The big Democrat talking point lately has been the need to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. We’ve seen Hillary Clinton endorse this plan on numerous occasions. But if Seattle is an early indication of what this will do to our economy, we are in deep trouble if it ever goes through.
Seattle made history last year when they became the first city in the nation to vote in a $15 minimum wage. But even though Seattle’s minimum wage won’t actually climb that high until 2017, the hike has already cost the city some 700 restaurant jobs. This, according to a new report from the American Enterprise Institute, who compared Seattle’s restaurant job growth to the rest of Washington. What they found puts the reality of the situation in stark relief.
“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the report reads. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.”
A bad start indeed, but unfortunately it’s one that could have been (and was) easily predicted beforehand. Liberals have this idea that by raising the minimum wage, they’re taking money out of the pockets of greedy billionaires and putting it back in the pocket of the low-income worker. The wealthy CEO’s lifestyle won’t have to change a bit, but the wage hike will give the poor and downtrodden a chance to turn their lives around.
Of course, it doesn’t work like that. The majority of restaurants in Seattle aren’t owned by fat cat conglomerates; they’re small businesses that are desperately trying to stay in the black. And when a law comes along telling them that now it will suddenly cost much more to hire employees, they are backed into a corner. Will customers keep coming in if prices go through the roof? Probably not, huh? And so these owners have no choice but to start cutting jobs. And many of them will skip that step and go straight for closure.
Hiking the minimum wage beyond a reasonable level isn’t a way to correct some societal injustice; it’s government-mandated charity that undermines the free market. And who are we giving this charity to? In large part, it’s going to teenagers! Teenagers who don’t even need the damn money. But even if it was going exclusively to working moms who can’t afford diapers, it would still be just as silly and wrongheaded. We have a welfare system already; why should employers be forced to pay top dollar for bottom value?
But even if you don’t buy into the argument that this is a moral wrong, at least accept the fact that it’s illogical and doomed to fail. If Seattle’s foolish wage hike isn’t repealed soon, their city will be left in shambles. And if Clinton and her goons ever force this nonsense onto the country at large, America as the world’s leading economic powerhouse will be a notion of the past.