Sunday, February 1, 2015

The SeaTac Success Story

On January 1, 2014, the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, Washington became the first town in the nation to raise its minimum wage to $15/hour.  They did it in one step with barely any lead time, albeit with some exemptions such as businesses with fewer than 30 employees (and the courts soon ruled that airport employees are outside its jurisdiction and are therefore exempt as well).  And the Koch-roaches and their disgusting ilk (along with some local business owners as well) were playing Chicken Little and predictably claiming that it would "destroy jobs" and all that jazz.

But guess what?  The sky didn't fall after all.  In fact, raising the minimum wage to $15 turned out to be a major shot in the arm for the town's economy, who saw a major revitalization in the past year.  Local businesses were expanding, not laying off employees en masse like the naysayers predicted.  And the reason is simple economics:  when workers have more money, they have more to spend in the local economy, which creates more jobs and so on in a virtuous cycle.  A win-win-win situation for everyone but the plutocrats and their sycophantic lackeys.  So we can consider the naysayers to be debunked. 

The TSAP supports raising the federal minimum wage to at least $10/hour if not higher, and many state and local minimum wages to at least $12 if not $15.  Now that SeaTac was the guinea pig, soon followed by Seattle, we can now say that $15/hour is no longer terra incognita.  So even a federal minimum wage of $15 should still be considered as an option, which we would support as well.  Specifically, we want a general minimum wage of $15 for workers over 18 years of age.  Workers under 18 should be paid at least 80% of that amount, or $12/hour.  Ditto for workers of any age in the first 30 days on the job, as a "training wage".  There should be no tip credits either.  Small business with fewer than 10 employees would be exempt from the wage hike, and would be able to pay the same as now.  Businesses with 10-30 employees would have the new minimum wage phased in gradually over two or three years, while businesses with more than 30 employees would be have to pay $15/hour within six months (i.e. two fiscal quarters) of the new law's enactment.  Otherwise, there should be no exceptions, period.  And for the first few years of the new law, there should be special tax credits for employers who hire workers under age 25 and over 55, and even greater tax credits for hiring employees under 20 years of age.  That should alleviate any hyperbolic concerns about a higher minimum wage somehow pricing these "less valuable" workers out of the market--which has never really been conclusively proven anyway.

So what are we waiting for?

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