Common Sense Takes a Hike in Seattle

Washington State has the highest state minimum wage at $9.32 an hour, but the Seattle city council decided that $15 an hour is better. So, the road to hell received a new paving block with the good intention of a more than 50% increase in Seattle’s minimum wage. This feel-good, idealistic ordinance will have unintended consequences and the dominoes will begin falling.

The first domino to fall will wipe out some minimum wage jobs, hurting many who were supposed to be helped by this ordinance. Employers will have to cover the cost of this wage hike by eliminating jobs and increasing the work load for others. They will also think twice before bringing on new hires at any wage level.

Some adult minimum wage workers will be replaced with teens who are allowed by this ordinance to be paid less than $15 an hour. Families desperately dependent on an adult minimum wage earner will suffer and the cost of welfare and unemployment benefits will rise (tax increase on the horizon?). The replacement of adults with teens will also bring a lower level of competence to those jobs, resulting in reduced quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Skilled workers now making $15 an hour will demand a raise – and rightly so. It would be an insult for an experienced, skilled worker to make the same hourly wage as a burger-flipper. Unions will certainly back up this demand and wages across the board will increase accordingly. As wages increase, so will prices – on everything.

Some workers will benefit from this increase, but a rising cost of living and the economic effect of other falling dominoes will make that short-lived. The idea that this will help the overall economy is similar to that of Obamacare lowering insurance premiums: Wishful thinking.

Believing something will happen does not make it so, and short-term “feel good” actions have long-term consequences. Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant gleefully tells us: “$15 in Seattle is just the beginning.” Some, however, believe it may be the beginning of the end.

David J. Hentosh

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One Response to “Common Sense Takes a Hike in Seattle”

  1. Bruce Says:

    A “fair minimum wage” is a political hammer used by political groups to beat each other. What a worker earns is secondary.

    Illegal immigration causes wages for native Americans to drop. Unions, corporations, and the Chamber of Commerce should be ashamed of the damage done to America for selfish reasons.

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