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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

$15 Minimum Wage: The Question Everyone Is Ducking

Posted by on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 10:27 AM

AVOWED BISEXUALS From left to right: Bill Gates, Dave Meinert, and Dorothy Bullitt.
  • Bisexuals laughing from
  • AVOWED BISEXUALS From left to right: Bill Gates, Dave Meinert, and Dorothy Bullitt.

I'm following the debate about the $15 minimum wage closely. I hate to be the one to raise this issue—this is going to play into all sorts of uninformed opinions about my position—but it has to be asked: Should bisexuals earning minimum wage be paid $15 an hour? Some people would argue that a person's sexuality shouldn't be taken into account when determining their hourly pay. But there are solid arguments on both sides of this pressing issue. Pro: bisexuals shouldn't be paid less than monosexuals. Simple fairness dictates that. Con: since all bisexuals have more than one partner and with three—or more—people splitting rent, utilities, and food expenses, bisexuals already have more expendable income than monosexuals do. Also, many of our region's highest earners are bisexual. Can you argue with a straight face that Bill Gates, Dave Meinert, and Dorothy Bullitt all deserve a raise?

I realize that this is an explosive issue and some readers are going to be angry that we're even addressing it. But we've never ducked the tough questions at Slog and we're not going to start now. In the interest of keeping this important dialogue going we set up a special email inbox. Please send us your thoughts, feelings, responses, and poetry.

Once again: I'm not taking a position on this issue one way or the other. I'm just asking a tough question. Clearly this is an issue that only a legally-binding Slog poll can resolve.


Comments (54) RSS

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Fnarf 1
Posted by Fnarf on March 4, 2014 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Swing and a miss, Dan.
Posted by bigyaz on March 4, 2014 at 10:37 AM · Report this
I think your minimum wage should go higher based on the number of sexual partners you have had. That way, when we meet a person with money we can just assume they are slutty.
Posted by Texans on March 4, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Not sure I'm getting your point here, Dan.
Posted by Luckier on March 4, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Duh. Thou dost confuse bisexuality with polygamy.

Polygamists don't have to be bisexual, and bisexuals don't have to be polygamists. Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you, but your question is illogical.

As for basing pay on the number of job-holders living in a household, does that mean that one person living alone, with two jobs should get paid half as much for each one?
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on March 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Report this
It depends. Are they an active bisexual? Or just have swung both ways in the past? Or just *could* go either way?

I mean, technically, Dan, you and I both are, since we've gone both ways at some point in our lives. Are we now?

We might need to get UW involved for this study. Get a grant. Possibly finance a grad student or two for it.
Posted by dagard on March 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Little early in the morning to be this high.
Posted by d.p. on March 4, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Oh, wait. I get it now. Trolling Westneat's mailbox over at the Seattle Times.

Can we send large attachments?
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on March 4, 2014 at 10:45 AM · Report this
And 5 makes a valid point. Should my polyamorous friends get paid as much as my monogamous self? Sure, they don't live with their other partners, but they do share expenses from time to time. Does that count? Or is that just a dating-related expense? Should they get an increase since they'll have more dating-related expenses, since they're dating more people?

Definitely need a study.
Posted by dagard on March 4, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 10

You guys, HE'S JUST ASKING THE QUESTION!! Any question, no matter how obviously loaded, irrelevant, or obviously designed to infuriate people with useless, baiting conflict, is fair game when it comes to the $15-an-hour debate. Haven't you been reading Facebook and Twitter? People just have, um, a lot of totally legitimate questions.

Posted by Dominic Holden on March 4, 2014 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Yep, I see Dan trying to annoy people. I don't particularly understand why, though. Is this just to generate angry letters to some dude at the Seattle Times?
Posted by SpaceGirl on March 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Fortunate 12
What if they were just bi in college? Should they get $12.50 an hour instead?
Posted by Fortunate on March 4, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
seatackled 13
I read Westneat's column last week about that upscale "liberal" and his need to pay low wages and I'm aware of the flack Dan has been getting from some bisexuals, and I'm going to say that brewing but as yet unconsumed coffee is why I don't quite get what Dan's doing here, but I still think this is a hilarious post of rarely matched brilliance.
Posted by seatackled on March 4, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
This trolling is too obvious to be funny, I'm afraid. And you know some people who are convinced Dan is biphobic are going to cite this (sans joking context) for years.
Posted by wxPDX on March 4, 2014 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Absolutely without a doubt!
Posted by Katch22.2 on March 4, 2014 at 11:06 AM · Report this
I just looked at the last couple of columns by Danny Westneat, and now I'm more puzzled than ever. Why are you picking on him? He seems pretty decent. Of all the douches out there, he barely pings the doucheometer past "1" (on a scale of 11).
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on March 4, 2014 at 11:07 AM · Report this
marymc 17
Jesus, Dan, defensive much? You're better than this.
Posted by marymc on March 4, 2014 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 18
If you don't get this, you're biphobic.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on March 4, 2014 at 11:15 AM · Report this
This is flat out funny, and if you don't get that you haven't been following the debate as closely as others, which includes lots of ham fisted class war baiting on Social media by at least one of the geniuses Mayor Murray appointed to his clusterf$&@ committee.
Posted by Yeah You on March 4, 2014 at 11:16 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 20
I love a granular joke. So sandy!
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on March 4, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
sasha 21
Personally I think metrosexuals are the true ignored demographic here. What about them?
Posted by sasha on March 4, 2014 at 11:38 AM · Report this
I cracked up. Well played Dan.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on March 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM · Report this
I obviously get that this is a joke, but one has to live in Seattle to get the joke, right?
Posted by adam.smith on March 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Dan, NEVER stop trolling the social justice idiots. No easily-offended, Oppression-Olympics-having, desperate to be victims group does more harm to people who actually care about equal pay and improving minority-majority schools and same-sex marriage and anti-bullying initiatives and are actually trying to make the world safer and more just for marginalized people.

Any time on of the freshman poli-sci majors opens their yaps about trigger warning and oppression culture and their silly earnest hand-wringing "debates" about how much privilege they have compared to other people, so they can use it to prove how oppressed (and therefore special) they are, they hurt people who are actually doing something. Every time they fail to get a joke, they hurt the cause more than 1000 easily-offended, Oppression-Olympics-having, desperate to be victims rich Republicans ever could.
Posted by statetheobvious on March 4, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Ophian 25
$20 an hour Mother Fuckers!
Posted by Ophian on March 4, 2014 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 26
@19 gets it.
Posted by Dominic Holden on March 4, 2014 at 12:10 PM · Report this
watchout5 27
Should people who take dick pics for cash be paid $15 an hour? Just asking the hard questions.
Posted by watchout5 on March 4, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 28
Bisexuals are commies. Just throwing that out there.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on March 4, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
@28: Sex from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on March 4, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Report this
lolorhone 30
@25: Worth every penny and then some, mon chapeau rose.
Posted by lolorhone on March 4, 2014 at 12:40 PM · Report this
seandr 31
I think this would force a lot of the smaller carnivals to close.
Posted by seandr on March 4, 2014 at 12:47 PM · Report this
seattlestew 32
@27, I see what you did there.

Also, obviously every pertinent public policy question needs a special subcommittee to come to a non-binding, prevaricating non-conclusion that will fail to inform the lawmakers who actually make the decision about said question. Especially the tough questions, that just need asking. Because.
Posted by seattlestew on March 4, 2014 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 33
Is there a training wage? And do we put condoms on the tips?
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 4, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
venomlash 34
this is bait
Posted by venomlash on March 4, 2014 at 1:05 PM · Report this
I'm so tired of my tax dollars subsidizing the healthcare of bisexuals who make an unlivable minimum wage. Totally sick of paying for all their saxophones, mono-sexuality re-training programs, and having that additional vagina removed from their foreheads. Just the other day I was talking to a bisexual (I could tell cause of the forehead scars) who had just finished his shift at Elliot Bay books and was on the way to his second job at McDonalds, and I was like, "Damn, too bad small business Socialism NIMBY Bertha minimum closet wage in-the-closet times!"
Posted by emmaz on March 4, 2014 at 1:09 PM · Report this
"$15 wages for some, miniature American flags for others."
Posted by Stoner Freeman on March 4, 2014 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Helix 37
The entire joke is lost if you don't mouseover and see what the email address is.
Posted by Helix on March 4, 2014 at 1:32 PM · Report this
i realize this is making fun of the habit of some on the committee to "ask a question" without committing to a stance, and agree that the "asking the question" guise can get annoying. but it's useful that they continue raising the issue of the challenges associated with raising minimum wage. most reasonable people agree there's a cost to everything and that things need to be implemented smartly, but unfortunately it seems the loudest voices - other than the unnamed culprit here - seem to be either uber-libertarians and "all-or-nothing" MW folks. The former ignore the risk that a true free market without a floor for wages could result in a race to the bottom for low wage jobs, which just compounds the problem, and the latter keep responding to suggestions that businesses might need to close/cut jobs/cut hours by saying they deserve to close for paying slave labor, insodoing drastically redefining the definition of slave. neither of these responses is helpful in reality to the worker who currently can't make ends meet, or the hypothetical worker who won't make ends meet when he loses his job/is forced to work fewer hours. the truth is, nobody - NOBODY - knows what will happen when we raise the MW from $9.32 to $15. hence, the need for "asking the question" - e.g., keeping the discussion going about all the possible risks and costs so that the final product can address these concerns. so, funny post, but not so funny.
Posted by JRT on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
@38, I see your point about raising the hard questions, but it's disingenuous to do it under that guise when one clearly has a stance they are too cowardly to admit to, and backs off every time they are called on it and bullies those who have the audacity to support their convictions. I am sorry, but you don't get to wear the mantle of uber progressive when it's convenient for your bank account. There is a loud group of "small business owners" that own multiple businesses, nice homes and will not go out of business if the minimum wage goes to $15.i find it laughable that some of these same people supported the Occupy movement, a leaderless movement that couldn't channel it's outrage into policy. $15/now is what rose out of those ashes, and those same "progressive" business people are running scared. Look. I enjoy businesses like Elliott Bay Books as much as the next literate liberal on the block, but if your business can't survive paying people a living wage (and brick and mortar book stores have WAY bigger problems than this), then I am fine with it going out of business. There are plenty of other small businesses that are or will be willing to adjust to paying a living wage, and I would rather patronize them anyway. Because it's the right thing to do. I don't know if $15 is the right number or if it's $13 or $20, but spending energy trying to keep it as low as possible and attacking everyone who disagrees is exactly what is so broken about our culture. I am not a socialist and I am not poor. I don't think Sawant is infallible or right about everything, but I applaud her bravery.
Posted by Yeah You on March 4, 2014 at 2:45 PM · Report this
ScienceNerd 40
I am deeply upset right now. All bisexuals have more than one partner? Where the heck is mine? I just have the lousy one...
Posted by ScienceNerd on March 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM · Report this
@39, forgive my ignorance, but is it true that the culprit here is really spending money trying to stop the increase? i follow the dude on social media and it seems like he just keeps sharing articles. if you're right and he's opposed and just pretending not to be, well that's one thing, and i'd agree with you. but i don't receive his messaging as trying to sink the ship or as hostile. a good policy requires supporters to be critical and to poke holes in the plan, because if the goal is actual impact (as opposed to "winning," which is what i think some people view these debates as), you want to foolproof the result from the inevitable unintended consequences. i also don't think it's helpful to suggest that businesses failing as a result of the increase is an acceptable result. part of the argument (initially, at least), was that businesses could sustain this increase. if it's true that they need to make cuts, then the reality is that workers lose income. so whether the dude is wealthy or not, it's helpful to remind people of this potential because i think it's an outcome everyone wants to avoid. finally, and i posted this on another thread nearby, but the real issue to me is rash of silent business owners who aren't wealthy, couldn't weather an increase but also couldn't weather the storm of public sentiment were they to be honest about the difficulties they face. the real casualty here is the truly small business, like a sole proprietor, some of whom make less than $15/hr themselves. (it's true, though you won't hear from them. they're too busy.) i'd want some protection for the real little guys - if not an exception, then a phase-in or a temporary subsidy that keeps their (meaning the owner's) wages consistent with his or her employees, as he or she adjusts to the increase both in employee wages and in costs generally. the fact that the "wealthy-small-business" crowd keeps training our attention on the need for details in implementation, i think, is the best defense these people have against losing income.
Posted by JRT on March 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Jaymz 42
Just want to chime in that I LOVE Slog polls where the results are almost even, all around - a true clusterfuck! We don't know WHAT we're doing here....
Posted by Jaymz on March 4, 2014 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Wait, my vote has been RECORDED?!?

Will bisexuals be held against me?
Posted by SmallTownMainer on March 4, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Thanks, JRT. You've said it all. I'm a micro business owner and certainly not baited into having an opinion by anyone. There aren't any enemies in these discussions, only the ones that are manufactured. And, my voice will be plenty heard when it's time.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 4, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Thanks, JRT. I'm a micro business owner. I am a die hard Democrat and did not support the Occupy movement. I don't own my own home and will not go out of business if the minimum wage goes to $15. I will quickly and adeptly shift my business model to take into account the loss of my existing customer base. I am a survivor. But, I ask you . . . YeahYou, will this new business model contribute to the solution that the 15Now folks believe will be a result of the ordinance? It's my opinion by the way, not one that I was baited to give.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM · Report this
Ophian 46
lolo @30, for!

@43, well, if you're lucky.
Posted by Ophian on March 4, 2014 at 6:38 PM · Report this
@41, I have no knowledge of anyone spending money to oppose $15/now. I didn't say that, nor do I think I implied it. @45 proved my point - he/she is a micro-business that plans to adapt, despite the challenges a higher minimum wage may initially present. Like I said, I am not part of the $15/now movement, so I can't speak for their goals. What I do know is we have a rapidly dwindling middle class and, in my opinion, that is worse for our economy than a few businesses closing if that happens. I think it's an exaggeration to say any one thing will make or break a business, and this same argument has been made every time the minimum wage has risen. It's a scare tactic.

It's pretty plain to me that there has been a social media assault on Sawant, $15/now, and the writers at the Stranger by people who have a pony in the race and a seat at the table. Trying to foment dissent via social media to take back to that table without taking any responsibility is pretty transparent in my humble opinion. Own your beliefs wherever you sit, and don't expect others to compromise when you are unfailingly rigid.
Posted by Yeah You on March 4, 2014 at 7:49 PM · Report this
@47, my mistake, i should have said "energy," not money. but here's the thing: for $15/MW to have its intended result, people need to be better off. and some miscrobusinesses (i know several personally, and am now aware of one more thanks to @45) who will need to adjust in ways that may not have the result intended, particularly if this is hammered through without exceptions, a phased or tiered implementation, or some form of tax relief for truly small businesses (not those of multi-business wealthy folks). i know some of the stranger writers are saying that there's no way that will happen, but all i keep hearing is "DO IT NOW" from one side, and (unfortunately) DON'T DO IT AT ALL form the other side; it's like they want people to just shut up about the challenges. i guess i'm a technocrat at heart, and i just want this to actually work, not be a fight for nothing or a poorly implemented mistake that adds fuel for uber-libertarians to say "see, told you so" later. so i'd like to see what these plans or adjustments are, and that's what my takeaway is from the social media debate. if the person at the center of this debate is secretly working against a $15 increase in some way, then that's seriously disappointing. but the concerns aren't false, and since so few seem to be willing to sign their name to the "wait, i agree with the result, but not the method," then i'm happy somebody is actually doing so. also, i think you need to re-read @45's second comment to get the point (just as i needed to re-read yours to realize i pulled the concept of money out of thin air). finally, one good thing about a phased approach based on on business size (in which big businesses need to jump right away, with small business next and the microbusinesses lagging behind), is that it undercuts the ability of big business to use their size to respond with ultra low prices that drive out the small businesses.
Posted by JRT on March 4, 2014 at 9:00 PM · Report this
Forget bisexuals—what about seagulls? Should they be earning $15 an hour for hunting sturgeon, or whatever it is they eat? How about pigeons? Or daddy-longlegs? Ladies and gentlemen, raising the minimum wage will obviously only result in us paying cats for upchucking hairballs, and that's an offense to American freedom. Like bestiality, marrying dead people, and actually exercising American freedom.

I'll be hanging out under my bridge if anyone needs me.
Posted by kananleos on March 5, 2014 at 2:22 AM · Report this
WTF? All bisexuals have more than one partner? And all of those partners are live in partners? And this determines that all bisexuals should have to somehow get paid less? And how is anyone going to know, do we now have to register our sexuality on our tax forms? And your highest earners would get a raise from raising the minimum wage? How in hell did you ever think that this actually made any sense, much less was a question worth broadcasting?

I don't have to know anything about any other stance you take to recognize bigotry when I see it. A bigoted question is still bigotry, just look at Fox News.
Posted by MCM NQ on March 6, 2014 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Replace "bisexuals" with "homos," "niggers," "Jews," etc. and tell me this joke is still funny. Fuck Dan Savage.
Posted by Evanup on March 6, 2014 at 11:25 PM · Report this
way to teach bisexual teens and young adults who read your column that "it gets better." I can tell from your trolling that you really care about queer community. I remember the years I wasted feeling bad that I couldn't just "pick a side." I'm sure that young people who feel as out of place as I used to feel will think this is hilarious. great job being an advocate
Posted by lively on March 7, 2014 at 4:32 AM · Report this
What...I just...what?
Posted by g_l_B_t on March 7, 2014 at 5:34 PM · Report this
If I make an offensive joke about homosexual men, it doesn't make it less offensive because I was *joking*, asshole.

But that's okay. We all know you don't think bisexuals exist, anyway. Just like Fox News doesn't think gay men exist. Hey, you finally have something in common!

I guess it *doesn't* get better for bisexual teens, huh?
Posted by Soloon on March 8, 2014 at 5:01 AM · Report this

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