Right now in Seattle, activists and business leaders are not talking to each other; they're talking over each other. On one side, you have Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and the group 15 Now, who say there must be "no delay" and "no exceptions" to passing a $15-an-hour minimum wage, dismissing any measures to help small businesses get there as a needless "compromise." (Many in that camp contend that even discussing ways to accommodate small local companies amounts to allowing corporations to force workers into homelessness and starvation.) On the other side, you have critics responding to that zero-compromise rhetoric, claiming the wage hike would kill every adorable little business in town while turning it into a city of Olive Gardens. The owner of St. Clouds told the Seattle Times that a $15 minimum wage is "outlandish" and warned he may have to shutter his restaurant. Burke Shethar, who runs the Madrona Ale House across the street, intoned that the cost of burgers in Seattle could skyrocket to $18 a pop. And KIRO ran a story suggesting that customers will stop tipping their waiters.
So there's hyperbole on both sides.
Watching from the outside, you'd think this is a zero-sum game to pass the $15 minimum wage or kill it.
But that's not the real debate.
Continue reading >>