Seattle’s $15-per-hour minimum wage will hurt workers

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by Dustin Hurst  | Northwest Watchdog

Kshama and crew — well-funded big labor unions — sold the plan on the idea it would help workers close the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Has it worked in SeaTac, a tiny Seattle suburb that adopted $15 per hour months ago? It has not.

In a follow-up piece in the Asian Weekly, a handful of workers voiced this displeasure of the new wage’s unintended consequences:

“Are you happy with the $15 wage?” I asked the full-time cleaning lady.

“It sounds good, but it’s not good,” the woman said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday, and vacation,” she responded. “No more free food,” she added.

The hotel used to feed her. Now, she has to bring her own food. Also, no overtime, she said. She used to work extra hours and received overtime pay.

What else? I asked.

“I have to pay for parking,” she said.

Another SeaTac worker, a waitress, said her tips dropped sharply after the new wage law took effect.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Jobs | 32 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    I know minimum wage is a deeply engrained populist principle, even though most economic research indicates it results in less employment. So, I think Oregon has it right as a compromise policy setting the minimum wage and letting it increase with inflation. Hopefully, Oregon will stay the course with existing rate.

    Otherwise, more jobs will be automated out of existence at a faster pace than currently. Plus, it would create labor market distortions: Such as (1) people losing federal earned income tax credits in lieu of higher wages, (2) other folks unable to get work because of a higher price on their labor sink into total government dependence, and (3) the relative reward for those working to improve their knowledge and skills shrinks.

    • Eric Blair

      “I know minimum wage is a deeply engrained populist principle, even though most economic research indicates it results in less employment.

      Most economic research does not indicate that raising the minimum wage results in less employment. One paper I read noted that the issue of a minimum wage and employment rates is one of the most contentious issues in labor force economics. Perhaps you are filtering out results that you don’t like.

      • Bob Clark

        Actually, the Congressional Budget Office completed a review of the economic literature on the effects on employment of an increase in the minimum wage, and concluded the literature on balance suggests employment loss from a hike in the federal minimum wage. Then too Neumark and Wascher, Minimum Wages, conducted a very thorough review of economic literature, and found that for a 1% increase in the minimum wage there is a loss of 0.2 to 0.3% in employment in the effected occupations. It takes a contortion of the labor demand and supply curves to get zero or little labor price elasticity. One of these contorted studies is done by Kruder [just kidding] of the New York times.
        Individuals should be able to work for less if they want too. It’s individual freedom and liberty. I hardly fear this is the age of sweat shops and company towns. Or, slavery.

        • Bob Clark

          That should have been Krudman, not Kruder, in a little name play.

      • .

        Your pants are on fire, just like a New World Order conspire.

    • Myke

      (4) Inflationary pressures to balance costs vs prices of goods sold. The nominal value of the first hamburger has not changed over time, its the cost in relation to the value of in-put that has changed. Time to get ready for that $20 cup of Seattle’s Best.

  • Eric Blair

    What a poorly written article. A handful of workers? This post leaves me wondering if the author was having trouble finding real data about the effects of increasing the minimum wage, and desperately grabbed at the first thing he found.

    Why would tips sharply drop because of a rise in the minimum wage? The dots are not connected, and there are a variety of reasons for why a server’s tips decline.

    • Jack Lord God

      “Why would tips sharply drop because of a rise in the minimum wage? ”

      You are being factitious here aren’t you?

      • Eric Blair

        Not at all.

        • Jack Lord God

          Ok, so maybe you aren’t aware that the SeaTac minimum wage law is not universal, it applies just to hospitality and transportation workers. Falling tips make a little more sense now?

        • formulative

          EB=D’oh Bawl

        • .

          Au contra ire monsieur DEMderriere jackass.

    • Myke

      Because now I’ve paid that tip in the increased cost of goods sold. The definition of economics, “unlimited wants and needs chasing limited resources.” Who wins in this scenario? The tax man in the form of increased wage accountability.

  • Jack Lord God

    The thing I like about the Sea Tac minimum wage increase is that, as I understand it, it took place immediately on January 1.

    I think this is hugely important for any minimum wage increase for a number of reasons:

    1 – If you think its a good idea, then clearly you should want to get people up to the higher wage as soon as possible so they can go out, get that minimum wage job and start a family.

    2 – If you think a minimum wage increase has no effect on jobs, then there is no logical reason to phase it in over time.

    3 – If you think a minimum wage increase does have an effect on jobs, then you should also want the increase to be immediate so that there is clear delineation of whatever economic downside there is. In other words, you don’t want the effects covered up over time by a gradual increase.

    A side effect of raising the minimum wage that I think should also be discussed, but never is, is how it will affect peoples tax rates. Unions often tie their contracts to the minimum wage, an increase there means their contract wages also go up. SEIU is fairly infamous for this.

    Sure, most research on the minimum wage indicates it raises unemployment. However I think a really clear demonstration of this is needed. I totally support immediate increase to $15 as well as no more delays in full implementation of Obamacare.

    We have seen what massive federal regulation and mandates has done for five years now, the worst recovery from a recession in anyone’s lifetime. Apparently that lesson isn’t clear to everyone. Let the demonstration begins, $15 per hour across the board immediately nation wide. I shall join you at the docks to wave bye bye as the large freighters leave with the last of American industry on board, bound for economic freedom and away from America.

    • Eric Blair

      “Sure, most research on the minimum wage indicates it raises unemployment.”

      Well, it doesn’t. The research actually appears to be all over the board on this topic.

      • .

        U R $o Dem witted, butt your minions take it as gospel, you worm who should, IMO, be committed to a snide show huckstered attending a BHO rude show offending commoner sense. Nuts, dammit!

      • Jack Lord God

        Nah, the CBO has been pretty clear, the more you raise the minimum wage, the higher the job loss. Here is their most recent report.

  • MrBill97702

    Employers and employees will need to make adjustments. McDonalds can raise the cost of a Big Mac to cover added labor cost. People will buy fewer at the higher cost. McD’s won’t need as many people to make fewer burgers so some will be let go. The employees who remain will be happier. People can look at these and tought the success of raising the minimum wage.

    Most will not care or even be aware of the one(s) that are let go.

    • Oy vey iz mir

      Reckon laid down Sally bellow:

    • Rick

      Next time McDonalds does hire someone at new min wage it won’t be same caliber person hired previously. Lot of seasoned people needing jobs and willing to flip burgers for $15 to make ends meet. As usual government involvement hurting the ones most they’re trying to help.

  • Sally

    If I had a job I would want a living wage. I think $15 is not too much to ask when some people make 15 million or more in a year. Please….

    • FEH

      Whore R U – butt some offshore monger equilibrating on PDX’s 82nd Ave venue.

  • Washington Co

    Our economy and our politics are as disfunctual as they can be. Before the recession 1/5 jobs were a ‘low wage’ job. We have replaced many of those lost jobs. But we are replacing them with more low wage jobs at a rate of 3/5 new jobs are low wage.

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