Confounding people and wages

November 30th, 2016

Continuing the argument, the higher minimum wage puts real people out of work - individual persons lose their jobs if their productivity is significantly less than the mandate.  Employment is subject to a large number of factors that affect both supply and demand, so among those other factors, confounding the minimum wage discussion will be the impact from the scheduling constraints also recently passed into law in Seattle.  The new law will mean:

  • Workers will get two weeks advance notice of work schedules
  • Any changes by the employer will result in the worker getting extra pay
  • There has to be a minimum of 10 hours between shifts
  • Employers have to offer any available hours to existing employees before hiring more people

As for unintended consequences, some members of the council appear to be nonplussed, but at least they have granted some latitude to study what might happen:

“I think we heard the same concerns when the City of Seattle passed the minimum wage ordinance,” said Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez. “The sky has not fallen, In fact business is as good as it has ever been.”   The new law takes effect in July 2017, and Gonzalez says the city will study its effects for two years to decide whether any changes should be made.

Here is a bit of how Reason reported on this story: 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also bears some of the blame for the lack of hours, says John Vigdora, the UW economist who authored the July study on the city's new wage floor. Many employees have found their hours cut by employers looking to avoid the employer-provided-insurance mandate in the ACA, which kicks in only when someone works hours over a certain threshold, he explains.

Whether the new scheduling regulation will help workers get these hours back remains an open question, and Vigdor speculates that employers that are particularly concerned with their level of customer service may choose to absorb the costs of the new law, maintaining current staffing levels. Businesses in a more precarious financial situation, on the other hand, or less reliant on offering good customer service, are likely to respond by cutting hours.

In San Francisco—the only other city to adopt secure scheduling legislation—many businesses have indeed cut back on staff. A study conducted six months after the law went into effect found that "in response to the ordinance, 1 in 5 surveyed businesses had cut back on the number of part-time hires, and a similar number were scheduling fewer employees per shift," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Even if the economy grows as a result of increasing the minimum wage (a point that is far from proven), this policy translates into a wealth transfer from those people who lose their jobs to others who do not.   

How much disemployment we see in aggregate will depend how many people are currently below the mandated floor, but also on the "background" employment changes in the area.   The UW study suggests that Seattle's growth has so far continued, but the aggregate unemployment won't reveal people moving out of town to find work, or what jobs become more strenuous in order to make up for their productivity differences, or where there is less time off allowed, or fewer perquisites on the job, or any of the other ways people were previously free to arrange their employment relations. 

If there were no downside to the minimum wage then proponents should not stop at $15; statewide they should not stop at $13.50.  But to acknowledge the downside is to also accept that it falls most heavily on a very particular group of people, for whom it could be disastrous to fall out of work and remain that way; those people are likely to be the ones with the fewest skills and the least advantages. 

Seattle's minimum wage experience - early results

November 28th, 2016

I have been attempting to make the point that people who retain their jobs with the higher minimum wage are likely to also spend more as a consequence, but in the mean time, the $15 wage puts another group of people completely out of work.   This is older news as The Seattle Times reporting on an ongoing study at University of Washington, attempting to analyze the employment effects of the Seattle minimum wage increase.

“Seattle’s experience shows that the city’s low-wage workers did relatively well after the minimum wage increased, but largely because of the strong regional economy,” it says. “Although the minimum wage clearly increased wages for this group, offsetting effects on low-wage worker hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings.”

One of our local city council members has a critique -

“I’m not only concerned that we’re in danger of drawing erroneous conclusions about Seattle’s minimum-wage increase — I’m concerned about the consequences that could have on the nationwide fight for $15 (per hour),” said Sawant, who holds a doctorate in economics and was an instructor at Seattle Central College before winning office.

... which might be particularly focused atthis result from the study, as taken from the executive summary

In a region where all low-wage workers, including those in Seattle, have enjoyed access to more jobs and more hours, Seattle’s low-wage workers show some preliminary signs of lagging behind similar workers in comparison regions.

  • The minimum wage appears to have slightly reduced the employment rate of low-wage workers by about one percentage point. It appears that the Minimum Wage Ordinance modestly held back Seattle’s employment of low-wage workers relative to the level we could have expected.
  • Hours worked among low-wage Seattle workers have lagged behind regional trends, by roughly four hours per week, on average.
  • Low-wage individuals working in Seattle when the ordinance passed transitioned to jobs outside Seattle at an elevated rate compared to historical patterns.

Ongoing controversy suggests this is not settled so here at least is a summary from Timothy Taylor

Thus, low-wager workers in Seattle were better off as a result of the higher minimum wage if they managed to keep their job or to keep working roughly the same number of hours. But the employment rate of low-wage workers in Seattle declined slightly, as did the hours worked, which would lead to lower total earnings. As the study group notes: "The major conclusion one should draw from this analysis is that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance worked as intended by raising the hourly wage rate of low-wage workers, yet the unintended, negative side effects on hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings. ... The effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged. Of course, we are talking about the average result."

Those put out of work are likely to be the ones with the fewest skills, the ones most in need of a rung on the way to gain employment experience, perhaps to be unemployed for the rest of their lives.   I don't think that is the outcome we want to see, but I wonder whether the sort of analysis being done at the UW will be able to distinguish such losses against the other aggregated data.

Here's where employment will decline the most in Washington

November 27th, 2016

The election has upset plans and expectations around the globe, but there's plenty of additional disapppointment to come with the fallout, I'm sure.  One likely place to look will be around the consequences of large increases to the minimum wage allowed by law for people to engage in productive work.   I've written on this previously, but more recent news has a few references of note.

The Seattle Times has a revealing map showing county-by-county differences in percent of workers currently paid less than what will be the new minimum, enacted as part of Initiative 1433.  The legal minimum increases statewide from $9.47 to $13.50 by 2020, affecting what looks like more than 10% of workers across Washington.

In Seattle, for example, the minimum wage is set to rise to $15 an hour for all workers by 2021 — and in King County as a whole, only 7.8 percent of jobs pay below $13.50. But in Yakima County, 30.5 percent of low-wage jobs will get a boost from the new increase.

The sub-head to the story seems a bit optimisitic:  "Workers in Seattle won't notice a difference, but in Yakima County? Low-wage workers can expect a big raise."  It would be interesting to see how the low wage percentage compares with the corresponding fraction of the vote totals in those localities.  

If you have ever thought twice about buying something upon finding that the price was 50% higher, ask yourself why we won't find a similar reaction affecting the employment prospects for low skilled workers when the minimum wage rises to $15.    The way people actually behave is that they buy less of something when the price is higher. that will make it harder for some people to find work at all. 

For a discussion of some of the minimum wage pros and cons, see this debate on the subject of the similar changes taking place in California, where they recently passed a law that will raise the state's minimum wage to $15/hr by 2022; the potential impact in rural areas could be subject of comparison in a couple more years.

hiatus interruptus

November 27th, 2016

Perhaps this is a long enough hiatus

spam attention

August 13th, 2014

I've been getting some spam in the comments recently.  I'm happy to think about thoughtful responses, but can only delete non-sequiturs such as this, which was logged against the introduction to my MMT critique.

08-04-14@05:00 · Email: · No Spam Karma · IP: · Draft · In response to: Modern Monetary Theory - Introduction · Comment from ralph lauren pas cher [Visitor]

Comme prévu, Lindsay Rose (22 ans, 9 matchs en L1 en 2013-14) quitte Valenciennes pour Lyon. L'OL a officialisé ce samedi l'arrivée du jeune défenseur central, qui s'engagera en début de semaine prochaine pour les quatre prochaines saisons."L'Olympique Lyonnais informe d'un accord avec le club de Valenciennes sur les modalités du transfert du défenseur international Espoirs Lindsay Rose. Le joueur accompagné de son agent a rencontré le directeur juridique de l'OL, Vincent Ponsot, aujourd'hui à Lyon pour finaliser les termes de son contrat. Il sera de retour à Lyon mardi pour passer la traditionnelle visite médicale et signer ensuite son contrat", annonce le club rhodanien dans un communiqué.VA récupère 1,8 million d'euros dans la transaction. Retrouvez cet article sur Maxifoot.frLyon : Bisevac fait déjà demi-tourMan Utd : conflit d'intérêts Rooney - RVP ?Brésil : Rai veut du changementBrésil : Mourinho a refusé de remplacer Scolari
ralph lauren pas cher

The comment appears in French, which Google Translate converts into English as the following:

As expected, Lindsay Rose (22 years, 9 matches in 2013-14 L1) leaves Valenciennes Lyon. OL formalized this Saturday the arrival of the young central defender, who will engage in early next week for the next four seasons. "Olympique Lyonnais informed of an agreement with the club Valenciennes on the terms of transfer Hopes of defender Lindsay Rose. player with his agent met the legal director of the OL, Vincent Ponsot, now Lyon to finalize the terms of his contract. He will return to Lyon on Tuesday to spend the traditional medical and then sign his contract, "announces the Rhone club in communiqué.VA recovered € 1.8 million in the transaction. Find this article on Maxifoot.frLyon: Bisevac already half Tourman Utd: Rooney conflict of interest - RVP Brazil: Rai wants changementBrésil: Mourinho refused to replace Scolari

The content of this and other similar comments suggest that it has just been copied out of a recent news story.  Many are sports or celebrity related; some have been about rebellion in Algiers, others about CIA/NSA spying and other impositions.  It is not obviously an advertisement, unless they are trying to pitch the link to

Ralph Lauren apparently writes a lot of comments, but his e-mail address mysteriously changes among an assortment of random characters   Many of the comments are directed against the MMT introduction, some more on other elements of that multipart series of posts, and more tagged against an assortment of other posts from the last few years.

Someone in France is deliberately aiming to give me a hard time, or this is just one of the prices to pay for having an on-line presence in the 21st Century.  I suspect the latter is more likely.

if voting could make a difference

June 13th, 2014

The Chicago Tribune alerts me to news in Illinois to improve the situation surrounding a topic I alluded to a few months ago - gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering allows back room political deals to control political borders that protect special interests and their politician tools.  The Tribune's John Chase writes:

"Advocates trying to change the way Illinois political maps are drawn began the arduous process today of trying to prove they have enough signatures to get a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot this November."

Evidently there is some controversy regarding how much time has been allowed for the initiative sponsor to correct what the elections committee has provisionally declared to be invalid signatures. Maybe not surprising that agents of the state would try to roadblock the reform of one of the tools politicos use to remain in power, so I became interested in the organization sponsoring the amendment - "Yes! for independent Maps."

I support change that tends to reduce the concentrations of power, power that allows politicians to more easily entrench, but we have seen many cases where promises to reduce the scope of government led instead to even more of it (e.g. the Reagan presidency).   So the actual conditions of the proposed amendment are of some interest.

The Tribune gives a fair summary, but the few additional details in the amendment wording might be worth analyzing in greater detail.  To that end, here are the few sentences that describe how district boundaries are intended to be established:

Legislative Districts shall be contiguous and substantially equal in population. Representative Districts shall be contiguous and substantially equal in population.The district plan shall comply with federal law.

Hard to find any fault with this statement; one would expect a republican form of government might make these districts target equal numbers of people.  To "comply with federal law" might be redundant given the primacy clause.

Subject to the foregoing, the Commission shall apply the following criteria: (1) the district plan shall not dilute or diminish the ability of a racial or language minority community to elect the candidates of its choice, including when voting in concert with other persons;

Much might get hidden in these words over time - I think the basis of presumed community has often been used to justify the salamanderish routing of political boundaries that maintain the power of one or another interest group.  The final clause could be interpreted to restrict such ability - we are not any of us only one thing, or only some other thing like "white" or "black", "worker" or "entrepreneur," "mod" or "rocker", and to that degree will often or always align vote "in concert with other persons."

(2) districts shall respect the geographic integrity of units of local government;(3) districts shall respect the geographic integrity of communities sharing common social and economic interests, which do not include relationships with political parties or candidates for office; and

These clauses might be aiming to throw a bone to local politicos, and people aiming to manipulate this amendment could twist the notion of "common social and economic interests" into pretty much current status quo.  But I like the final clause, and the wording should make this the dominant clause as it controls and limits the others. I am concerned with the looseness of the word "relationship", but in this context it might serve to expand the range of meaning and make it more difficult for political interests to sneak in.

(4) the district plan shall not either purposefully or significantly discriminate against or favor any political party or group.

This wording might also be interpreted to maintain current interests, in as much as any reduction of the currently twisted system would diminish the power of office holders of any political party.  But the wording seems careful, maybe intending to avoid that sort of interpretation.  It seems that proving actual favor to a political party or group would be fairly easy to accomplish, which as a low bar would make it possible for small groups of determined plaintiffs to challenge any particular plan.  That, in turn, would encourage the planners to take pains to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.  There are features of the planner selection, and process transparency, which also encourage compliance with what seems like the spirit of this amendment; perhaps I will describe those in a future posting.

In designing the district plan, the Commission shall consider party registration and voting history data only to assess compliance with the foregoing criteria, and shall not consider the residence of any person.

This clause would be difficult to verify, as we can't with certainty tell what some person is considering when they make recommendations or decide on voting alternatives.  But it should be possible to perform statistical analyses of the plan as compared to the voting history and residence, which would expose the obvious violations - we should expect no statistical correlation, as any violation of that would strongly imply a bias introduced by the people involved in the process, given that the process is performed by human beings.

Which segues into an outline for a further improvement to settling voting borders (short of getting rid of them completely, a subject for another future post).  Such improvement could be an impersonal algorithm driven by population density and equal population-weighted geometric paths.  Picture a map that highlights population density, where islands of high population density rise above the ground surface, like skyscrapers climb over a city.  Across a given state, areas around cities would appear higher in this view, and those points would serve as the centroids of the districts - the highest N points in population density corresponding to the population centers of the N districts.  The area through which population is averaged will make a difference in the implementation, but could be chosen on the basis of the largest computation size that would still differentiate among N peaks, and once established on even a random basis would thereafter be relatively unbiased.  Note that the population averaging size that is used to determine the N centroids need not be the same (and most likely would not be the same) as that required for the districting plan.

Once the N points are established, one projects from each point in all directions at a rate proportional to equal population density, until each cell touches one other cell in each direction, which should be the population mid-point along each line between the N points.    If any islands arise with population through this method being substantially different than that of the other islands, then reduce the population averaging size.

legally challenging

June 7th, 2014

In my catalog of feasible and defensible steps to reduce the power of the state, devolving existing power to lower levels of government ranks right up there.  Depending on the abomination, power dispersal can be preferable to continuing some larger scale awfulness prosecuted in the name of the public interest.  At least when we disperse power, the local community has a greater chance of reduction or repeal of the intervention, although I grant that a determined minority can still impose their will in a smaller community.  Diverse local control also makes it easier for the community to re-locate to more live and let live political environments. 

But it might also matter the issue - while State governments have their own military forces, they don't execute an adversarial foreign policy, and restrictions on state power is generally a good thing, so I support constitutional limits on federal power to wage war. 

On the other hand, developments around the minimum wage might lead to a tricky balance between these strategies.  According to The Seattle Times, an organization linked by the ST's Lynn Thompson to persistent initiative sponsor Tim Eyman, has recently proposed an initiative that would bring all power to set minimum wage to the State (see number 1358 at that link, title issued 6/2/2014), rather than allow local jurisdictions such as Sea-Tac and Seattle to exercise this type of wage and price control.  I-1358 would also revert the local initiatives to the prior condition of State control of minimum wage.  The expectation is that since such a high minimum wage as passed the Seattle City Council has not become state legislation, the new $15 mandate would essentially by voided here. 

It is a Faustian bargain to deliver such power into the hands of State government - the power to give what you want is equal to take what you have, when political winds run afoul.  Imagine the far greater damage to people's lives if a $15/hour limit kept tens of thousands of people from being allowed to work across all of Washington, rather than fewer people affected by more concentrated damage done to workers in the I-5 corridor around Seattle and Sea-Tac.  So while I am on record in opposition to increasing the minimum wage (e.g. here, here, here), I have reservations about supporting Initiative 1358.

On the plus side, there is continuing local opposition to forced unemployment.  Forward Seattle has proposed to amend the Seattle city charter in effect to increase the minimum wage to the merely horrendous $12.50 rather than $15, to reduce rather than avoid the harm.  The ST notes:

Kathrina Tugadi, owner of a restaurant and a club in north Seattle, said the group is concerned that small business won’t be able to survive the jump to $15 an hour. She also is concerned about the uneven phase-in, with some large businesses required to pay $15 in three years, while small businesses have seven years.

It's strange when major media outlets such as the ST don't follow up on the implications of that concern.

I can understand that some people don't think much deeper than the surface - Will Hutton at the Guardian/Observer doesn't blink at such economic considerations.  That working for less than $15/hour makes it hard to afford nice toys is almost the defining characteristic of poverty, but Mr Hutton and others are unconcerned that working not at all might not be a preferable state of affairs.

The end of a business means the end of all it's jobs, even those that already pay $15/hour or more.

counting the consequence

May 29th, 2014

I am not hopeful for the prospects of local unskilled labor as the Seattle city council prepares to vote on increasing the minimum wage in this city.

There were $15Now petitioners hawking the proposal down at Folk Life this weekend - I came upon one on Saturday as I waited in line for food at one of the vendors.  "Why would I want to throw a bunch of people out of work?" "do you think these food vendors would sell as much food if their prices were mandated to be 50% higher?" "why do you think there won't be less labor employed when their prices are mandated higher?"

The story is told in the Seattle Times today.  I follow with quotes from the story, interspersed with my commentary:

A special committee of the Seattle City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a $15 minimum wage ordinance, setting the stage for a historic vote Monday by the full council.

A unanimous vote could hardly be surprising news, given that the special committee was stacked with people who are willing to close their eyes to the prospect of putting their fellow citizens out of work.

Despite having several of her proposed amendments voted down, including a speeded-up timeline to reach $15, Councilmember Kshama Sawant declared victory on the steps of City Hall after the committee vote.  “Today is a historic day for low-wage workers, for the labor movement, and for anyone who believes, as I do, that no one who works should have to live in poverty,” Sawant said.

I guess the strict parsing of Sawant's remark would be an honest appraisal of the outcome of her proposals.  We just need to see who it is that ends up still in the ranks of the employed after these proposals are implemented.

Several members of the mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee urged council members to not weaken their proposal. Pramila Jayapal, an immigrant-rights advocate and candidate for state Senate, called the mayor’s plan the result of “principled compromises and excruciating trade-offs.”   David Freiboth, executive secretary of the King County Labor Council, was more blunt, saying the mayor’s committee would have adopted a training wage “over my dead body.”

Freiboth's remark is interesting, coming as it does from a representative of one of the sociological forces that first used minimum wage legislation to protect their own positions from competition.  I don't imagine that very many of the people represented through the KCLC will be subject to losing their jobs at the $15 rate - their wages are already higher than that.  Potential competitors, though, people who might be willing to provide a good service at wage rates less than $15/hour, will be forbidden from such competition.  Even worse, people whose skills are inadequate to justify a wage as high as $15/hour will be forced into unemployment. 

Several owners of Subway franchises complained to the council that they were being treated as large businesses under the ordinance even though they ran a single store and had fewer than 10 employees.  “I’m not McDonald's. I’m not a wealthy franchiser. I’m not Subway. I pay them for the use of the name. That’s it,” said Matthew Hollek, who runs a Subway store in Ballard.

Yep.  Expect more than a few of these businesses to go under in the next couple years.

Council members agreed to delay the start date for the phased-in wage increase from January 1 to April 1 to give businesses more time to plan for the change. They also voted to give the city discretion to set lower minimum wages for minors and for apprentice and training programs.. ... 15 Now is gathering signatures for a charter amendment that imposes a Jan. 1 date for businesses with more than 250 workers to start paying $15 an hour and a three-year phase-in for smaller businesses.  Activists at Thursday’s hearing attempted to turn in to the City Council 10,000 signatures of the 30,000 they need to place the measure on the ballot.  When Clark told them the petitions needed to go to the City Clerk, the crowd started chanting, “What do we want? 15! When do we want it? Now!”

It would almost be better to get the new wage floor imposed rapidly, since that would provide the most clear demonstration of the effects that it will have on employment.  Perhaps some people would learn a lesson from the experience, but the practical effects will be faced by the thousands of people no longer working after these wage rates are implemented.

Sawant also objected to allowing the city to set a lower minimum wage for minors and for training and apprentice programs. She said young people, particularly immigrants, are increasingly asked to help support their families and shouldn’t be paid less. She said lower youth wages also encourages businesses to skirt the higher wage requirements for adults.  But Harrell argued that teens would have a better chance to get a job if employers could offer them slightly lower wages. The training wage provision also passed 4-3, with Sawant, O’Brien and Bagshaw voting no.

I confess that it is difficult to fathom the logic of someone who allows for the chance that high minimum wages can effect youth employment prospects, but not have a similar effect on the prospects for adults.

The council also approved a resolution calling for an audit of the new minimum wage proposals after two and four years to determine the impacts on business, employment and compliance. The resolution also recommends the creation of a Minimum Wage Commission to oversee the implementation of the new law.

This was a question I started the evening asking myself - what might the city do to track the actual effects of this wage mandate.  How might they seek to understand the wreckage imposed on people's lives, people who are first thrown out of work, and then forbidden from future employment within the city.  The answer is an audit, details to be determined.  Who knows, the localized nature of the measure may make a good case study to add to the broad existing understanding of the detrimental effects of minimum wage legislation.

not the only skeptic

March 22nd, 2014

Two recent articles from Science News Daily appeared in appropriately close proximity through my feedly

"Obama reassures Internet CEOs on tech privacy" points to a story on the subject:

President Barack Obama sought Friday [3/21] to assure leading Internet and tech executives that his administration is committed to protecting people's privacy, a week before a self-imposed deadline for a review of National Security Agency programs. ... "The president reiterated his administration's commitment to taking steps that can give people greater confidence that their rights are being protected while preserving important tools that keep us safe," the White House said in a statement.

meanwhile, "Google says Gmail encrypted 'starting today'" points also to and other sources (e.g. techspot) to reports on this announcement from the google:

Starting today [3/20], Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email. Gmail has supported HTTPS since the day it launched, and in 2010 we made HTTPS the default.

As with all other aspects of internet security, this is one step among many.


getting it good and hard

March 15th, 2014

The Seattle City Council appears predisposed to attempt raising the minimum wage to as high as $15 per hour (currently at $9.19 in Washington).  The agenda planned for a council meeting on Tuesday (3/18) has an hour dedicated to presentations by supporters, and 20 minutes reserved for comments; no time allowed for opponents of such a measure.

A. Call to Order
B. Items of Business

1. Presentations by Organizations Supportive of Raising the City's Minimum Wage to $15.  

Presenters: Jess Spear, $15NOW; Sejal Parikh, Working Washington's Good Jobs Seattle Campaign; Rebecca Smith, National Employment Law Project; Nicole Vallestero Keenan, Puget Sound SAGE   (60 minutes)

C. Public Comment  (20 minutes)
D. Adjournment

I don't need to guess about what the $15NOW people might have to say - a recent Seattle Times report (3/11/2014, Lynn Thompson) gives examples of their rhetoric

“Won’t increasing the minimum wage be a ‘job killer?’ ” asks one of the handwritten queries. The suggested response, drafted by participants at a February organizing meeting, reads, “Let’s remember, it was the blatant greed and criminality of Wall Street and Corporate America that crashed the economy in 2008 — not low-wage workers. The policies of big business have been the real ‘job killers.’ ”

A non-sequitur such as this would not stand up in rational discourse, but can easily fill up time during a city council meeting, especially when the $15NOW claim about the 2008 crash is itself so riddled with misconception as to distract attention from the fact that $15NOW and their ilk appear to not care that increasing the minimum wage will indeed lead to job losses

The activists reject the idea of a phased-in measure. They reject the idea of counting tips or other forms of compensation, such as health-care benefits, in lieu of higher hourly pay. As the name suggests, they want $15 an hour and they want it now.  “Our goal is to get a win for workers in 2014,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for 15 Now and a former Sawant campaign worker. “We’re building a mass movement as a strategy to get that done.”

As with other promoters, Jess Spear and the $15NOW activists evidently feel entitled to play with people's livelihoods.  The CBO predicted half a million people will lose their jobs across the USA if the federal minimum wage is increased to $10.10 - I can scarcely imagine what promoters of a $15 minimum in Seattle can be thinking will keep even greater damage from being concentrated in Seattle with a 50% larger mandate.  On the darker side of democracy being when the common people know what they want, rejecting a phased-in measure would at least make the connection to job loss more obvious, as the sudden shock to business would be that much harder to compensate.  But to claim a "win for workers" with this measure needs to add the word "some", because many workers will be lose out big time if this passes, which will be a tragedy.

Another group supporting 15 Now is Casa Latina, a nonprofit that organizes and runs a hiring hall for day laborers and domestic workers. The group’s worker committee voted in 2013 to raise the hourly wage it charges to $15.

Sadly, while the connection between minimum wage and availability of work is not that difficult a concept, there seems to be a willful ignorance among the people who support increasing it.  The connection between higher prices and reduced demand is so ubiquitous that they are missing what is all around them, missing even their own purchase of goods and services, of how they buy less of something when the price is higher.  How can they fail to see how a 50% mandated increase to the  price of unskilled labor will lead to less employment?

I am not hopeful for the fate of unskilled labor in Seattle - the local pols are stacking the deck for making a large increase to the minimum wage, and naysayers don't have much of a voice.  As one member states - “If I were against $15, I wouldn’t be on the mayor’s committee