2014 May 01 Thursday
$15 Minimum Wage For Seattle?
The odds have risen that Seattle will become more of an upper class city. Mayor Ed Murray's plan will speed up gentrification if passed.
On the one hand, the city could cancel many of the benefits by expanding public housing for the unemployed and by giving the unemployed more other welfare benefits. But a $15 min wage will make it impossible for the least skilled to get any kind of job. I see many benefits from a higher minimum wage and one of the biggest benefits is the impact on immigration.
This is part a larger movement that will accelerate the departure of lower classes ofrom many cities.
San Francisco's minimum wage stands at $10.74. The Los Angeles City Council is debating a $15.37 minimum wage for hotel workers. The Bay Area city of Richmond, at next week's City Council meeting, will consider gradually raising its $9 municipal minimum wage to $12.30. Voters in the tiny city of SeaTac, Wash., recently approved a $15 minimum for certain workers in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport area.
I have argued that red state politicians need to raise their minimum wages before poor unemployed red start workers flee high minimum wage paradises for the plains states and other Republican strongholds.
A higher minimum wage is one of several policy options that could make any jurisdiction have a more affluent populace.
By Randall Parker at 2014 May 01 08:25 PM
I see an increased minimum wage as something that will exacerbate illegal immigration since it will increase demand for people who are willing to work below minimum wage in cash and keep their mouths shut. However I'm perfectly willing to encourage the experiment to see what happens in cities and States (other than my own). You can't be sure until you run the experiment so lets see what happens with a 15 or 20 dollar minimum wage.
A substantial increase in the minimum wage will certainly eliminate lots of low-level service jobs. Many fast food outlets will close, and Starbucks may charge $8 for a vente. The cost of living will rise, and many of the poor will probably go somewhere else. This will benefit the affluent residents in many ways. Fewer poor people will mean less crime and social dysfunction. Upscale residents don't patroize fast food establishments very much, and they can well afford a few bucks more for their lattes.
What happens to the people at the lower end? Cities such as Detroit, Baltimore, Camden and Gary have become essentially holding pens for the folks at the bottom level of society. Governor Snyder of Michigan talks about "revitalizing" Detroit, but this is just politeness levened with wishful thinking. If some miracle occurred and Detroit became prosperous again, the residents would mostly have to go somewhere else because they couldn't afford to live there any more and also because the new "gentrified" residents wouldn't put up with their antics. But the rest of Michigan doesn't want them either, so it's probably best to leave things just as they are.
Will a minimum wage increase diminish illegal immigration? Definite maybe. Big corporations don't employ them. In the Upper Midwest, where I live, there are of lots of Hispanics working on the farms or for small business such as lawn care, paving contractors, roofers, etc. Legal? Illegal? Nobody ever checks. Given that this Administration (and the previous one) seems unenthusiastic about immigration law enforcement, I wonder if the effect might not be a paeadoxical increase in illegal immigrants who work "off the books."
The biggest beneficiaries of high minimum wage cities are landlords. In Seattle, by raising the minimum from the current $9.32 to $15.00, a two minimum wage-earning household increases its pre-tax income by about $1600 per month. In a city with tight housing, horrific traffic, brutal parking and poor public transport, that means in-city landlords will reap the majority of this windfall as rents skyrocket.
No point raising the minimum wage if border control is not enforced. No point raising the minimum wage if employers aren't punished for paying less than they are legally obligated. The democrats won't do one and the republicans the other.
You've just raised the costs of legitimate business and ensured the illegitimate ones thrive.
Even illegals are allowed to sue for unpaid compensation & overtime, and plenty of them will if they are paid less than minimum. Another problem with paying workers under the table is that businesses won't be able to deduct labor costs from their tax bill.
Raising the minimum wage should reduce the demand for unskilled immigration quite dramatically. It is perhaps one of the few things we could do to reduce immigration which the Left would actually go along with, would be popular with a majority of voters (70-80% favor a minimum wage increase), help the Republican image with the working class, and give the assholes at the Chamber of Commerce a poke in the eye. Even Mitt Romney has recently endorsed a minimum wage increase. The GOP would be helping minorities in America while actually reducing the flood of minorities into the country.
The Republican Party could get huge mileage out of the issue if they approached it as a tradeoff: an increased minimum wage in exchange for reining in welfare spending. Those two in combination would ensure that poor Americans move into the job market and push out foreign guest workers and illegals. The conservative middle/working class base would be very happy with the welfare reforms, and wouldn't mind the minimum wage increases.