Seattle's proposal to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage has some economic experts asking if it will doom Seattle's economy.
Even Slate's business and economics correspondent, Jordan Weissmann, questions the wisdom of adopting such a precipitous increase:
Yesterday, Murray announced a plan that would gradually raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and tie it to inflation, which won approval from a large committee of business and labor leaders, as well as some city council members. Today, Washington state’s minimum is a comparatively piddly $9.32. The full council still has to consider Murray’s proposal, but should it pass, Seattle might not just have a far higher minimum wage than its surrounding suburbs, where businesses can easily move; it might well have the highest minimum wage in the world.
Bottom line: "Any plan that makes hiring a worker more expensive than in France should be cause for concern," says Weissmann. In fact, the proposal would give Seattle the highest minimum wage in the world.
I doubt whether there would be too many workers getting $15 an hour. It makes little economic sense to hire a burger flipper at that rate, which means fast food would probably come close to disappearing in Seattle - or people would be forced to pay $7 for a Big Mac.
In a way, I hope they do it. Then the fallacy would be exposed when businesses pick up and leave town for greener pastures in the suburbs.