The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Self-described progressive, Hillary Clinton, and self styled democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, are tripping over themselves declaring their support for a national $15.00 per hour minimum wage. After all, they insist it will help low wage workers and serve to crush income inequality. It's a wonderful progressive fantasy that is easy to sustain as long as the fantasy doesn't collide with real world economics. In Seattle, Washington, the fantasy is under attack.

A very progressive Seattle City Council voted in a $15.00 minimum wage last year, instituted in stages over a few years. The state of Washington has a minimum wage of $9.32 an hour, but Seattle's was mandated at $13.00 on January 1, 2016, rising to $15.00 on January 1, 2017. Gosh, that must be really great for high schoolers and the far-too-many college grads who now work minimum wage jobs as a result of the Obama economy.

Mark Perry analyzed the results of the $13.00 per hour mandate in Seattle:

Now that the first Seattle minimum wage increase has been in effect for more than ten months, and as local employers brace for the additional minimum wage hikes that will eventually increase their annual labor costs per full-time minimum wage worker by 61% and by a whopping $11,300 (from the increase in hourly labor costs from $9.32 to $15 an hour), are there any noticeable effects so far on the city’s labor market? Is Seattle’s radical experiment with the highest-ever minimum wage in US history serving as a “model for the rest of the nation to follow”? Or is Seattle serving as an “economic canary in the coal mine” for other cities and states (and the country) considering the “bold action” of imposing higher labor costs on employers by as much as $15,500 annually per full-time minimum wage workers if they enact legislation increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour?

Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point (all based on BLS’s “not seasonally adjusted basis”). Those figures are based on employment data for the city of Seattle only.
So ... the economic justice warriors have conducted an experiment that actually provides useful metrics for their ideas. Immediately following the initiation of their special minimum wage, Seattle has seen the "the biggest decline [in employment] over any 9 month period since between April and December 2009 period during the Great Recession." Boy, that's a testament ... oh wait, a drop? In employment? People lost jobs? Really? Who would have guessed?

Certainly not Hillary or Bernie who are either too stupid, too ideological, or too dishonest to recognize that government mandated wages that are out of step with the market do nothing for the poor or the lower middle class except ensure that they have fewer jobs to choose from or no job at all.

And the 11,000 Seattle residents who lost their jobs? They're just necessary collateral damage in the social justice wars.