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Seattle Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an hour

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Seattle's City Council just approved raising their cities' minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is by far the highest minimum wage in the country. The state of Washington was already a high water mark for minimum wage; they are currently the highest of any state in the union at $9.32/hr.

    These approved changes won't take immediate effect though. Depending on the size of the businesses in Seattle, they have anywhere from 3 to 7 years to meet the new minimum standards. Bigger businesses will be the first to have to raise their rates. If you have 500 or more employees, the new provisions require that workers be paid $15/hr by 2017, or 2018 depending upon if they receive health benefits or not. Businesses with less workers don't have to comply nearly was quickly. In some cases, companies can wait as long as 11 years to meet the new rate of pay. Although, everyone making under $15 an hour is expected to get at least around a $1 an hour raise by next April. And they will continue to get raises too, until the new minimum is met.

    Roughly 25% of workers in Seattle are making less than $15/hr and well be directly and positively effected by this new law. No doubt many in Seattle are extremely pleased with this result. It wasn't but a year ago that Seattle's fast food workers rallied together and started a national protest and conversation for this exact $15/hr number, picketing in the streets and making headlines for months.

    Question is, is their any merit to the backlash of raising the rate of pay to this high a number? The argument is that if you make employers pay more to their employees, that amount will basically be directly passed on to the consumers of whatever goods and services that company outputs. My feeling is that even that is true, I think it's still worth it. Worst, worst case scenario is it's a wash, right? Or maybe the patrons of all the collective businesses out there help supplement workers via slightly increased sticker prices? I imagine the increases will be very minimal. Best case, hundreds of thousands can now have access to a living wage that puts them now sufficiently over the poverty threshold.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    The minimum wage is something that many on the right are able to use as a wedge issue by pitting people who make a good wage against those who struggle to get by. They are very successful by clouding the argument and confusing people when it comes to this topic and it is high time we on the left start pushing back against their nonsense.

    For starters--all politics is local. Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in America and anyone who has ever visited there knows it is not cheap. It is also one of the most progressive cities in America and somehow still attracts the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, and countless other major organizations.

    The reason this was able to work is because Mayor Murray worked with the business community and labor unions to get this pushed through. One thing that is being talked about less is that there will be automatic increases following the rate of inflation. This has never been done before and can be a harbinger of things to come for other progressive cities.

    What I find so sad about this is the misinformation campaign done by the likes of Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and countless other major corporations who pay their workers next to nothing and expect the Federal Government to step in and take care of their workers who can't even afford to buy food and clothes. Their workers wouldn't be reliant on the government to buy food if these companies paid their workers enough to get by. While there are undoubtedly a few bad apples out there, the vast majority of people on government assistance don't strive to be on it their entire lives. They would like nothing more than to buy their own food and pay for their own housing.

    If the fact that these companies pay their workers nothing isn't bad enough, they also pay next to nothing in federal taxes and receive billions of dollars in federal subsidies paid for by the American taxpayers. How we as a citizenry have allowed this to happens baffles the mind, but I guess it should't when half the country believes the earth is 3,000 years old and doesn't think climate change is real.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote: The minimum wage is something that many on the right are able to use as a wedge issue by pitting people who make a good wage against those who struggle to get by. They are very successful by clouding the argument and confusing people when it comes to this topic and it is high time we on the left start pushing back against their nonsense.

    For starters--all politics is local. Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in America and anyone who has ever visited there knows it is not cheap. It is also one of the most progressive cities in America and somehow still attracts the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, and countless other major organizations.

    The reason this was able to work is because Mayor Murray worked with the business community and labor unions to get this pushed through. One thing that is being talked about less is that there will be automatic increases following the rate of inflation. This has never been done before and can be a harbinger of things to come for other progressive cities.

    What I find so sad about this is the misinformation campaign done by the likes of Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and countless other major corporations who pay their workers next to nothing and expect the Federal Government to step in and take care of their workers who can't even afford to buy food and clothes. Their workers wouldn't be reliant on the government to buy food if these companies paid their workers enough to get by. While there are undoubtedly a few bad apples out there, the vast majority of people on government assistance don't strive to be on it their entire lives. They would like nothing more than to buy their own food and pay for their own housing.

    If the fact that these companies pay their workers nothing isn't bad enough, they also pay next to nothing in federal taxes and receive billions of dollars in federal subsidies paid for by the American taxpayers. How we as a citizenry have allowed this to happens baffles the mind, but I guess it should't when half the country believes the earth is 3,000 years old and doesn't think climate change is real.
    I just wonder what will happen in FL; the migrant fruit pluckers here get barely $6.50 an hr. their families are very poor; so a lot of people here give every Sunday a "food/clothes" hand out in Immokalee. Since most are here illegally, I doubt if they ever get $15.-
    On your last line the "believers" said, as I remember, 6000 years; 3000 makes them look even more stupid unless the Pyramids were built by Marsians and the dinosaurs were pets of the Greek gods. For the rest great thread.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    There was story not to long ago concerning a man who was living in a fixed income community and by raising the min. wage it would raise his base pay over the required/ qualifying amount he is allowed to earn to maintain his residence there, the $6 raise would force him to move elsewhere, which in any event he could not afford even with the new rate. I wonder if this a special occurrence, an isolated incidence or is this more widespread then we know?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Charlotte, NC
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    I think it's a great thing. Simply said: The more money made, the more money spent.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Spent on what? increased prices! Personally I feel the government can receive more tax monies and jump start the economy, by personal tax breaks for the low to middle income families.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Charlotte, NC
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    johnnycee Wrote: Spent on what? increased prices! Personally I feel the government can receive more tax monies and jump start the economy, by personal tax breaks for the low to middle income families.
    Spent on whatever the person making more money decides to spend it on. Maybe the single mother who barley makes enough money to feed herself and children, can finally have a few extra dollars to spend on herself. Or maybe even save to one day get out of debt. Spent on that.

    The answer to our country's money problems isn't always raise or lower the taxes. If everyone makes more money, the prices and taxes will go up to feed our economy. But it should be done in a smart way. I think this is towards the smart way to accomplish that.
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    ClayTaylorNC Wrote:
    johnnycee Wrote: Spent on what? increased prices! Personally I feel the government can receive more tax monies and jump start the economy, by personal tax breaks for the low to middle income families.
    Spent on whatever the person making more money decides to spend it on. Maybe the single mother who barley makes enough money to feed herself and children, can finally have a few extra dollars to spend on herself. Or maybe even save to one day get out of debt. Spent on that.

    The answer to our country's money problems isn't always raise or lower the taxes. If everyone makes more money, the prices and taxes will go up to feed our economy. But it should be done in a smart way. I think this is towards the smart way to accomplish that.
    Clay, it won't work that way. The government forces companies to pay their employees more, so what does the company do? They raise their prices to cover the increase in pay for their employees. Which means that the employees are now in the same position they were before the increase in pa, the single mother who can barely make enough to feed herself and her children still can barely make enough to feed herself and her children because everything now costs more to cover her increased pay...
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Which is why I'm in favor of some sort of soft salary cap for companies. That would raise wages without hitting prices
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: Clay, it won't work that way. The government forces companies to pay their employees more, so what does the company do? They raise their prices to cover the increase in pay for their employees. Which means that the employees are now in the same position they were before the increase in pa, the single mother who can barely make enough to feed herself and her children still can barely make enough to feed herself and her children because everything now costs more to cover her increased pay...
    This argument is not backed up by the numbers. Over 2/3 of all minimum wage workers work for huge corporations that could easily swallow the cost of a higher minimum wage by implementing rather minuscule price increases across the board. To suggest a corporation that rakes in billions of dollars in profit each year will be negatively affected by a minimum wage increase is just not true.

    You also didn't address the fact that Seattle's minimum wage hike is being incrementally phased in over a period of many years. Companies with 500 plus employees who don't provide health insurance go first in 2017. Companies with 500 plus employees who do provide health coverage go next in 2018. Every other company who has fewer than 500 employees will be phased in between 2018 and 2021. So it's not like Seattle is just forcing these companies to double their wages immediately, even though the likes of McDonalds and Wal-Mart could easily do so.

    The current minimum wage forces individuals to rely on government assistance just to get by. Many employers are relying on the American taxpayer to subsidize the pitiful wages they give their employees, all the while raking in billions in profit each ear. If that weren't bad enough, these same companies receive billions in subsidies paid by the American taxpayer and pay minuscule and sometimes even negative taxes. How in the world can anyone argue this is the right way to do things in this country?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Charlotte, NC
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    Any update on this? As to when it will be official? I am curious as to how exactly they are going to go about starting it.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Typically salaries and raw materials are only a small component of the cost of a product or of doing business. The real costs are in environmental controls, paperwork, transportation & distribution. Yes companies love low labor costs because it improves their bottom line even further but the real reason for manufacturing in places like the Far east is the almost total lack of government and environmental controls and everything (not unlike what the Libertarians under the Koch bros leadership has been trying to accomplish here for decades)!

    Here are some links that explains the real minimum wage pretty well:
    http://economy.money.cnn.com/2013/02/14/minimum-wage-history/
    http://franque23.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/minimum-of-what-wage/
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    I normally don't read the Wall Street Journal, due to the fact that it's owned by Rupert Murdoch (who also owns FOX "news"), but started reading it again this week due to the fact that I now have access to it for free.

    Today's edition carried an article that "explains" how raising the minimum wage kills jobs:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/liya-palagashvili-do-higher-minimum-wages-create-more-jobs-1408577121

    According to the Department of Labor, nothing could be further from the truth:

    http://www.dol.gov/minwage/mythbuster.htm


    Raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour doesn't kill jobs, but paying your executive officer over $75 million a year does virtually nothing to help the economy:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/ceo-pay-rises-moderately-a-few-reap-huge-rewards-1401235102
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    This is a no brainer. Raising the minimum wage puts more money into the economy because low wage workers spend their entire paycheck on consumer goods and services. A CEO making $75 million a year doesn't spend only a tiny, tiny farction on the consumer goods and services. Most of it is invested...many in overseas hedge funds. That money does not help the economy.

    I don't get free access to the WSJ so I couldn't open the articles. However, I agree that since Murdoch bought the newspaper it's editorial content has shifted far to the right.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise on the minimum wage should access Arizona's link to the Labor Department above or here:

    US Department of Labor: Minimum Wage Mythbusters