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

Comments

1
Swoon!
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.
3
Very well written, insightful and thoughtful. Event though I'm not a Seattle citizen, I'll be following this conversation very closely. Thanks!
4
Look, everyone! They solved Capitalism.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10
Love it, though the pot shots at the confederacy were unnecessary and distracted from the argument.
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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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")
20
@19 maybe your problem is you're resentful of other people's success. Class envy is a vice.
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.
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.
23
How in the actual fuck have so many people in Seattle never heard of the concept of inflation?

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.
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.
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.
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."
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%
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.
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.
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.
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.
33
Who's stoked that at long last Dave Meinert is going to break his silence?
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…
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.
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!"
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"!
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.
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
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
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.

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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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?

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
82
Read this article. "Stop Welfare At The TOP".

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/20…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
93
That's a good point. Why not just make it $30/hour if it helps so much? I'd like a serious answer.
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?
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.
96
@88

Why would an entrepreneur ever start a business in Washington?
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.
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.
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.
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?

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.
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?
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.