The simple fact is that a minimum wage which is completely divorced from the natural wage rate will cause havoc all through the economy. People will lose hours and jobs. Businesses will go out of business. People will leave for lack of jobs. Lives will be disrupted.
I wish this wasn’t the case. But it is.
And also if you want to create a less diverse, more exclusionary city, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will do that. In the end perhaps that’s what the latte drinkers in Seattle want anyway. (Though they can’t say it in polite company.)
“I’ve let one person go since April 1, I’ve cut hours since April 1, I’ve taken them myself because I don’t pay myself,” she says. “I’ve also raised my prices a little bit, there’s no other way to do it.”
Small businesses in the city have up to six more years to phase in the new $15 an hour minimum wage. But Shah Burnham says even though she only has one store with 12 employees, she’s considered part of the Z Pizza franchise — a large business. So she has to give raises within the next two years.
“I know that I would have stayed here if I had 7 years, just like everyone else, if I had an even playing field,” she says. “The discrimination I’m feeling right now against my small business makes me not want to stay and do anything in Seattle.”