As employers in SeaTac and Seattle comply with those cities’ new $15 wage law, some have added a surcharge to their customers’ bills to cover the cost of the higher mandated wages. The surcharge policy has the added benefit of transparency, showing customers how prices have gone up as a result of the change in the law.
We previously highlighted how the state Department of Commerce has long used Washington’s lack of income or capital gains taxes as part of their marketing pitch to encourage businesses to come to Washington. Apparently department officials still believe having no income tax is a strong selling point.
Last month I reported on the push by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to get the city in the Internet-provider business with municipal broadband. In the effort to move Seattle one step closer to that dream of government-run broadband, Mayor Murray commissioned a study to determine the costs and feasibility of making Seattle the first big city in the nation to treat broadband Internet access as a public utility.
The group that calls itself “the leadership of the world socialist movement” has published a hard-hitting editorial on organized labor’s efforts to carve out special exemptions from minimum wage and paid sick leave mandates.
Supporters of a higher minimum wage dismissively argue there are no downsides to a wage hike. They simplistically declare that employers can afford to absorb the extra costs. One Harvard professor that supports a higher minimum wage dismissively says: “If you’re so unproductive that you can’t pay a little bit more, then maybe you don’t belong in a modern economy.”
In the real world, however, things aren’t so easy.
After reading the comments of a blogger last week shrugging off the closure of Z Pizza in Seattle due to the city’s newly increased minimum wage, it occurred to me that what seemed like the insensitive (and even offensive) musings of one political gadfly are disconcertingly shared by other supporters of a higher minimum wage.
Liberal political blogger and columnist Kevin Drum, whose musings are published in the leftist Mother Jones magazine, says he is “thrilled” that cities like Seattle, San Francisco (and soon Los Angeles) are mandating a $15 minimum wage. Not because such a wage will lift working families out of poverty, but because he says it will “give us a great set of natural experiments to figure out what happens when you raise the minimum wage a lot.”
Yesterday I blogged how actor James Franco is praising McDonalds for its readily-available and low-skill jobs. Franco recounts how, as a struggling actor, he was desperate to earn money. He had few skills (he had been fired from his previous jobs) and just needed a way to make some cash: “…just like their [McDonalds] food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need."
Activists and elected officials in Seattle are pushing to get the city in the Internet provider business with municipal broadband. Mayor Ed Murray supports the idea of government-owned and operated broadband networks and has commissioned a study to determine the costs and feasibility of making Seattle the first big city in the nation to treat broadband Internet access as a public ut