Seattle city council passes $15 an hour minimum wage
I don't know what's going to happen now that Seattle's city council has approved a $15 an hour minimum wage. The theory is that jobs will be lost, hours cut for the rest, and that some businesses will disappear.
At the very least, some products and services are going to become a lot more expensive.
Will the Seattle consumer swallow hard and pony up for an $8 Big Mac because they believe it's the right thing to do? Will their altruism trump their self-interest? That's what the socialists on the city council believe. We're about ready to find out what happens when theory collides with socialist expectations.
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday that gradually increases the minimum wage in the city to $15, which would make it the highest in the nation.
The issue has dominated politics in the liberal municipality for months, and a boisterous crowd of mostly labor activists packed the Council chambers for the vote. Mayor Ed Murray, who was elected last year, had promised in his campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A newly-elected socialist City Council member had pushed the idea as well.
"We did it. Workers did this," said Kshama Sawant, the socialist City Councilmember "We need to continue to build an even more powerful movement."
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said "Seattle wants to stop the race to the bottom in wages" and address the "widening gap between the rich and the poor."
The measure, which would take effect on April 1, 2015, includes a phase-in of the wage increase over several years, with a slower process for small businesses. The plan gives businesses with more than 500 employees nationally at least three years to phase in the increase. Those providing health insurance will have four years to complete the move. Smaller organizations will be given seven years.
The International Franchise Association, a Washington, D.C.-based business group that represents franchise owners, said it plans to sue to stop the ordinance.
"The City Council's action today is unfair, discriminatory and a deliberate attempt to achieve a political agenda at the expense of small franchise business owners," the group said in a statement.
So the frog is going to boil slowly. Maybe it won't realize it's being cooked. Maybe it doesn't mind the hot water. But eventually, the frog is going to look around and say; I have a choice. I can become dinner for some socialist or I can jump out of this pot and find a cooler spot.
This is not an economic decision. It is purely political as the IFA says. It is unhooking the value of work performed from wages paid. Burger flippers are not worth $15 an hour to a burger franchise. That's the bottom line and seeking to overturn such a fundamental economic precept is likely to cost jobs and injure the city's economy.
Unless the good people of Seattle acquiesce in their emasculation as consumers, of course. I imagine that a majority - perhaps a vast majority - will eventually vote with their feet and spurn city businesses for more reasonable businesses elsewhere. Then the socialists will have a hollow "victory," indeed.