by Carl, 12/18/2013, 7:54 AM

The major issue next year in Seattle will be the push to get a $15 minimum wage either passed by the City Council or the voters. And I’m heartened to see that Council Member Elect Sawant is going to keep the pressure on.

Asked whether she’d be willing to wait until the end of mayor-elect Ed Murray’s first four-year term—Murray has said he wants to get to $15 an hour by the end of his first term in office—Sawant said no. “I think that’s too late, because working people … have to put food on the table today. They have to pay the rent every month. They can’t tell their landlord to wait four years.”

However, despite the emphasis on urgency, she struck a more conciliatory note on the specifics. “This is not something that we want to come up with unilaterally.” (Sawant has a habit of referring to herself in the plural).

I think that’s a bit of an unfair characterization given that she’s there with a large group of people, but whatever. The larger point that there will be a continued push from Murray’s, and the median council member’s, left probably bodes well for passing it.

I know Murray campaigned on passing it and I have no reason to doubt he wants to pass it for political as well as moral reasons. But I worry that he’s more concerned with irenic posturing to business interests than pressing ahead when there’s momentum. So hopefully this campaign will be a check on the people who are surely trying to process it to death.

If you’re interested in checking it out, there’s Looks like right now, they’re just trying to get your contact info. But there will presumably be more info once the push kicks into high gear.

11 Responses to “$15”

1. Moderate Man spews:

I’m well to the right politically of almost every non-troll on this site. But, I am becoming a supporter of the $15 minimum wage for the same reason I support the EITC – it puts the money directly in the hands of the lower-income worker and doesn’t filter the money through some often inefficient government welfare program.

I do worry about the inevitable effects on employment of a much higher minimum wage, but we have to deal with the stagnation of income at the lower levels in any case, and the traditional methods of taxing business more has the same sort of effect and is inefficient to boot.

I would like to see it raised $2 an hour per year over 3 years rather than $6 all at once however.

2. Roger Rabbit spews:

Why The Rich Should Pay Higher Taxes

“The largesse of the Federal Reserve over the past five years has amounted to one of the largest ever subsidies to the American wealthy — fueling record fortunes, record numbers of new millionaires and billionaires, and an unprecedented shopping spree for everything from Ferraris to Francis Bacon paintings. The prices of the assets owned by the wealthy, and the things they buy, have gone parabolic, bearing little relationship to the weak, broader economy.”

Roger Rabbit Commentary: #1 because they can afford it, #2 because they’ve received trillions of dollars of free money from the government, and #3 because society has so many underfunded needs.

3. Roger Rabbit spews:

@1 “I do worry about the alleged effects on employment of a much higher minimum wage …”


4. Moderate Man spews:

@3 – It will be an interesting experiment. No large government in the US has raised the minimum wage by 50% in one fell swoop as is being proposed here. Studies that show some or little effect on employment of a modest increase in the minimum wage are unlikely to shed much light on the $15 proposal.

But, that said, your point is well taken. We just don’t know. But, let’s find out! (Again, I’d prefer to give businesses more than a one year planning horizon for such an increase.)

5. Just say no to Reds... spews:

Seattle’s new marxist council member, must be a big fan of robots.

6. Roger Rabbit spews:

@4 It’s not an experiment. This has been studied to death. Raising the minimum wage is good for the economy.

It also reduces government spending and deficits, because low-wage workers will be less dependent on housing subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, and other welfare-type programs if their wages go farther in meeting their basic living expenses.

At the current federal minimum wage, over half of a minimum-wage worker’s subsistence is paid for by taxpayers.

I really don’t understand why conservatives can’t grasp the fact that workers incur costs to provide their labor, just as an employer’s other suppliers have costs. They need shelter, food, clothing, medical care, and transportation to and from their jobs. Without those things, they can’t work, in fact they can’t even live.

No rational business person would expect a food distributor to sell steaks to a restaurant for less than the distributor pays his suppliers for the steaks. Yet, when it comes to labor, opponents of minimum wage laws take leave of their senses. They expect workers to provide their labor for less than it costs them to exist as laborers. That’s absurd, it’s ridiculous, it’s beyond the pale.

What this does, of course, is transfer companies’ private labor costs to the government. And guess who the people incessantly complaining about “big government” and “government spending” are? A lot of them are the same politically conservative business owners who dump their labor costs on taxpayers.

When we debate raising the minimum wage, the real issue is whether those business owners should be allowed to get away with that at our expense, because a low minimum wage is really a taxpayer-funded subsidy to private, for-profit, businesses.

That, my friend, is what the minimum wage debate is REALLY all about.

7. Roger Rabbit spews:

Local anti-gay “pastor” Ken Hutcherson has died of prostate cancer at age 61.

8. Roger Rabbit spews:

Generally speaking, and without reference to any specific case,
I think even when a person appears to have died of “natural” causes, i.e. an illness, the medical examiner should check for signs of trauma, e.g. entry and exit burns, although I suppose you could argue that a lightning bolt is a “natural” cause of death even when it hits someone God might be displeased with, that is, if there is a God and don’t look at me like that because I don’t know whether there is. I’m not even certain the universe and me and everything else isn’t just a figment of my imagination, and it seems possible that nothing actually exists, i.e. that there is no universe or people or rabbits or atoms or energy or galaxies and planets or anything else. We all may be living in a comic book.

9. Roger Rabbit spews:

I suppose you’ve heard this hoary old campus story before. I’ll repeat it anyway, in case anyone hasn’t.

A philosophy class is gathered in the lecture hall for the final exam. The professor walks in, chalks on the blackboard, “Why?” and tells the class, “You have two hours.” Two minutes later, one student gets up, hands in his paper, and leaves. He ends up getting the only A grade. His answer: “Why not?”

10. Roger Rabbit spews:

Fuck philosophy. I slept through that class. Boooooring!!! I liked economics better. I got straight As in Econ. Shoulda majored in it.

11. Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

If the minimum wage is raised to $15 in one fell swoop, it will put my wife’s employer out of business.