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

104
@101

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

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

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

You know why nobody buys it? Facts.
105
@104

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

face it: no skills = small wage.
106
After corporate downsizing in his middle age, my dad bought a restaurant in Iowa. As a new small business owner, he soon found himself working 80 hours a week for what amounted to almost $3.75 an hour. Just over $15K/year, which went a lot further for a family of 6 in 1980 than today, but not what he had envisioned.

Labor costs were 35% of revenue.

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

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

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

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

107
Exellent example above by madawa. That is how it plays out in real life. The money has to come from somewhere.

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

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

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

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

Losing business to the suburbs makes it Seattle's problem.
111


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

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

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

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

Keep dreaming. Have a nice day.
117
The dole dependent states of the former confederacy are the fastest growing states in America. Fastest economic growth...by far the fastest population growth. Dallas/Houston/ San Antonio/Austin in Texas by the way are growing and providing much better than minimum wage jobs. Low taxes, rational regulation, business friendly government wins every time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you really care about folks about the folks at the bottom of ladder? Have you done anything lately about it. Or this an intellectual sim city conversation that tickles moral background.
121
@120 Sorry I misunderstood, it was the way you described your workers ("70 workers... You know the seattle worker...") that made me think you were paying them all minimum wage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But hey, go ahead and vote yourself that raise you feel so earnestly entitled to, minimum-wage workers! Just remember that your much-deserved raise will be paid from the wages of the guy that is let go, and you are now responsible for doing his job as well! Good luck with that, bro!
130
Diner Mo..
We do agree on a few things.
1. I will have to raise prices and test the market( not a threat just an economic reality)to see if customers are willing to pay them. I have tried it in the past when I expanded my labor force and their is an elasticity to demand even with a 1% increase.
2. I will let certain people go who are underskilled (7 on the shortlist currently)for $15 and likely replace them with some automated equipment which doesnt make sense at 9.32@ 1120 hours per month but does 15@ 1120 hours per month.

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

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

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

No one btw has answered about what happens to Manufacturing in Seattle. Seriously? These type of business dont derive any economic benefit from more Seattle-lites having discretionary income. They often sell globally. So their costs go up and no offset..
131
While 15 now is a good idea, it's doomed to fail. It's good to think that prices will not go up, but people are gonna want the same profit margin they have now, so prices are gonna follow the increase of wages. The people that make more than min wage now, when the min wage goes up, will their wage follow the $6 increase, or will it go up to 15 or if they make more than 15, stay the same?
Min wage is for unskilled labor, and not something that should be long term. It's more for high school and beginning college kids. If you think it is suppose to be a livable wage, you are kidding yourself. If livable wage is $20 and you're making min wage, get a room mate or 2, that way you're splitting livable wage 3 ways (give or take a bit for food and stuff) so you can live of the current min wage.
In all, if you raise the min wage, every thing else is going to go up to follow suit.
The only way to even begin to fix the issue, is lower the cost of living. Living downtown in ANY major city is expensive, and if you think making min wage and living downtown is ever going to happen, dream on. As I said before, if you plan on LIVING off min wage for long term, you are gonna have to get roommates and live in the outskirts of the city, like Everett or further north. Instead of spending money debating this issue, spend the money in Schools or Public transportation so the people can get an education and get a higher paying job, or live in the cheaper areas and be able to commute to their job without having to pay for a car (gas, insurance...).
132
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn said, "even after the 80+% wage increase for tipped employees after I-518 in 1988. This $15 is only a 60% increase, smaller than in 1988, and it didn't cause a ripple"

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

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

133
A Post on Crosscut.com from a Nick Hanuer employee

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

— Unemployedandbroke
134
Shifting money in the economy from producers to consumers in order to benefit producers is a poor argument. Redistributing wealth is always a bad idea. Having someone spend money on something they would not have done left to their own devices always leaves that person worse off. If I want to buy your pen for a dollar, because that's what it's worth to me, then I will gladly give you my dollar and you will give me your pen if you value the dollar more than the pen. If all of a sudden I'm forced to have to give more than a dollar, an amount that I would value more than the pen itself, then I would rather not buy the pen. I would be worse off. Anything that is done outside of free, voluntary exchange is always a con. It's quite simple, you do things voluntarily because you benefit from it. When you are coerced into doing something you are losing, or else you would not have to be coerced.
135
Chicago Restaurants used to pay (and maybe still do) $1.00 per hour because they included tips as going toward the minimum wage. Now if I want to tip someone, that should be over and above their wages. (To Insure Promptitude)
136
Just one question, Why doesn't Nick Hanauers company pay his employees $15 minimum wage? Oh, one more thing, why are most of his factories in low wage states and not the Pacific Northwest ?
137
http://youpower.democracyforamerica.com/…

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

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

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

Thanks!
138
http://youpower.democracyforamerica.com/…

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

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

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

Thanks!
139
I just looked in the Yellow Pages for the Walmarts in Seattle. And there are none! So the Walmart workers you are trying to help with this policy will see no effect to their wages. And as far as all the extra spending money that will enter our economy because of this - there is none! The money is already there and it's going to the small business owners profits. After $15 minimum wage goes into effect that money will just be transferred to the workers which means a net gain of zero for the economy from that money. The only gain will come in the form of the higher prices that everyone will have to pay for goods and services in Seattle. And another thing - the major benefit from this goes to the CITY OF SEATTLE GOVERNMENT in the form of all the additional Sales Tax they will collect from the higher prices we pay. And sadly, The Mayor's Advisory Committee on Income Inequality didn't even give the citizens a voice. Only businesses and Unions were represented there. They don't care about all of us Citizens who will have to live with the increased cost of living with no benefit. It's about enough to make me join the Republican party!
140
Okay two thoughts. First Aggregate Demand is the main driver of inflationary pressure, beside that you can have devaluation of currency but since the USD is a national currency a city implementing a higher minimum wage does not have to worry about #2. It does however have to worry about aggregate demand in particular demand for housing.

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

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

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

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

oh well whatever.
141
The answer isn't to increase minimum wage by over 50% it's to give these people working minimum wage jobs the right tools, education and development programs to develop careers, not jobs. THAT is what makes our country great, a free enterprise and hard work. This article lacks data and true economic impact, the idea is great but not realistic and we'll thought out. I'd like to see if given the option, how many people working minimum wage jobs would take advantage of education programs to further their education/career advancement, with no constrains on childcare or other things holding these people back, and who just wants a higher wage. Give the people wanting to improve their education and career the tools and resources they need to do so, don't encour.age complacency with such a catch-all approach..