Will Of The Peopzzzzzzz

Sen. Michael Baumgartner has a bill to lower the minimum wage for teens. Because of course he does.

To combat Washington’s high teen unemployment rate and generate more opportunities for teen employment, Sen. Michael Baumgartner has proposed Senate Bill 6471. Baumgartner’s “Teen Summer Jobs Act” will provide employers the latitude to pay seasonal teen workers the federal minimum wage of $7.25 from June to the end of August.

Is there any evidence that our teen unemployment rate is particularly high? I couldn’t find recent stats. He’ll mention them later on in the press release, but not have any link or much context. I mean, our unemployment rate is about the middle of the pack, and probably worse the further East you go. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the teen unemployment rate is higher. But is it higher than in states that have lower minimum wages? In any event this press release certainly doesn’t provide any evidence to support this claim.

“Right now, too many teens are losing the chance to develop a strong work ethic because they can’t find summer jobs,” Baumgartner said. “We need a change that can give today’s teens the same chance at the American dream that I had.”

There was a minimum wage in the early 1990’s when Baumgartner was a teen. It was less than it is now — that’s why we had that initiative to raise it — but as far as I can tell it was the same for teen and adults. So, when he was a teen he had the same opportunity as when it’s now, more or less at least regarding the minimum wage.

Baumgartner, who represents the 6th Legislative District, notes that teen employment has been dropping in recent years, creating what can be described as an “experience gap.” The Department of Employment Security has published data expressing if someone is unable to find a job during their teen years they are much less likely to find satisfying work later in life. Baumgartner says while it may seem counterintuitive, requiring employers to pay a lower wage to workers until their 20th birthday will actually entice employers to hire more teens and summer help.

Don’t worry, he doesn’t link to the DOE findings.

Also, now is as good a time as any to mention that Spokane County went 79224 to 48180 in favor of Washington’s minimum wage initiative. I don’t know how his district went, but I’d guess it was pro the minimum wage. Of course, a lot can happen in over a decade, but I doubt slowly dismantling the minimum wage is the reason his constituents voted for him.

Also, too, holy shit, his bill applies to 18 and 19 year-olds? Good thing nobody ever had to raise a family at 18 or 19. God.

“Statistics for 2013 were just released, showing Washington’s teen unemployment rate at thirty percent,” said Baumgartner, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “If we don’t make a move to provide more of these kids with job opportunities, we’ll really be doing them a disservice later in life when the time comes to begin their careers and become fully-functioning members of society.”

Again, I still don’t know what that means. I don’t know if it includes every child who is looking for work, or if it includes teens who aren’t looking for work. We still don’t know how it compares to the national average, or if his policy would take jobs away from people being paid higher wages, and give them to lower wage children.

I don’t know if he just made it up.

Anyway, there’s a bit more press release, but I’m done. And look I did a metacommentary piece without any swearing; I must be losing my touch.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    You missed the main point, Carl. The whole idea of a “work ethic” is a crock. The people in this country who have money don’t work. You don’t get money in America anymore by working for it. More and more of the money goes to people who own stuff. Workers keep getting less and less. Hard work isn’t how you get ahead in America; having the right parents is, i.e. parents who own a lot of stuff. This has been shown by study after study.

    I worked plenty hard in my younger days, and it never got me ahead. I began getting ahead when I stopped spending and started investing. I make more money now than I ever did when I was working, and I don’t lift a paw for it. I don’t even get out of bed before noon on most days! I get paid for sleeping in. How? By owning stock and letting companies send dividend checks to my account.

    There’s absolutely no doubt the U.S. economy has titled strongly in favor of capitalists at the expense of workers. So has the tax system. Capitalists get the best of everything: The best incomes, the best lifestyles, the special privileges, the special tax rates, the special tax deductions, and the subsidies. Workers get crumbs, whatever capitalists don’t bother to take for themselves. Work is disrespected, and workers are treated like shit.

    Work ethic? You’ve got to be kidding! Under a system like this, why should anyone have a work ethic? What you need is a good investing strategy. It’s not hard. It works like this. I sell a stock to you and take a profit. You sell the stock back to me and take a profit. I sell it to you again and take another profit. Ad infinitum. We produce nothing, we make nothing, we add nothing to the economy, but we get all the money. Sounds weird, but that’s how it actually works in the real world — the people who push the same money in endless circles get all the money. The workers who produce all the wealth get the shaft.

    Work ethic? That’s just a drug the capitalists use to seduce the gullible into working harder to make the capitalists richer.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This is Petra Ecclestone. She’s 25 years old.


    This is one of Petra Ecclestone’s houses. She didn’t built that.


    She didn’t work for it, either. She has it because her father is this guy:


    You could buy this house, or one just like it, too — all you’d have to do is work full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. for 5,636 years and have no other expenses.

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey, I’m not against wealth. I’m just against telling kids they can become wealthy by working hard. Because that’s a lie, and it’s wrong to lie to kids about things like that. You should only like to kids about Santa Claus and where babies come from, and then only until they’re old enough to handle the truth.

  4. 4

    Pete spews:

    The biggest fallacy in Baumgarter’s reasoning – aside from Roger’s excellent point about “work ethic” – is the same fallacy being used, again, to oppose minimum wage increases: the idea that raising the minimum wage causes employers to cut jobs, or, in this case, that cutting it would add jobs.

    Plenty of studies show just the opposite: that money circulates back into the economy at a much higher rate when you put it in the hands of poorer people. That creates jobs. You can pay people $2/hr, but if there’s no consumer demand to justify it, companies won’t hire more people. They’re more likely to lay people off because minimum wage workers are now spending less back into the economy.

    I haven’t seen any studies on that dynamic specific to teenagers, but the logic should hold – fewer teenager live on their own or are raising families, but then, teenagers are also much more likely to make impulsive purchases or not plan as much for the future (eg saving money). That is basic brain biochemistry – impulsiveness is a feature of young adult brains until something like 22 for women, 25 for guys.

    Alas, a two-step explanation (pay poor people more, then they buy more things, then demand is created and jobs are added) is twice as complicated as a one-step process (employers who spend less per employee will add more employees). So it’s pretty complicated for the sort of walking brain stem who votes Republican. It also assumes that employers won’t simply pocket the saved money for themselves or their shareholders, which in real life is usually what happens. But facts aren’t the point here – allowing rich people to make more money, and giving a plausible-sounding explanation to credulous mouth-breathers, is.

    Pity mainstream media in this country don’t have the inclination, or courage, or broadcast minutes or column inches, to challenge this sort of mendacity. The space needs to go to mattress and fast food ads instead.