Opponents of raising the minimum wage to upwards of $15 often talk about how such a move would result in fewer jobs and ultimately less pay for the workers who need it the most. Well, the initial numbers are in from Seattle’s decision to increase its wage floor in 2014 -- and their theories were just plain wrong.
A University of Washington report notes that since a phase-in of wages began last year, average earnings are up modestly and businesses for the most part have withstood the increase in the minimum wage to between $10.50 and $13 an hour, depending on their size. That comes after many in the corporate class bemoaned that the business community would be devastated by the increase.
As the report states, “We do not find compelling evidence that the minimum wage has caused significant increases in business failure rates. Moreover, if there has been any increase in business closings caused by the Minimum Wage Ordinance, it has been more than offset by an increase in business openings.”
In many localities, fear mongering about job loss has become opponents’ best weapon against a minimum wage hike. But millions of everyday Americans are struggling to support their families while working full time or more. That’s not going away. If anything, it’s getting worse.
The corporate class likes to complain they are seeing record profits drop as they need to pay more towards employees. Sorry, this nation doesn’t exist to merely prop up stock prices. That’s happened for long enough – businesses need to pay their fair share.
As it stands, some three quarters of Americans back an increase in the minimum wage. Even six in 10 small business orders support it. Full-time workers earning the federal minimum standard are taking home just $14,500 a year. That is not a livable salary for one, never mind a family.
The U.S. must do better. In November, voters can take a step to see that it does.