Seattle pushing back on the $15 minimum wage

posted at 2:01 pm on July 6, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

When Seattle passed their new city council ordinance mandating a staged increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, many local businesses – as well as observers across the nation – were left shaking their heads. The rules seemed to be unevenly applied, with some businesses having to comply but not others, as well has having a complete disregard for whether or not the job providing entities would be able to remain competitive and survive under the new rules. As Reuters reports, a coalition of business owners are now moving to exercise the power of public support to put the brakes on this thing before it goes off the tracks entirely.

Forward Seattle, which represents restaurants, retailers and other businesses, handed in just under 20,000 signatures to the Seattle City Clerk on Wednesday, more than the 16,510 needed to qualify for the November ballot, said group co-chair Angela Cough.

The proposal would ask Seattle voters to repeal a $15 minimum wage increase that was approved by a unanimous vote of the City Council last month and signed by Mayor Ed Murray. It is scheduled to go into effect over several years.

The move by city leaders marked the first time a major U.S. city has committed to such a high base level of pay. Seattle is among several cities leading the way in a national push by Democrats to raise minimum wages, and the plan in the Pacific Northwest city has drawn criticism from business groups.

Over at The American Thinker, Rick Moran asks a few pointed questions which the city council might want to consider.

Many voters believe all businesses are rich and don’t pay their employees $15 an hour because they’re greedy. They make no connection between the products sold by the business and the value of the labor that makes them.

Perhaps fast food restuarants can cut a few ads asking Seattle residents if they want to pay $8-9 for a Big Mac? Or do with far fewer sales clerks at retail outlets? Or see the price of convenience items skyrocket at gas stations and convenience stores?

The nice thing about the engine of free commerce is that no matter how much it gets shoved and constrained by the forces of government, it always seems to evolve and find a way to get on with business. The examples Rick lists are only a few of the possibilities. Fast food places – as well as other forms of retail outlets – may see these changes as the impetus to invest in more automation, reducing the number of workers and the long term costs associated with employing them. And once that investment has been made, there will be no turning back to the old way of doing things, even if the government mandated conditions improve. True, it will produce a few more well paying, higher tech jobs, but the entry level ones will largely disappear. (And based on a recent trip to Dunkin Donuts, I’m not sure how much worse a few robots could do anyway.)

Of course, with fewer people working, the pool of potential customers shrinks, so the employers can get by with fewer employees anyway. Other cost cutting measures will surely follow. In the end, I imagine that business will survive in some fashion, but it may be quite different than what the residents are used to. Or perhaps they can find a way to communicate these ideas to the voters in a way they can relate to.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

I think they should make Dunkin Donuts hire newly graduated nutritionists as servers.

Picture this – You, YOU want a dozen doughnuts? Get real!

Lonetown on July 7, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Careful now, fat people are only a year or two away from becoming the newest ‘protected class’ — you bigot ;)

nullrouted on July 7, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Meow, Happy Belated Independence Day Well Wishes!

Bmore on July 7, 2014 at 10:36 AM

The old industrial model is clearly breaking down. In the future, there will be less and less people working for others. Instead we’ll see even more automation and folks running their own (and family) micro-industries. But that will be just to get by. The accumulation of massive capital through conglomeration is ending. And without that capital, the system will no longer be able to maintain itself, and even the automation will be unsustainable.

It takes huge amounts of capital to do things like build skyscrapers and bridges-but also microchips. I think our great grandchildren will be rather unfamiliar with digital technology.

Even these hot-shot gear heads cannot build their own engine blocks starting with the raw iron ore, so certainly the computer geeks aren’t going to be able to build (much less fix) integrated circuit chips in their garages.

Entropy-social, political, economic and industrial entropy. That’s all I can see on the horizon.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Whatever though, either way I’ll be the one programming their replacements…lol

nullrouted on July 7, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Maybe-depends on how old you are. I think programming will be a dead field in the future. Why should I pay a programmer when I can buy an ultra-smart computer that can do its own programming? Tell the machine what you want, and it will generate its own code.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Maybe-depends on how old you are. I think programming will be a dead field in the future. Why should I pay a programmer when I can buy an ultra-smart computer that can do its own programming? Tell the machine what you want, and it will generate its own code.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM

And who do you think will program your super-smart self-programming computer, at least until we create real artificial intelligence?

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM

LOL — Who do you think will create and maintain that computer then?

I’m 30, and I’ve been using computers since I was 6 years old. When I said ‘programming’ I only meant one little part of what I do — I’m an enterprise architect, that means not only programming but all of the connectivity and/or servers involved in making a system work together, on the internet, etc. I am the “cloud”, as it were.

That’s why I find all of this minimum wage stuff, especially amongst fast food workers, hilarious. Because they’ll fire all of them, then hire me (or someone like me) to replace them all with automated terminals for customers — and they won’t be paying us minimum wage to do it…

IT as a whole is going nowhere but up.

nullrouted on July 7, 2014 at 11:13 AM

I think the employers should gather up their employees and ask them which ones are willing to give up their jobs to pay the increased wages to those who remain.

billsheck on July 7, 2014 at 11:16 AM

That’s why I find all of this minimum wage stuff, especially amongst fast food workers, hilarious. Because they’ll fire all of them, then hire me (or someone like me) to replace them all with automated terminals for customers — and they won’t be paying us minimum wage to do it…

IT as a whole is going nowhere but up.

nullrouted on July 7, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Funny how many people miss that point in so many areas – like the replacement of bank tellers with ATMS. Now they pay for people to build, program, service, and maintain the ATMS.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 11:18 AM

I think the employers should gather up their employees and ask them which ones are willing to give up their jobs to pay the increased wages to those who remain.

billsheck on July 7, 2014 at 11:16 AM

I see a new reality show in the making – “Survivor Starbucks”.
Tune in and find out who gets voted out of a job and into unemployment this week….

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 11:24 AM

One thing on which we can all agree: Seattle Shall Rue The Day.

Tard on July 7, 2014 at 11:26 AM

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM
nullrouted on July 7, 2014 at 11:13 AM

No offense, but you guys sound like the harness and carriage makers of a century ago when Detroit started cranking out Tin Lizzies.

I guess the new Model T is something called “self-modifying code”:

http://readwrite.com/2013/11/07/singularity-ai-human-extinction

And it won’t take all of you to design it, just as it didn’t take every mechanically inclined man of the early 1900s to make the automobile a practical reality. Same goes for every major technological advance; it only takes a few to actually invent it and then the others jump on board for the ride.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Ya, I’m sure “The Jetsons” is just around the corner, any day now, here it comes, almost here…..

We fully understand new technology – and what it takes to make it – an area where you seem to be lacking.

Like I said, until we get to the point of real no-shiite AI, where the computers design and build themselves and others, people are still required to design, build, program, and maintain the computers, robots, and other machinery that do the work of building the other “things” that do the work humans used to do.

And if/when we actually get to that stage (and we’re not there yet), well, then we’re likely facing a real life “I, Robot” or “Terminator” – when the AI machines decide they really don’t need us puny humans any more.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Sure-and I can’t shoe a horse, either…what’s your point there? That being technically competent in a field means that you and those of your kind will always have a job in that field?

Back in the ’70s I never dreamed of being able to hold a device in my hand that had a zillion times the computing power of ENIAC, nor a TV I could hang on my wall, etc. That was only forty years ago.

Change happens fast.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM

That’s why I find all of this minimum wage stuff, especially amongst fast food workers, hilarious. Because they’ll fire all of them, then hire me (or someone like me) to replace them all with automated terminals for customers — and they won’t be paying us minimum wage to do it…

IT as a whole is going nowhere but up.

nullrouted on July 7, 2014 at 11:13 AM

I write the monthly newspaper article for the newspaper I work for. IT has been stagnant for months, and it still is in the most current June report.

Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including mining
and logging, construction, information, and government.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

And I see the same thing for IT in Colorado, stagnant at both the state level and the county level.

I’m not sure where you are getting your information from?

Walter L. Newton on July 7, 2014 at 11:49 AM

And it won’t take all of you to design it, just as it didn’t take every mechanically inclined man of the early 1900s to make the automobile a practical reality. Same goes for every major technological advance; it only takes a few to actually invent it and then the others jump on board for the ride.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 11:27 AM

No offense, but it sounds like you’re not that familiar with how stuff works in the world of IT. Someone has to be able to milk the requirements out of the customer, and then translate those requirements into code that the machine can understand. It doesn’t matter if the code is ones and zeroes or if it’s a spoken dialog into a microphone, there’s always someone who has to explain the wishes of the uninitiated to the machines that the end-user interfaces with. The rate at which automation reduces the number of humans required in the process, if we’ve actually reached the point where that number is reducing on a unit of work basis, is far exceeded by the rate at which human problems are added to the heap of things to be resolved by computers.

What you’re failing to appreciate is how rapidly all work is being migrated from physical tasks to learning how to tell a machine to do it. It is the blue collar jobs that are slowly going extinct.

Immolate on July 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Sure-and I can’t shoe a horse, either…what’s your point there? That being technically competent in a field means that you and those of your kind will always have a job in that field?

Back in the ’70s I never dreamed of being able to hold a device in my hand that had a zillion times the computing power of ENIAC, nor a TV I could hang on my wall, etc. That was only forty years ago.

Change happens fast.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Those who are technically competent in leading edge technologies are the people who are expanding the field(s) and making the change happen.
Being technically competent in high technology areas means I absolutely do believe I will have a job – what I actually do in that job is wide open. When I was in HS (in the 70s), I just wanted to be a mechanical engineer – no real idea of what I might actually do. But over the last 30 years, because I did get an engineering degree, I’ve been a space systems analyst, trainer, software engineer (programmer – FORTRAN, C, JOVIAL, Assembly, Hexidecimal), systems engineer, project/program manager, business development manager, test engineer, and system test manager.
I’ll admit I’ve never shoed a horse either – but I have rebuilt car engines and done a lot of auto maintenance on “old” cars.

The main point being, no matter what the technology level may be, technically competent people will be needed to design, build, program, service, maintain, and even operate all of that technology.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

The raise to $15/hr makes it much more cost effective to use touch screen systems to order food and goods at fast food stores and other retail. Pretty soon supermarkets will only use self checkout. In Seattle the loss of jobs paying even $15/hr is a good thing as the cost to live there is so high. In other areas where unemployment is rampant it wont be a good thing. I want to know where the liberals think all of the illegals from Mexico and Central AMerica are going to get jobs? If a person cant speak English and cant read English they arent going to get a programming job at MS.

iam7545 on July 7, 2014 at 12:10 PM

If a person cant speak English and cant read English they arent going to get a programming job at MS.

iam7545 on July 7, 2014 at 12:10 PM

King Putt has a solution for that….

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/brittany-m-hughes/federal-gov-t-sues-wisconsin-company-says-english-language

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Immolate on July 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

I hear what you’re saying, and I respect your expertise in your field-but if you can’t see the writing on the wall for white collar jobs as well, then I really can’t say anything more about it.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Sure, you will probably have a job. I made it pretty clear I was talking about down the line. How soon or late that is I have no idea.

I like machines, too, but neither you nor I designed and built them from scratch. That’s part of my point. The basic technologies are developed by a few, and that takes a strong capitalist base. Steve Jobs tweaked and assembled parts that were made/invented by companies that had the capital to get the purified silicon wafers, the machinery to make chips, etc. No way Steve Jobs could have made his own chips in his garage. Now, maybe he could have built his own monitors (including the glass and the phosphors), but to the best of my knowledge, those were off the shelf as well.

I’m also sure there was a thriving industry involving engineers trying to get the most out of the intricate Watt piston engines that were the marvel of the Victorian Age-but at some point, that knowledge became practically useless. That was what, like only 120 years ago?

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

I like machines, too, but neither you nor I designed and built them from scratch. That’s part of my point. The basic technologies are developed by a few, and that takes a strong capitalist base. Steve Jobs tweaked and assembled parts that were made/invented by companies that had the capital to get the purified silicon wafers, the machinery to make chips, etc. No way Steve Jobs could have made his own chips in his garage. Now, maybe he could have built his own monitors (including the glass and the phosphors), but to the best of my knowledge, those were off the shelf as well.
Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

OK, I have no idea what you’re actually trying to say now.
First you say “The basic technologies are developed by a few”.
Then you proceed to talk about how many different people were involved in all the technologies Steve Jobs tweaaked and pulled together – and Jobs didn’t do it all alone either – he had hundreds, if not thousands of employees doing the actual work.
So you basically made a point, and then disproved your own initial point.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:32 PM

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I was talking about when Jobs was first starting out.

Now, the marketing of Apple (and Microsoft) were marvelous-along with the help of a fawning LSM that doesn’t know squat about anything, and a healthy band of technologically savvy groupies. That is, I bet the average American thinks either Jobs, Gates, or both “invented” the personal computer. Do we have to go down the Xerox Alto/PARC (or even the Altair 8800) road on this one?

And no-I didn’t disprove my own point. You have daring trailblazers followed by settlers some of whom end up with Ponderosas and all the others with sod huts. Pretty simple notion I think.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM

And no-I didn’t disprove my own point. You have daring trailblazers followed by settlers some of whom end up with Ponderosas and all the others with sod huts. Pretty simple notion I think.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Millions of people besides Jobs and Gates have gotten rich, or at least made a VERY good living working in technology fields. The “trailblazers” may have had some good new ideas, but they didn’t create all those things by themselves.
I think your notion is a bit too simple if you really believe only a few people are responsible for all of our technology, and only those few can be considered successful.

If we were getting even close to the point of the computers being capable of doing everything on their own, and therefore high tech people no longer necessary, I would think Apple and Microsoft would be leading the the way. However, given that MS employs about 61,000 people (just in the US) and Apple employs about 35,000 people – I don’t see that happening.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:59 PM

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 12:59 PM

So, Microsoft and Apple I suppose are “too big to fail”? Really now.

Also, why would Microsoft and Apple want to put themselves out of business? They dwell in the past. Someone else, somewhere, always comes along with real innovation and the dinosaurs either adapt or become extinct. But, one cannot ignore their entrenched positions concerning capital, name recognition, a web of business deals…they’ll probably be around for a while longer.

Microsoft and Apple would gladly sell pencils and paper if they thought they could make more money doing that. Their days of innovation are long over.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Ok, I get it now.
You’re just a trolling nutjob making up crap as you go.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 1:28 PM

water is free…drink tap or buy a filter

nonpartisan on July 6, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Funny you should mention this. I do quite a bit of driving for my job, and when I’ve got business in this little town, there’s a Mom and Pop diner that I stop at for lunch sometimes. Anyway, the minimum wage here in California was raised to $9/hour on July 1st (on January 1, 2016 it will be raised again to $10/hour) and there was an insert in this diner’s menu that to keep from raising food prices or firing staff, due to the wage increase, glasses of water would no longer be complimentary, but carry a charge of $0.99 unless another beverage (coffee, tea, soda, etc.) is purchased.

Funny thing reality.

Left Coast Right Mind on July 7, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Ok, I get it now.
You’re just a trolling nutjob making up crap as you go.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 1:28 PM

No, I’m just looking at the past and trying to figure out the future based upon that.

I think you suffer from normalcy bias…change is hard to deal with, really I know.

As for the insult: You’ve shown your true colors, and that you can’t engage in a lengthy debate without resorting to ad hominem attacks. That is the sign of a true troll in my book.

Take care.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Sez the troll who makes up shiite that has no relevance to anything anyone has said.
GFY.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 2:03 PM

The assumption appears to be that raising the minimum wage will drive price increases.

Perhaps.

But what if it’s a trailing indicator rather than a leading one?

http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf

What if the inflation already happened due to other factors, while the minimum wage remains nailed in place by law?

In such a case, raising the minimum wage would not increase prices. Instead, it is a belated recognition that the prices have already increased, and the minimum wage must catch up.

I’m willing to be convinced. I’m simply stating that the studies I have read show that the minimum wage has a minimal effect on inflation for the most part. If someone has alternate data, I’m listening.

pendell2 on July 7, 2014 at 2:39 PM

“I guess the new Model T is something called “self-modifying code”:”

We’ve had self-modifying code in LISP for approximately half a century and it hasn’t taken the world by storm. The reason being that we don’t WANT self-modifying code. We want code that will reproduce repeatable and predictable results, every time, and that it have the features we want. Self-modifying code still cannot determine what a customer wants and build something that satisfies that need. A computer cannot design an ipad or a tablet without a savvy human who knows what people want to buy.

Heck, we software guys have enough problems with that, and WE’RE flesh and blood!

pendell2 on July 7, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Fast food is all about margins and those are thin. What McDonald’s will do is cut down food portion size and raise prices for Seattle. Starbucks already pays a little better than most fast food but I can see a Tall Latte coming in at $5 easy.
Seattle people voted in these progressives and frankly I don’t pity them.

FireBlogger on July 7, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Sez the troll who makes up shiite that has no relevance to anything anyone has said.
GFY.

dentarthurdent on July 7, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Yeah, I’ve been “trolling” here for about six years now-can’t believe they haven’t kicked me out yet./s

We’re coming from two different places. To me these minimum wage arguments are nonsense, because our economy is collapsing and will become irrelevant. We’re losing our ability to create wealth. We’re out of money. It won’t get better…it won’t be “fixed”.

We’re being robbed blind of what we have left and the Socialist and NWO types are encroaching ever deeper into our very Liberty-and we do nothing except belly ache.

Guess I should admire your optimism, but on the other hand I think you’re just afraid that the world you knew is coming to an end and all that you thought would make you successful in life, and your world where things would continuously get better can evaporate at any moment.

Personally, I have been trying to adjust the best I can to the new reality.

Let’s say you’re right and Obama eventually leaves the WH, and Ronald Reagan II gets elected and all is bright and sunny. Best case scenario is that automation continues to advance. If it goes the way it seems to be going, then many, many more people will be out of work as they will no longer be necessary. What do we do with them/us then? Just a bigger Welfare State is all I can come up with. Slight chance of creating new jobs and industries-but everything seems to point to the de-industrialization of America instead.

My take is (again) that with a collapsed economy/society, the current high technologies will be unsustainable. I don’t think we will be able to maintain Victorian Age steam technology.

People won’t have the money to spend at Starbuck’s or whatever. They’ll be lucky to keep the lights on-assuming that the Socialists don’t shut down all the power plants, or being more optimistic, that the power grid won’t collapse due to neglect and the inability to maintain it.

Don’t know why you’re being so nasty about my views-guess I struck a nerve somewhere.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 8, 2014 at 12:22 AM

I don’t know what crop Seattle is famous for. But you can be sure that when the harvesting season is over the minimum wage earners will insure union write in that the other 8 months of doing nothing are paid vacation days too.

MSGTAS on July 8, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3