Just last week we were excoriating the anus-burger-dispensing corporate lackeys at McDonald’s for dispensing billions of dollars back to shareholders while continuing to pay store employees an hourly wage that would embarrass a Gilded Age robber baron. So good news for our communist souls: the Seattle City Council has voted for a $15 minimum wage to be phased in over the next seven years. McRib makers of Seattle, you will soon have to be paid an amount of money that might allow you to live with a minimal level of human dignity!
This is a good sign for the nationwide movement among labor activists to raise the minimum wage. Of course it helps that Seattle has an actual socialist on its city council and is also located among the hippie environs of the Pacific Northwest. Still, this has been a big enough issue that new Seattle mayor Ed Murray had pledged during the campaign last summer to support the hike while his opponent, then-incumbent Mike McGinn, said he would support an even higher number if the city council wanted it.
Murray also is not convinced that $15 is really high enough, saying in an interview that based on the cost of living in Seattle, you could easily argue the minimum wage should be $21, which is not much above the $18 an hour the federal government calculates a worker in Washington state would need to earn to support a family of three without government assistance. But considering Washington’s minimum wage stands at $9.32 an hour now, we’re going with this being a pretty good start to helping workers earn a living wage.
We also think the low-wage workers of Seattle should be grateful to Barack Obama, who obviously timed the release of Bowe Bergdahl to distract America from the socialist tyranny of workers’ rights gaining a toehold in America’s 15th largest city. Well done, comrade!
Not everyone is on board with the new minimum wage. Slate has a nice macroeconomic argument laying out several reasons why this hike might be ultimately damaging to Seattle’s economy and workers. Yr Wonkette suspects this is because no one at Slate has to survive on a minimum wage, so they can all afford to make academic arguments that cease to have meaning the minute one tries to pay rent and monthly bills on $10 an hour. What’s important is that Seattle’s low-wage workers will have more money in their pockets to spend on goods and services, thus circulating that money through the rest of the economy, and they will be less dependent on welfare programs to supplement their meager incomes. We can figure out how to solve the problems raised by “unintended consequences” down the road, when we know what they actually are.
Congrats to the low-wage workers of Seattle, even though it means McDonald’s might have to switch over to a $1.50 menu.