You ever have a really bad idea, talk to an expert in the idea’s field of study who tell you it’s a bad idea then be surprised when said bad idea ends up with a bad result? If you answered yes to all those questions then you just may be on Seattle City Council.
Seattle’s Minimum Wage History
In 2014 Seattle, Oregon politicians set the progressive world ablaze by proclaiming $15 an hour is not only a “great idea” but in addition a totally feasible one as well. With this statement of faith to the Progressive religion, they put forth an offering in the form of a minimum wage increase that progressively increased till 2021 when it topped out at $15 per hour. In response, Seattle’s City Council unfortunately unanimously passed the measure. That means there wasn’t even one Seattle City Councilmen that understands basic (extremely basic) economics and actually had the courage to stand up for it.
The historic minimum wage increase was widely seen as a victory far and wide for progressives. Democrats thought a $15/hour minimum wage would show the American people the validity of their ideals. A quite solid thought process considering the unmatched prosperity and safety of Chicago, Detriot, Compton, and Oakland *Thick Sarcasm Implied*. However recent news shows the minimum wage hike actually has had the opposite of the intended effects. This just leaves the media and liberal politicians everywhere wondering, who could have predicted this?
Well, those foreseers of the future would be known as economists. Most with common sense understood this proposal would be a horrible idea. One of those economists was Tim Worstall at Forbes. He wrote this piece predicting what the increase in the minimum wage would obviously do then wrote this one reminding people he was right. In addition to Tim, many other economists agreed the $15 minimum wage hike would be bad for works even including Reihan Salam from the very liberal Slate.com. But economists were not the only one thinking this minimum wage increase would not work.
Business owners in Seattle warned their local elected officials this bill would not work. Celebrity Chef Rob Wilson was maybe the most direct. He said a $15 an hour wage means he would have to cut 20% of his staff and raise food prices by about $5 per plate. But even with that clearly stated local politicians did not listen. As a consequence, many restaurants in Seattle have closed including Z Pizza. The owner of the establishment told her local FOX affiliate the reason for her closing the business is she just couldn’t afford the labor costs. These closings not only affected the business owners though, it put people out of work (like studies are showing), gave consumers less choice and most likely even contributed to restaurant food prices rising (supply & demand).
What is Currently Happening
Liberals most likely thought this minimum wage increase would help citizens. But the current news is proving it obviously has not. Many minimum wage employees in Seattle are losing hours, opportunities and ultimately jobs. These have long been arguments against why the minimum wage is a bad policy. That is very likely because those are the exact effects of the minimum wage and of raising it.
A recently released study by The University Of Washington has shown the city of Seattle would have had nearly 5,000 more $19/hour or less jobs if the 2014 minimum wage bill were not in effect. The University of Washington has been studying this minimum wage legislation since its implementation and learned the negative effects are only getting worse as wages are hiked closer and closer to $15. According to the study, these negative effects are resulting to about $125 per month in lost pay for low pay employees. The effects of this bill are so bad even the mainstream media is noticing.
Former ESPN statistician Nate Silver’s website FiveThirtyEight.com recently posted the story “Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike May Have Gone Too Far” in which they examine the minimum wage increase and where they see the faults. The Washington Post published the story “A ‘very credible’ new study on Seattle’s $15 minimum wage has bad news for liberals” and even The New York Times published a piece “How a Rising Minimum Wage Affects Jobs in Seattle”. All the stories are positioning the new study in a similar way that Seattle may have just found the minimum wage cap (but it’s prior min. wage raises were still good) or that they just went about raising the minimum wage in the wrong way. The stories cited vary in bias with the New York Times (who was the most biased) outright questioning if the study was even done right and its validity. However, the fact the mainstream media is even reporting on the effect of the minimum wage shows they are scared people are seeing the truth. That any adjustment to allowable wages affects opportunity and supply of work. Wages cannot just be raised by magic but demand has to be in place. Just like how Henry Ford raised wages to create a “living wage” for his own gain, modern day business owners only raise wages for their own gain.
The Economics on this matter is clear. Supply and demand determine price. Wage, like any other service, is not immune to economic effects. Minimum wage is a price floor on how low you may charge for your time. While this may seem like a good thing for workers, in the long-term it is not. In the extremely short-term workers will make more money however once businesses adapt they will learn to work around the price floor. This workaround normally hurts workers as a whole ss seen in the Washington University Study. businesses are turning to automation, reducing staff and finding every shortcut they can.
At the end of the day the only way to increase wages for employees is to increase their output or the value of their output. It is mathematically impossible and completely unsustainable to pay a worker $10/hour that only produces $9/hour. If workers wish to make more money they should increase their skills or education in a specialty area that is in need of workers. Meaning get a valuable skill. Just because you spend a lot of time educating yourself on feminist dance theory does not mean you will make a lot of money. Vice virsa just because you may only spend a comparatively shorter time studying to become a plumber does not mean you can’t make a decent living. It’s time we look at work as the service it is so we can find real solutions to increasing people’s pay instead of trying to do the impossible and defy the laws of economics.