What Minimum-Wage Foes Got Wrong About Seattle

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
74,857
64,960
So. Md.
#1
Done properly, as Seattle has, Raising the minimum wage is is an economic boon.

Seattle, like some other thriving West Coast cities, a few years ago passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a series of steps. The law was a partial response to rising income inequality and poverty in the city, which began its post-crisis economic boom well before the rest of the country.

The reaction was immediate, strident — and deeply wrong. The increase was an “economic death wish” that was going to tank the expansion and kill jobs, according to the sages at conservative think tanks. The warnings were as unambiguous as they were specific: Expect restaurants to close in significant numbers and unemployment to rise, all because of this foolish attempt to raise living standards.

Those ideologically opposed to mandated minimum-wage increases freaked out when a Seattle pizza parlor closed. Meanwhile, they ignored data showing Seattle-area employment in the restaurant industry on the rise. The critics even blamed Seattle’s minimum wage law for unemployment in suburbs not covered by Seattle’s laws. Despite their dire forecasts, not only were new restaurants not closing, they were in fact opening; employment in food services and drinking establishments has soared, as the chart below shows:
Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
 
Jul 2013
53,783
57,590
Nashville, TN
#3
Jul 2013
53,783
57,590
Nashville, TN
#4
The GOP controlled the House for the last 8 years, not one penny changed for minimum wage federally during those 8 years. Guess what is on the Democratic agenda this year...and they have Seattle to offer as proof of concept...
 
Jul 2011
77,615
43,360
Memphis, Tn.
#5
How strange... Hardly a peep out of all the hysterical, mouthy RW conservatives preticting absolute disaster for Seattle over this.
 

HCProf

Moderator
Sep 2014
27,519
16,636
USA
#6
I am all for prosperity and wage growth for everyone. It makes for a better society. The concern that I have are wages that are already at 15.00 an hour or 31,000 annually are the people who trained for jobs that pay 15.00 per hour. Phlebotomists are paid 31,000 per year and work for hospitals, same with Nursing Assistants. Both are hard jobs and must complete a rigorous short training program with a grueling externship and sit for a challenging certification exam. These positions are quite different than a person who works in retail or fast food. Hospitals or health facilities are non profit and often do not have the budget to increase salaries beyond a 15.00 minimum wage. Will we see a shortage in these jobs? Think about it, would you want to pay 4000.00 for 250 hours of training, then complete a 100 hour externship drawing blood on over 100 patients a day, then study and pass a national certification exam that has some teeth to it or work at Walmart for 15.00 per hour and invest nothing into the wage, such as time and resources.

Let's say medical facilities increase salaries for these positions to 20.00 per hour...then what about the nurses whose entry salaries are 25.00 per hour? LPN's are paid between 17 and 20.00 per hour in hospitals with a year of training. RN's at the minimum train for 2 years, which is blood, sweat and tears when it comes to the rigors of the program. Most don't walk across the stage for graduation. If the hospitals increased those salaries it would bankrupt the fragile healthcare system we have already.
 
Sep 2011
24,983
17,432
aMEEErica
#7
I am all for prosperity and wage growth for everyone. It makes for a better society. The concern that I have are wages that are already at 15.00 an hour or 31,000 annually are the people who trained for jobs that pay 15.00 per hour. Phlebotomists are paid 31,000 per year and work for hospitals, same with Nursing Assistants. Both are hard jobs and must complete a rigorous short training program with a grueling externship and sit for a challenging certification exam. These positions are quite different than a person who works in retail or fast food. Hospitals or health facilities are non profit and often do not have the budget to increase salaries beyond a 15.00 minimum wage. Will we see a shortage in these jobs? Think about it, would you want to pay 4000.00 for 250 hours of training, then complete a 100 hour externship drawing blood on over 100 patients a day, then study and pass a national certification exam that has some teeth to it or work at Walmart for 15.00 per hour and invest nothing into the wage, such as time and resources.

Let's say medical facilities increase salaries for these positions to 20.00 per hour...then what about the nurses whose entry salaries are 25.00 per hour? LPN's are paid between 17 and 20.00 per hour in hospitals with a year of training. RN's at the minimum train for 2 years, which is blood, sweat and tears when it comes to the rigors of the program. Most don't walk across the stage for graduation. If the hospitals increased those salaries it would bankrupt the fragile healthcare system we have already.
So many positions have been underpaid for a long time, but why do you think that skilled HC workers are so underpaid?

I always felt underpaid as an electronics tech, for awhile there I was only taking home $212 a week in the 80s... (at a bio-medical instrument manufacturer in So. Cal btw...)

But why is HC lagging so, you mention hospitals are non-profit, what if people could afford to pay their bills?

Don't hospitals get stiffed often for ER services etc?

Think also about better paid people in general being healthier than impoverished people, would that make a difference?

And what about countries with UHC, is it any different for them?

Thx :)
 
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Likes: Babba
Sep 2014
4,636
1,388
South FL
#8
Of course there remains significant discrepancy between the Seattle's low general unemployment rate and the much higher unemployment rate for teens and young adults.
 
Sep 2011
24,983
17,432
aMEEErica
#9
Of course there remains significant discrepancy between the Seattle's low general unemployment rate and the much higher unemployment rate for teens and young adults.
Well, perhaps now their parents can afford to send them to school, where they probably should be anyway.

Thx :)
 
Likes: Djinn
Sep 2014
4,636
1,388
South FL
#10
Well, perhaps now their parents can afford to send them to school, where they probably should be anyway.

Thx :)
Well, clearly government should just make that decision for them then, right?

"Seattle youth ages 16-19 have an unemployment rate around 21 percent, while unemployment for youth ages 20-24 hovers around 10 percent, far above the overall city rate of 2.9 percent. "

Mayor's Youth Employment Initiative - Mayor Murray

The left's response to the very problems they make is mind boggling really. Progressives somehow believe that the only thing limiting higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. Shocker, Seattle's city council cannot amend the law of supply and demand.
 
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