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Thread: Seattle Minumum Wage

  1. #1
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    Seattle Minumum Wage

    So two increments into Seattle's minimum wage mandate, we have one study out of Berkeley and one out of U of Washington which seem very much at odds on the impact for employment. I'm beginning to think that "studies show" should be translated as "please disregard".

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/artic...5-minimum-wage

    Intuitively, I would think that raising the price of anything would tend to have the impact of reducing demand for it. I would also think that there would be any number of exogenous factors influencing low-skilled labor in a single market that might make it difficult to assess the impact of any given policy. I guess that's why so many refer to the social sciences as "soft".

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Interesting study. I haven't completely formulated my opinion on this, despite being a Sandernista. On one hand, I really think it's wrong to have an economy where people who work their butts off in any full time job can't earn enough money to live. OTOH, I do agree that artificially mandating a minimum wage leads to other negative consequences like shorter shifts that deprive people of other benefits like healthcare, or reduced employment overall.

    I've seen a chart of the US that shows how much you have to earn per hour in order to rent a one-bedroom apartment. In New Jersey, that figure is $25/hr. That gulf between $8.25/hr and $25 is HUGE. So even if you live with someone else, also making minimum wage, you're still going to have to work two jobs just to get a bare bones roof over your head.

    I don't know what the solution is. I see my BIL who is 55 and works a minimum wage job. Because of certain shortcomings, no amount of bootstrap pulling is going to earn him much more than minimum wage. His choices will likely be to apply for low-income housing or live with us.

    I would like to see a day where any person can actually earn at least a subsistence living by working a fair amount of hours a week. "Working poor" is an odious term.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    My son manages two large fast food franchises in Houston, Texas. They gross 8.5 and 10 million dollars annually. He spends a lot of his time maximizing profits by minimizing labor costs. The more minimizing he does, the bigger bonus he gets. That is a very simplistic analysis I will grant you but what it shows is that labor costs are the factor that most directly effects the bottom line and there is a natural conflict between making profits and paying a just wage. Unions sometimes tend to assist labor and sometimes just assist themselves. Government seems to always be the least efficient at correcting a situation and most efficient at screwing it up. When the unskilled labor force contains Middle aged struggling couples with kids and old age retirees trying to pay for their Obamacare.....instead of high school and college kids.....well that's when we need to step back and say......hmmmm?

    Perhaps mandating increases in pay based on time of service would be helpful. I know a guy working in tool and die who hasn't had a raise in 18 years yet the owner of the shop has plenty of vintage muscle cars and a nice estate.

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    [QUOTE=Williamsmith;271720] When the unskilled labor force contains Middle aged struggling couples with kids and old age retirees trying to pay for their Obamacare.....instead of high school and college kids.....well that's when we need to step back and say......hmmmm?
    QUOTE]

    I think that's right, and I think the system is kind of broken right now, and we need to fix the health care crisis or nothing else is going to get fixed. . .

  5. #5
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    I have worked in the 'unskilled' areas even with a master's degree, dang recession. I know it was really hard to watch the people with years of experience and a strong commitment get almost nothing for raises every year, hours cut every time the company could, and the higher leadership making very good money. There used to be an ethic of taking care of your employees but I see less of that. The trickle down effect of large tax breaks for corporations is simply not working, and if people don't have money to spend then they can't support the economic growth of the country. We say we want people to work, get off any sort of assistance with food or housing, but it is not possible for a lot of people.

    Listening to punk radio, the Dead Kennedy's Kill the Poor is still relevant.

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