Recall Seattle’s 2015-2016 minimum wage law that mandated a rise in minimum wage from $9.47/hr to $12 for small businesses and $13 for large businesses. The University of Washington early on published a study that demonstrated a drop in hours worked by low-wage workers of some 9% with a resulting decrease in actual income for those low-wage earners—ones least able to afford the cut—of some $74/mo.
New, updated numbers are in, reflecting in particular tracks folks with jobs at the time the mandated minimum wage went up.
These are illustrated by a Letter to the Editor in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. The letter-writer wrote of a pay raise his company gave its employees and a bit of Panic of 2008 history:
Despite high unemployment rates [during the Panic], we still struggled to find well-qualified employees. We were competing against the federal government’s repeatedly extended subsidy for unemployment programs. We interviewed dozens of people who flatly told us they were only interviewing to obtain another log entry to remain qualified for unemployment benefits, and that they didn’t need to work for us when they could get paid almost the same to not work at all—for 52 weeks or more.
Some empirical evidence appears in a Wall Street Journalpiece about last week’s unemployment number.
Peerfit Inc is growing, adding 80 staffers to its original 20 in just the last year and increasing their wages 5%-10% in the same period. CEO Ed Buckley has noted the difficulty in finding “good people.” Then he added this kicker:
When we first started, everyone we were hiring had a four-year college degree. Now the skill set [of vocational hires] is sometimes even sharper than their counterparts coming out with a four-year college degree.
Recall the erstwhile tax on job creation that the Seattle city government passed a while back, and then repealed. The tax would have charged businesses making more than $20 million in annual revenue a per employee tax of $275. Although, in response to business and public outcry, the city repealed the tax a couple months later, the commentary of the tax’s chief supporter is illuminating. Seattle City Councilwoman Lorena González, the lead proponent of the jobs tax:
French President Emmanuel Macron had the effrontery to say to a heretofore unsuccessful job seeker that, were the latter not absolutely set on a job in his chosen career field, the man easily could find work in France. And the man wouldn’t even have to relocate very far. The Left is in an uproar over Macron’s arrogance in saying an obvious truth.
The jobseeker, an aspiring gardener, said to Macron at an Elysee Palace open house,
I’m 25 years old, I send resumes and cover letters, they don’t lead to anything[.]
The law requires a company to appoint one woman to its board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 a five-member board would need to have two women, while boards with six or more directors would need three. The Legislature, always alert to possible micro-aggressions, defines female as “an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
(One wonders whether the law would be satisfied by a male Board member self-identifying as a woman for the purpose of Board-related activities. [/snark])
David Neumark, an Economics Professor at the University of California, Irvine, thinks he has an idea on how to implement “fairly” a minimum wage. Unfortunately, his idea isn’t even good enough to be bad satire. He wants to
provide a tax credit of 50% of the difference between the prior minimum wage and the new minimum wage for each hour of labor employed. It would phase out at wages above the new minimum wage and, as wage inflation erodes, the value of the new minimum wage.
Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY), a candidate for the House of Representatives. Recall that Ocasio-Cortez is an ardent supporter of minimum wage laws, and as a start wants the minimum to be $15/hr. New York City already has mandated that minimum wages in the city rise to $15/hr by the end of this year.
She went by her favorite coffee shop, The Coffee Shop in Union Square (which employs 150 folks), over the weekend to shoot the breeze because, she says, she used to work there. Then she discovered the place is closing this fall…because it can’t afford the rising labor costs on top of high rent and high regulation costs.
Here’s what the American Federation of Teachers union “agency fees” would have been spent on absent the favorable ruling in Janus vs AFSCME, which said that public unions can no longer make non-union employees pay into union coffers as a condition of employment. These are actual resolutions to be offered at the AFT’s convention this weekend.
Keep in mind, too, that those agency fees typically ran to 60% to 80% of member union dues—which gives an idea of how much a public union’s intake was spent on politics rather than on member matters.