursue education and difficult paths out of the goodness of their heart rather than taking the easiest and quickest job they can find that pays $30/hr. Everyone can choose how they'd like to contribute and it will all turn out fine because folks are just that altruistic. How libertarian of you.
Posted by tempo36 on March 27, 2014 at 3:51 PM · Report this
98
It's an article void of reasoning. Add to that the hypocrisy of the author and it becomes just another poorly thought out screed.
Posted by queens1 on March 27, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this
99
"Someone who works full-time in Seattle should be able to live in Seattle."

This is a crazy argument. If you modify it to "Someone who works full-time in Seattle in a job Seattle values enough to pay a living wage, should be able to live in Seattle" then the problem solves itself.

Just because you choose to spend your time at a crappy job, doesn't mean you're owed $15/hr.
Posted by this is crazytalk on March 27, 2014 at 4:11 PM · Report this
100
@95, if 15/hr will pass in a landslide, why not bump it to $20 and let it easily pass with a simple majority? Anything less than $20 seems cruel. Then maybe set a goal of $100/hr minimum wage within 5 years?

Posted by seatownr on March 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM · Report this
101
Cthulu has got to the one of the dumbest shitheads on this site....absolutely clueless about economics.

Look you lazy asshole, I get it: you want more than the $10 you are making now. Fine, then go get yourself a new set of skills or more education. Dumb-ass potheads and losers need to realize that when they don't have any skills, then they don't get to earn very much money. That's how the world works. You want more cash, then go earn it like the rest of us, asshole.

Fucking burger flippers and sandwich artists dont deserve $15/hour. PERIOD.
Posted by you don't deserve a raise on March 27, 2014 at 5:45 PM · Report this
102
Another point that I have heard that has not been much discussed. Small scale industry in Seattle sells mostly to clients out side of Seattle. They will see zero increase in their sales but a huge rise in the cost of doing business which is already high in this city. Do we still want light industry in Seattle?
Posted by bebob52 on March 27, 2014 at 6:38 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 103
@100

I like that plan. But they already bought the 15now.org domain. Maybe next year we'll do 20Now.

In real dollars, ordinary people in every town in America used to get $11/hr. The lowest, youngest, least educated. $11/hr. In little podunk one gas station towns in the middle of South Dakota they paid over $11. That's the country we used to live in.

Yet $15/hr in an expensive city like Seattle sounds like pie in the sky? And the bottom line is that what it costs to live. Anything less and you're asking somebody else -- the government, the taxpayer, other workers -- to make up the difference. $15/hr removes untenable externalities from worker's real incomes.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 7:46 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 104
@101

The reason you can't win this vote is that not enough Seattle voters share your contempt for low wage workers. And you guys are going to try to win a campaign where your hatred threatens to boil over every time you open your mouth?

It's going to be Mitt Romney's 47 percent video all over again. You know who caught Romney saying what he really thinks? A bartender that Mitt treated like a piece of furniture.

You guys have lost this argument. You've lost the voters. Nobody believes you, nobody shares your contempt and bile.

You know why nobody buys it? Facts.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this
105
@104

and when unskilled fools like you get laid off, I will still be laughing all the way to the bank. You want to know why? Because I have marketable skills that are valued in the job market. You on the other hand, can only try and "vote" yourself a raise. LMFAO..loser. People like you are in the position you are in because you expect everything to be given to you - never once do you actually think to improve your lot in life by actually working for it.

face it: no skills = small wage.
Posted by you still don't deserve a raise on March 27, 2014 at 9:22 PM · Report this
106
After corporate downsizing in his middle age, my dad bought a restaurant in Iowa. As a new small business owner, he soon found himself working 80 hours a week for what amounted to almost $3.75 an hour. Just over $15K/year, which went a lot further for a family of 6 in 1980 than today, but not what he had envisioned.

Labor costs were 35% of revenue.

A 61% increase in pay - really closer to 65% once the employer match on Social Security taxes is also factored in - would have increased labor costs to more than 57% of revenue. That would have easily wiped out all of Dad's income - and a lot more.

If Dad had faced that he could have shut down the business - eliminating 24-28 jobs, plus his. Or he could have raised prices 22% to accommodate the increase in labor costs while maintaining his own income. Probably even more, as it wasn't the kind of town that would absorb a 22% price increase for an option like eating out, so he would have had to get even more money out of fewer customers. Or have fewer employees for the lower volume of business.

Of course, his hourly income would have been a lot lower than that of his lowest paid employee at that point.

That was only one small business. Different businesses vary. But it's why I'm skeptical of those who minimize the impact this will have on businesses and prices.

Posted by madawa on March 28, 2014 at 7:21 AM · Report this
107
Exellent example above by madawa. That is how it plays out in real life. The money has to come from somewhere.

Americans need to learn more about how business works. Businesses are nowhere near as profitable as many think. They are not sitting on piles of cash. They only make a nickel in profit for every $1 of sales, not 50% as many think.

How about the people who want to earn more go start their own small business, start their own restaurant, instead of asking others to give them more.
Posted by Taupe on March 28, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
108
@83
No one is saying that airplane mechanics should make the same as fast food workers. We just think that anyone who works full time, in this country, should make enough to live on, and "but I want to make x-much more than service workers! my feelings will be hurt and I'll stop doing my fucking job, if I don't" is a pretty weak argument.

And as an employer, if your business model depends on paying people so little, you don't "understand" anything but your own inability to make a proper business model. If your business goes under because of the increase, good. This is Seattle. We have zero problem attracting businesses here, so this is purely your own problem.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on March 28, 2014 at 3:20 PM · Report this
109
@107
The restaurant business is tough, for sure. But there are a lot of rich people in this city, and they all like to eat out. There's huge demand.

After the increase you could raise prices, just like a lot of businesses will, and remain competitive. Or, maybe your business model doesn't work even then, and you'll go under. The thing is, Seattle's workers can't wait around for every single person that wants to run a restaurant in this city can realize their dream. If you can't make it work, this isn't for you, too bad. Try something else. Not Seattle's problem.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on March 28, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
110
@109 The rich people in town may not care if prices go up a lot. But there are a lot more folks in the middle in this town. Raising the minimum wage won't raise their wages, so a big increase in restaurant prices will mean those folks will eat out less. Or take their dining business to Bellevue or some other adjacent suburb. It's not like lower cost alternatives won't be conveniently available - Seattle is surrounded by alternatives. And there's no reason to conclude that the rich will suddenly eat out more in Seattle because the middle are eating out in Seattle less.

Losing business to the suburbs makes it Seattle's problem.
Posted by madawa on March 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM · Report this
111


Losing small businesses in Seattle will be everyone's problem. welcome to fast food nation..have fun working for the chains.
Posted by goodluck on March 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM · Report this
112
@108, airplane mechanics go to school to learn a craft that will offer higher pay than an unskilled job. Do you think anyone would go through the effort and investment of vocational school if they'd make basically the same thing delivering pizzas? Do you not understand this concept at all? (incentive to better one's self through school/training)

Posted by seatownr on March 28, 2014 at 5:37 PM · Report this
113
109@ your argument is terrible. In summary if costs go up and you cant operate as a business leave seattle. What then happens to in my case 70 employees who have no job? You know the seattle worker who gets to look at the job ads at $15 per hour jobs being about as realistically attainable at their skill level as the majority of us getting a director job at amazon. Yes some would find work i acknowledge that( renton, everett, fed way). Its funny to me about how u suppose its a noble cause to raise costs on some minimum wage employers by 67 percent but find it an injustice when land lords do the same to their tenants and the tenants are forced to move. Point in case if your rent/mortgage went up by 60% would u a) leave b) get a second job ie; raise prices c) stay. Fyi the only people defending this against point of view are the small local business and big business is silent. Strangebed fellows you have their now15.
Posted by A real live employer on March 28, 2014 at 7:09 PM · Report this
114
I have a perverse observation against raising the minimum wage to $15. Hear me out: so (I agree) a great argument for a $15 minimum wage is that anything else than a "living wage" is really just taxpayer subsidy of corporate profits, a la Walmart, when the money those workers make is inadequate to free them from government assistance. HOWEVER...for people in King Co, WHEN a $15 minimum wage goes in effect, we will generate more federal tax receipts. We won't adjust our state tax receipts because -ha! - we don't have a state tax! So the net effect of raising the minimum wage here will actually be to ENABLE trickle-down confederate capitalism in other shitty-ass parts of the country, and federal spending on our corporate kleptocracy, shit the DOD wants, etc., all the while siphoning dollars from our beautiful, prosperous, enlightened enclave. I oppose the increase in wages to $15 unless it's a FEDERAL minimum, because I don't want to weaken the Pacific Northwest. Last, I support legislation that prohibits any business owner/CEO from making more than 100 times the lowest earner in the company. You're a shitty-ass CEO that wants to take home still more? Well, you better pay top janitorial wages too. Assholes.
Posted by Danarchy on March 29, 2014 at 8:53 AM · Report this
115
Why doesn't anyone ever bring up the fact that if we cut spending at the federal level people wouldn't have to be contributing to spend 100 million on research studies on how to get people to buy more maple syrup done by a Senator or congressmans buddy or the fact that we spend 90 k a Hellfire missel to kill children in a sovereign nation that were not at war with? Instead of demanding more money why don't we ask our politicians to spend less and do it more responsibly? If this is done quickly instead of properly the outcome will be worse than if nothing was done at all.
Posted by The Artful Dogger on March 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM · Report this
116
The dole dependent states of the former confederacy are the fastest growing states in America. Fastest economic growth...by far the fastest population growth. Dallas/Houston/ San Antonio/Austin in Texas by the way are growing and providing much better than minimum wage jobs. Low taxes, rational regulation, business friendly government wins every time.

BTW we in the former confederacy have a much lower dole dependency rate than the Northeast, West Coast or Midwest. People cannot wait to move here.

Texas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Nashville even Louisiana with 5% unemployment are superior to Seattle in standard of living and upward mobility. Seems like even South Carolina, the heart of secession has taken a big deal away from Seattle.

Keep dreaming. Have a nice day.
Posted by mhc4bucks on March 29, 2014 at 5:31 PM · Report this
117
The dole dependent states of the former confederacy are the fastest growing states in America. Fastest economic growth...by far the fastest population growth. Dallas/Houston/ San Antonio/Austin in Texas by the way are growing and providing much better than minimum wage jobs. Low taxes, rational regulation, business friendly government wins every time.

BTW we in the former confederacy have a much lower dole dependency rate than the Northeast, West Coast or Midwest. People cannot wait to move here.

Texas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Nashville even Louisiana with 5% unemployment are superior to Seattle in standard of living and upward mobility. Seems like even South Carolina, the heart of secession has taken a big deal away from Seattle.

Keep dreaming. Have a nice day.
Posted by mhc4bucks on March 29, 2014 at 5:34 PM · Report this
118
@51 If this is the level of your economic analysis, how on earth do you run a business? Or is the product you are selling really only worth something to one consumer in the city - the guy who works for you? You're putting a lot of pressure on that dude! You could at least acknowledge that when you pay him, you don't 'lose' - you buy his labor!
Posted by diner mo on March 29, 2014 at 11:54 PM · Report this
119
@113 I'm not convinced that the 70 poverty wages you pay in order to run a business which is profitable only to you/your shareholders are a net positive, given that they help to drive the wage market down. The point of a higher minimum wage is that those $15 jobs will no longer be unobtainable to your employees. They will be the available minimum.

And here's the difference between employers and renters: people who have capital or access to capital can make choices that determine market conditions. E.g. at the moment you can choose to pay poverty wages regardless of how profitable your business becomes. No one (legally) has to care. You also have the option to alter your business model and pay decent wages, but until it's legislated, why would you bother?

This is the reason civilised societies temper market freedoms with protections for those who don't have the power that capital buys.
Posted by diner mo on March 30, 2014 at 2:25 AM · Report this
120
119.
Lets start off with I employ 70 people> not 70 poverty wages as a majority of my employee's make more then minimum wage(75% or more) nice assumption there. As for driving the wage market lower what would you suppose is more pure way of navigating the wage market for those ex-cons, non-english speaking & often low skilled workers then the current system.

Your argument with Employers vs Renters totally missed the point. My point was that a 63% increase in cost( realizing here I am aware that its likely to be phased in) is an incredible increase in cost to absorb. Employers btw are renters not just homeowners as your biased narrative would imply & do not have access by in large to large sums of capital by in large.

Food for thought: How does manufacturing fair in Seattle if they sell goods and services to a global market(ie;not the newly minted $15 dollar Seattle consumers you speak of). Let me guess they should just leave right? and their workers just a casualty for a dignified ginned up moral cause.

Renters have choices as well they could raise revenues(prices) by getting a 2nd/3rd job. Or get a roommate ect. But just like business owners they may choose to leave due to the burden of the new cost.

Do you really care about folks about the folks at the bottom of ladder? Have you done anything lately about it. Or this an intellectual sim city conversation that tickles moral background.
Posted by A real live employer on March 30, 2014 at 9:26 AM · Report this
121
@120 Sorry I misunderstood, it was the way you described your workers ("70 workers... You know the seattle worker...") that made me think you were paying them all minimum wage.

I have no idea what you mean about "a more pure way of navigating the market". This has nothing to do with how employees navigate the market. The state needs to provide basic wage protection for those people so that business owners don't exploit them. Simple.

For you it is not a 63% increase in labor costs, is it? It's only that much for 25% or less of your workforce. Is that a make or break difference for you? I have no idea, but I do know that with the current system, once you get profitable enough that it's no longer make or break, there's nothing to stop you continuing to pay poverty wages. Do you think that's fair?

Access to capital is generally what allows people to start in business. I'm not saying you're a billionaire, I'm just saying you very likely had that choice, and the majority of minimum wage workers do not.
Posted by diner mo on March 30, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
122
Lets see diner mo. If 15 is the new floor. The worker making $16 now is wanting $20. The $18 then wants $22 ect. So yes its a 63% increase in labor.

I think its fair to pay minimum wage as you note for someone who would otherwise make nothing. But if Cost of living keeps going up as it has been for 30 years what makes you think $15 is going to cut it. "Minimum" means your skills dictate you get the minimum.But everyone across the board gets a wage bump.

Looking deep down inside I want my employee's to live happy,prosperous lives.Which is why i pay more then minimum wage to the majority of them.But there is some very lowly skilled people I employ purely because of the minimum wage. So yes my business model should a needs to change as you pointed out. Once passed those lowly skilled people who make sense at 9.32 are gone @ 15. 70 now becomes likely 60 or 63. And guess what poverty doesnt come down abit.
Posted by A real live employer on March 30, 2014 at 10:53 AM · Report this
123
"We're all better off when w're all better off."
What a perfect summarization! Grand slams
the argument for the $15 minimum wage
right out of the park.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 30, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
124
@115: I like your thinking! I have an idea: why don't we cut the current wages of our do-nothing Congress, repeat offenders of The Extreme Court (read: the paid off judicial moron who ruled in favor of "Citizens United", who proclaimed that 'Corporations are people, too!"), deregulated Wall Street banksters, and House of Republicans all down to a Third World Level $1.25 an hour, since THEY'RE the ones hip on sending U.S. jobs overseas and hiring cheap, unskilled labor instead?

If we did that, would we get our country back?
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 30, 2014 at 5:18 PM · Report this
125
@122 It's really nice that you looked deep down inside and decided you wanted your workers to earn enough money to live on (except if they are ex-cons, non-English speaking or have low skills). I'm a bit unclear, though, about whether you hire those other people at poverty wages out of charity or whether you hire them because you have work to be done that helps to make your business profitable, and they do that work?

Also unclear about whether you are going to respond to a higher minimum wage by a) closing shop and firing all 70 people (dramatic!) b) firing 7-10 people whom you only hire at poverty wages for charitable purposes anyway and keeping everyone else's wages the same (not too much profit lost there), or c) raising all 70 workers' wages by 63% and hoping for the best (generous! but scary!). There's one more option you might not have thought of: d) raising your minimum wage earners to the new minimum (and keeping them on because they do work that you need), making smaller upward adjustments to next bottom tiers of your salary scale, and absorbing the costs through a combination of adjusted profit margins, adjusted prices and possibly expanded sales (if as predicted this helps stimulate the economy). Radical suggestion, but it is at least worth considering, isn't it?
Posted by diner mo on March 30, 2014 at 6:34 PM · Report this
126
@112 Who on earth is arguing that that minimum wage workers should make as much as airplane mechanics? Do airplane mechanics make $15/hr? They'll still make considerably more than minimum wage workers after the raise.

And no, it had never occurred to me that people can increase their pay by getting more education/skills. You literally just blew my mind.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on March 30, 2014 at 11:02 PM · Report this
127
@110 The idea that people who live in Seattle will drive to Bellevue to eat dinner because of higher prices is laughable. The price of gas alone would cut into any savings, and also, people don't live in Seattle so they can drive to Bellevue or another suburb for dinner. No one drives to the suburbs for dinner, unless it is for another reason (family/friends, they are already out there on some other errand). The middle class values eating out enough that they'll still do plenty of it.

Seattle's economy is thriving, and has no problem attracting people or business. A slight increase in restaurant and retail prices will have little if any effect on this.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on March 30, 2014 at 11:11 PM · Report this
128
@113. Oh, so you are going to fire all 70 of your employees, most of whom already make more than minimum wage, and put yourself out of business, because of this increase? That's dramatic. If the minimum wage employees you hire are only out of a sense of charity, and not because you need them to do work needed for your business to continue, you could just fire them and your business would see no impact. Easy.

And all of the minimum wage jobs in Seattle are going to disappear overnight, forcing restaurant workers, baristas, many hospital workers, cashiers, shelve stockers, janitorial workers, daycare and elder-care workers, and many others to go to the suburbs looking for work? Because Seattle, a city of 634,000, will have zero need for workers like this when the minimum wage increases? Sounds legit.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on March 30, 2014 at 11:20 PM · Report this
129
If I remember correctly, it wasn't that long ago that those confederate yokels took a few thousand of our "living wage" Boeing jobs back to South Carolina. Why, you ask? Because the folks in SC didn't feel the need to bitch and moan (and strike) about how much more they were entitled to. The just wanted to work. How'd that one work out for ya, Seattle? Sounds awfully similar to the extortion going on with this $15 entitlement vote. I'm sure the poor guys at the end of the Home Depot parking lot would gladly do your job for half of what you get paid now, and work three times as hard, Chong!

But hey, go ahead and vote yourself that raise you feel so earnestly entitled to, minimum-wage workers! Just remember that your much-deserved raise will be paid from the wages of the guy that is let go, and you are now responsible for doing his job as well! Good luck with that, bro!
Posted by suuuupbraaaaa on March 31, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Report this
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Diner Mo..
We do agree on a few things.
1. I will have to raise prices and test the market( not a threat just an economic reality)to see if customers are willing to pay them. I have tried it in the past when I expanded my labor force and their is an elasticity to demand even with a 1% increase.
2. I will let certain people go who are underskilled (7 on the shortlist currently)for $15 and likely replace them with some automated equipment which doesnt make sense at 9.32@ 1120 hours per month but does 15@ 1120 hours per month.

Do we agree that the idea of the "minimum wage" is to help poor workers make a better living?

Will some of these workers get $15...yes!! Will some be laid off yes!! Will it cause inflation in cost of Goods yes!! Will the cost of living be more affordable in Seattle for the poor?

After all San Francisco is often referenced as a great comparison for Minimum wage(27%)is the 2nd most expensive city in the United States.How many people making $15 could live in the confides of San Francisco or Seattle for that matter.

No one btw has answered about what happens to Manufacturing in Seattle. Seriously? These type of business dont derive any economic benefit from more Seattle-lites having discretionary income. They often sell globally. So their costs go up and no offset..
Posted by A real live employer on March 31, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
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While 15 now is a good idea, it's doomed to fail. It's good to think that prices will not go up, but people are gonna want the same profit margin they have now, so prices are gonna follow the increase of wages. The people that make more than min wage now, when the min wage goes up, will their wage follow the $6 increase, or will it go up to 15 or if they make more than 15, stay the same?
Min wage is for unskilled labor, and not something that should be long term. It's more for high school and beginning college kids. If you think it is suppose to be a livable wage, you are kidding yourself. If livable wage is $20 and you're making min wage, get a room mate or 2, that way you're splitting livable wage 3 ways (give or take a bit for food and stuff) so you can live of the current min wage.
In all, if you raise the min wage, every thing else is going to go up to follow suit.
The only way to even begin to fix the issue, is lower the cost of living. Living downtown in ANY major city is expensive, and if you think making min wage and living downtown is ever going to happen, dream on. As I said before, if you plan on LIVING off min wage for long term, you are gonna have to get roommates and live in the outskirts of the city, like Everett or further north. Instead of spending money debating this issue, spend the money in Schools or Public transportation so the people can get an education and get a higher paying job, or live in the cheaper areas and be able to commute to their job without having to pay for a car (gas, insurance...).
Posted by KevR on April 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM · Report this
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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn said, "even after the 80+% wage increase for tipped employees after I-518 in 1988. This $15 is only a 60% increase, smaller than in 1988, and it didn't cause a ripple"

What Ph'nglui conveniently left out was after that increase Seattle's inflation dramatically increased and was well above the national average. Here are the CPI #'s for Seattle for 88' & the years after. 88'-3.3 %, 89'-4.7%, 90'-7.4%, and 91'-5.8%, 92'-3.7%. The 3 years immediately after I-518 are the highest CPI increases in Seattle in the 25 years since 88', when supposedly not a "ripple" was caused.

I am not suggesting that the raise in wage was the only cause of this spike in inflation in Seattle, but to suggest that raising wages doesn't cause inflation is just ignorant. Unless of course you think the shareholders at Starbucks will take the extra costs out of their profits. (Not Likely) Or that the local coffee shop or bistro has such large margins they won't have to raise prices to remain profitable.

Posted by an actual small business owner on April 2, 2014 at 7:12 AM · Report this
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A Post on Crosscut.com from a Nick Hanuer employee

I worked at Pacific Coast Feather Company for over 3 years. I worked in a role that was lets say administrative and required a 4 COLLEGE degree. The pay was barely above the proposed minimum wage increase he is supporting. I find it funny that Mr. Hanauer wants to give someone flipping burgers a 200% raise increase. Yet his CEO instituted a wage freeze and laid off over 1/3 of his workforce from the Seattle corporate office over the past 2 years. This was after it was reported that the company had its highest profits in three years at last years corporate meeting which his brother Adrian attended. You might want to look in your own backyard before you start touting the benefits of raising the minimum wage sir quite honestly you come off as a moron. It seems that you don't have a clue whats happening to the company that built your family fortune. Or it could be that you just don't care or this is a jump point into some kind of political career. Pacific Coast Feather is KNOWN for underpaying its employee's just look at glass door. The people who worked and are currently working there didn't and don't deserve it.

— Unemployedandbroke
Posted by A real live employer on April 2, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
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Shifting money in the economy from producers to consumers in order to benefit producers is a poor argument. Redistributing wealth is always a bad idea. Having someone spend money on something they would not have done left to their own devices always leaves that person worse off. If I want to buy your pen for a dollar, because that's what it's worth to me, then I will gladly give you my dollar and you will give me your pen if you value the dollar more than the pen. If all of a sudden I'm forced to have to give more than a dollar, an amount that I would value more than the pen itself, then I would rather not buy the pen. I would be worse off. Anything that is done outside of free, voluntary exchange is always a con. It's quite simple, you do things voluntarily because you benefit from it. When you are coerced into doing something you are losing, or else you would not have to be coerced.
Posted by Roberto654 on April 4, 2014 at 1:07 AM · Report this
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Chicago Restaurants used to pay (and maybe still do) $1.00 per hour because they included tips as going toward the minimum wage. Now if I want to tip someone, that should be over and above their wages. (To Insure Promptitude)
Posted by hyp3rcrav3 on April 8, 2014 at 4:39 PM · Report this
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Just one question, Why doesn't Nick Hanauers company pay his employees $15 minimum wage? Oh, one more thing, why are most of his factories in low wage states and not the Pacific Northwest ?
Posted by Philharris on April 14, 2014 at 12:37 PM · Report this
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http://youpower.democracyforamerica.com/…

More money in the hands of workers means more demand and more jobs. If raising the minimum wage cost the loss of jobs those lost jobs will be starvation wage jobs which replaced the living wage jobs large corporations shipped overseas along with the money they are avoiding paying taxes on.

We don't want starvation wage jobs being the norm in this country! We need investment in public education, transportation systems, the things that historically create wide based prosperity and progress in America!

Short term corporate profits on the backs of low wage workers who can't afford their own food or education is a bad bet for America. These corporations are multinationals with no stake in the success of our communities. Time to protect our own. That takes setting a standard of decency in the work place.

Thanks!
Posted by Joseph Segal on April 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
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http://youpower.democracyforamerica.com/…

More money in the hands of workers means more demand and more jobs. If raising the minimum wage cost the loss of jobs those lost jobs will be starvation wage jobs which replaced the living wage jobs large corporations shipped overseas along with the money they are avoiding paying taxes on.

We don't want starvation wage jobs being the norm in this country! We need investment in public education, transportation systems, the things that historically create wide based prosperity and progress in America!

Short term corporate profits on the backs of low wage workers who can't afford their own food or education is a bad bet for America. These corporations are multinationals with no stake in the success of our communities. Time to protect our own. That takes setting a standard of decency in the work place.

Thanks!
Posted by Joseph Segal on April 27, 2014 at 11:06 AM · Report this
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I just looked in the Yellow Pages for the Walmarts in Seattle. And there are none! So the Walmart workers you are trying to help with this policy will see no effect to their wages. And as far as all the extra spending money that will enter our economy because of this - there is none! The money is already there and it's going to the small business owners profits. After $15 minimum wage goes into effect that money will just be transferred to the workers which means a net gain of zero for the economy from that money. The only gain will come in the form of the higher prices that everyone will have to pay for goods and services in Seattle. And another thing - the major benefit from this goes to the CITY OF SEATTLE GOVERNMENT in the form of all the additional Sales Tax they will collect from the higher prices we pay. And sadly, The Mayor's Advisory Committee on Income Inequality didn't even give the citizens a voice. Only businesses and Unions were represented there. They don't care about all of us Citizens who will have to live with the increased cost of living with no benefit. It's about enough to make me join the Republican party!
Posted by Newsmama on May 30, 2014 at 4:03 PM · Report this
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Okay two thoughts. First Aggregate Demand is the main driver of inflationary pressure, beside that you can have devaluation of currency but since the USD is a national currency a city implementing a higher minimum wage does not have to worry about #2. It does however have to worry about aggregate demand in particular demand for housing.

Second. Why stop at $15.00? Why not $20.00 or $25.00? Heck I know how to make it so Seattle is home to only the wealthiest people in the world, you make it $50.00 an hour!!! Viola problem solved no poverty.

Now add this into the equation. WE HAVE EXPERIMENTAL DATA AS TO WHAT HAPPENS WITH MINIMUM WAGE VERSUS NO MINIMUM WAGE!!!

It is in Europe. Look at France. Their minimum wage is $12.50 an hour. Their youth unemployment averages between 22% and 24%. In the USA at $7.25 it averages 12% to 14% and finally the economic powerhouse of Europe, Germany. Its minimum wage is... $0.00

That is right Germany has no minimum wage. Their youth unemployment rate is... 8% on average.

oh well whatever.
Posted by Innocent on June 2, 2014 at 6:10 PM · Report this

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