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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the only-sort-of-starving-now dept.

The Almighty Buck 1040

An anonymous reader writes "The Seattle City Council announced on Monday that it has unanimously approved a $15 per hour minimum wage mandate. The new rate will go into effect starting April 1, 2015 in a tiered, gradual manner that depends on employer size. In the first year of implementation, hourly minimum wage will be raised to either $10 or $11 according to the employer size category. By 2021, hourly minimum wage across the board should be at or above $15. Seattle is the first city to implement a living wage for its lowest earners."

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Behind the curve (3, Insightful)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about 4 months ago | (#47153067)

$15 per hour is barely a livable wage currently; there's no way it will be in 2021.

Re:Behind the curve (1, Troll)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 4 months ago | (#47153099)

"$15 per hour is barely a livable wage currently

Maybe you should look up the definition of the word minimum.

"minimum: 1: the least quantity assignable, admissible, or possible

Re:Behind the curve (0, Troll)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#47153145)

So...way to skip the second half of the *only sentence in that post*?

I mean, I critiqued his point too, but come on.

Re:Behind the curve (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153181)

"$15 per hour is barely a livable wage currently

Maybe you should look up the definition of the word minimum.

"minimum: 1: the least quantity assignable, admissible, or possible

Reading comprehension. The point is clearly that if it would be suitable minimum now inflation will make sure that it isn't when the law will take effect, rendering it outdated before it is is implemented.

At this point minimum wage is just an excuse to pay people less than they need to live.
The result is that the people with minimum wage jobs have to take multiple jobs instead.
If you raise the minimum wage so that they only need one job it will open up more positions for currently unemployed people.
If you remove the lower limit it might be possible for some companies to hire more people that in turn will need multiple jobs.

Having a minimum wage at a position where it is almost but not enough to sustain oneself on encourages a situation that is bad for society.

Re:Behind the curve (2, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 4 months ago | (#47153205)

"If you raise the minimum wage so that they only need one job it will open up more positions for currently unemployed people."
Um the problem with that assessment is you assume it will open more job's and not kill them since now company has to pay more out per employee, which to make up difference means raising prices which in turn raises cost of living. As I said kill job's cause now people want a job in the city but will travel outside the city for lower prices cause people paid less hence problem just compounds itself and ends up killing job's in the city and people are right back to needing multiple job's.

Re:Behind the curve (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153243)

Perhap's they can get new job's selling excess apostrophe's to people in apostrophe-poor countrie's. They seem to be plentiful around here.

Re:Behind the curve (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#47153311)

Even if prices end up increasing by 10% but people's income increases by 20% then those people will be able to afford more items (and useful ones, like food and clothing)

Re:Behind the curve (2, Informative)

immaterial (1520413) | about 4 months ago | (#47153319)

Because wages are generally only a fraction of the cost of goods sold, raising wages doesn't result in anywhere near as much of an increase in prices. Raising Walmart's minimum by ~50% would result in 1.1% price increases [businessinsider.com] .

My guess would be that a large chunk of the workforce having significantly more spending money would help most companies sell *more* product, even with a minor price increase. Why doesn't Walmart just up it's wages, if it's such an obviously good idea? It still has to compete with others who probably won't follow suit. The only way to ensure a level playing field is to set a general minimum wage that applies to everyone - and set it high enough that full-time employees can actually afford the goods and services needed to survive (and maybe even participate in the economy a bit beyond that). The Walmart CEO himself asked Congress to do this in 2006.

Re:Behind the curve (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153383)

The story was later corrected... the math is off and is incredibly misleading.

Re:Behind the curve (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 4 months ago | (#47153419)

Why doesn't Walmart just up it's wages, if it's such an obviously good idea? It still has to compete with others who probably won't follow suit.

Ordinarily. But Walmart is the 900-lb gorilla. It's more like their competitors have to drop expenses to compete with Walmart.

Re:Behind the curve (2)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 4 months ago | (#47153435)

people who drop prices to compete with walmart are idiots, as if they could compete on price, better to compete on quality, service or image, which are all actually easily achievable in comparison to walmart.

Re:Behind the curve (-1)

randomErr (172078) | about 4 months ago | (#47153425)

The issue isn't Walmart its the mom and pop's. Because they don't have the revenue to invest in mechanization and automated distribution they have much more labor. A 5% increase in the minimum wage could easily be 20% increase in costs. The net affect is reduced benefits and the possibility the business closing shop. Then Kmart, Walmart Meijers, Costcos moves in. My solution is that we reduce regulation so people can start new businesses easier and we cut the fat and useless programs in Washington and at home so we don't have to be taxed so much.

Re:Behind the curve (5, Insightful)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 4 months ago | (#47153465)

What the actual fuck? In the worst case, if your company somehow has 100% of their costs being labor, a 5% increase in wages would be a 5% increase in costs. It is mathematically impossible for what you say to happen.

Re:Behind the curve (4, Insightful)

immaterial (1520413) | about 4 months ago | (#47153483)

A 5% increase in the minimum wage could easily be 20% increase in costs.

This is mathematically nonsense. Even if a business's costs come 100% from employee wages (a mythical business that pays no rent, has no equipment, no licenses, no worker training, etc.), a 5% increase in wages is... a 5% increase in costs.

That is the worst-case scenario. You are correct that small businesses don't have the level of efficiency of Walmart - payroll is probably going to be a higher fraction of total cost. The healthcare and the service industry tends to have the worst fraction, with about 50% of costs being payroll. That includes benefits, but if we ignore that for the moment and assume it's all wages, and wages get increased 5% you're still looking at a worst-case increase in costs of 2.5%.

Re:Behind the curve (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47153449)

Back in the 1990s, i was making $12-14 an hour rolling buritos for a restaurant chain. My wages changed if i went to a different store which is why there is a wage wiindow. Minimum wage went from 3.35 to around 5.25 or so. I only worked at minimum wage once and that was because it increased before i recieved raises.

Anyways, that was only possible because unemployment was low. We hired in kids with no work experience at $1-1.50 an hour above minimum wage just to get people in the door. With raises every 6 months, if you actually put some effort into the job, you could increase that in no time. Skilled people were hired in at even more.

The answer is not raising a minimum wage but lowering unemployment. That was the key to Clinton's "its the economy stupid". Anyone who wanted a job could get one and in most places, they could get one that paid somewhat better than minimum wage.

Minimum wage is not supposed yo be a living wage. It is not supposed to be a career goal. It is supposed to be a minimum for people with no work history so they can prove thenselves. It is a sad sign when our economy and people in it have resigned themselves to accepting the minimum and are relying on the state in order to better their careers. The answer is to lower unemployment. The people will go to whomever is paying the most and companies will have to pay more on their own out of profits in order to get and keep people. Prices don't jump either because they need to stay competitive with other companies.

Re:Behind the curve (0)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 months ago | (#47153495)

Because wages are generally only a fraction of the cost of goods sold, raising wages doesn't result in anywhere near as much of an increase in prices.

But raising wages across the board for all minimu wage workers in an area can raise the prices of goods and services because part of the pricing structure is "what people are willing/able to pay". Gas stations in affluent areas have higher prices. I expect dramatic price increases on food and shelter. Of course they'll blame it on Google busses.

Re:Behind the curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153473)

Or it could enable the company to sell more products, since more people can afford to buy them now.

Re:Behind the curve (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153273)

This exactly.

There are ways of finding a solution to having a sustainable living wage without the drawbacks of inflation, but that largely comes back to having jobs and living spaces be in the same building. None of this driving/transiting an hour in each direction every day.

Start with the obvious: 15$/hr, and all jobs must be hired full time, only at the discretion of the hiree can an employer reduce the hours (eg voluntary unpaid time off) an employee shall agree not to work for any other company full or part time except at hobbiest/training levels (eg I could work 38/hrs/wk at a coffee shop, but could train for a better job/position by having the hours not overlap with each other.) No unpaid internships. Any internship must be paid the prevailing wage for the position they are doing work as.

Get the employees to the places they need to be: For "office" environments, the office must supply living space for any employee that does not wish to transit/commute, or they must provide the telecommuting resources. I can't tell you how much telecommuting is useful, and how redundant office buildings are. Maybe new buildings can be constructed so that they are literately partitioned as "living space | workspace" with entire companies renting out floors so they can use the meeting spaces and network resources of those floors.

But I think the real source of the problem (the one that Seattle, Vancouver BC, NYC, and San Francisco) are all stuck with is the lack of available land because of the geography. It's not cost effective to build single-family homes, in fact very few exist anymore. The average "home" is really an illegal duplex. Single family homes are routinely replaced with 8-unit townhouse/rowhomes if not replaced with condo buildings. Nobody is building affordable housing at all.

Re:Behind the curve (2)

pla (258480) | about 4 months ago | (#47153459)

an employee shall agree not to work for any other company full or part time except at hobbiest/training levels

I can understand wanting the full time so companies don't dick you around with 10 hours here and 15 hours there, but why the hell would you want to outlaw contracting on the side?

An awfully lot of people pay the bills with their 9-to-5, but pay for their beer and toys with odd jobs on the weekend.

Re:Behind the curve (4, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#47153135)

It's indexed to inflation. The value is $15 in 2017 dollars. For the sake of making this readable, I will represent the value of $15 in 2017 as $X, and the value of $15 in the year it is earned as $Y. Thus, in 2017, X = Y. After 2017, X > Y. Before 2017, X Y. X and Y might still be hard to read but I promise this was worse before I edited it, since I kept saying "$15 in 2017 dollars" for X and "$15 in contemporary dollars" for Y :).

If you look at the graph, it only converges on $X wage for all businesses by 2025.

The 2021 figure is when the last business category ( 500 employees) hits a $Y minimum wage, and minimum $X of total compensation. Eg. in 2021 those companies can count healthcare against the $X, while only actually paying $Y. But by 2025, and they still have to be ready to pay the full $X by 2025.

Re:Behind the curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153323)

$15 per hour is barely a livable wage currently; there's no way it will be in 2021.

Please indicate on this 100-year timeline here when the minimum wage was ever a liveable

I wasn't exactly makin' it rain on my $3/hour salary back then.

so by the time this kicks in (4, Insightful)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about 4 months ago | (#47153069)

$15 will be the new $7.50

That will work fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153101)

For those in zero hours contracts...

0x15 = 0...

Re:That will work fine... (1)

Zembar (803935) | about 4 months ago | (#47153125)

Your math is off, 0x15 = 21

Not hex? What do you mean?

Re:That will work fine... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47153159)

I think A/C meant that Ox number 15 goes in circles, with a little trail following.

Oh what joy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153103)

Can't wait to see if any small businesses go under while having to complete with larger businesses!

Re:Oh what joy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153283)

I meant "compete".

Also, I was hoping the sarcastic nature of my post would show the problem of subjecting small businesses to the same higher wage larger businesses would be under. Sure, smaller businesses can raise prices, but I bet larger businesses can get by with little to no price increases. Care to guess which business type people will flock to?

Service workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153111)

Does this concern also service workers?

Even higher! (0, Troll)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 4 months ago | (#47153115)

If it works at $15 why wouldn't it work at $100?

Of course, it doesn't work at $15, or any other price. Sure, it helps those who manage to keep their jobs, but everyone else... well... http://reason.com/blog/2014/05... [reason.com]

Re:Even higher! (2, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 months ago | (#47153185)

If it works at $15 why wouldn't it work at $100?

Of course, it doesn't work at $15, or any other price. Sure, it helps those who manage to keep their jobs, but everyone else... well... http://reason.com/blog/2014/05... [reason.com]

Thank you, gullible tool, for helping us propagate the message that earning a living wage is bad for workers.
Your friends,
The One Percent

Re:Even higher! (1, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 4 months ago | (#47153213)

Pull your head outta your ass for 2 sec and understand the problem, the new pay for employee's gets pasted on to customers a lot of them are ones making that 15$ an hour which makes their wage increase less helpful, plus if company wants to minimize the increase in their prices they have 2 options, stop hiring or fire some people. doing massive pay hikes ends up doing as much or more harm then it help's and turns in nothing more the something politicians use in their coming campaign

Re:Even higher! (1, Offtopic)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 months ago | (#47153255)

School. Go back. Now!

Re:Even higher! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153329)

Speaking of heads in asses, you might want to check your ass for a spelling and grammar book.

Re:Even higher! (4, Insightful)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 4 months ago | (#47153481)

this is what makes me angry about people bitching about minimum wage increases. there are *so* many countries with much higher minimum wages that you could quite easily look at to see the result of said changes.

here's a hint, the worse off are much less so.

Re:Even higher! (4, Interesting)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#47153221)

When you're selling hot dogs at the side of the street, if you set the price at $0, you'll lose money, and if you set the price at $100000, you'll lose money, but if you set the price at $3, you might make money?

You can't reductio ad absurdum a minimum wage like that.

As a difficult-to-implement experiment, I'd love to see what actually happens (I know what people of various political stripes will predict happens; I want to see reality tried and I want to see it tried a few times in different cultures so we aren't extrapolating from a single datapoint) when you combine Mincome [wikipedia.org] that met the "living wage" criteria, with abolishing the minimum wage.

Since everybody now makes Mincome, the living wage is no longer a factor and that knocks out the key motivation behind a minimum wage. Therefore, in principle, you can hire your fast food vendors at 50 cents an hour. Provided you can find them, of course, since if they have a livable wage, they don't have "sheer desperation" as a motivator to get a low-paying job -- but so long as the entire economy doesn't collapse to the point that the mincome is unsustainable, I'd view that as a positive change, not a negative. Job experience might be a motivator, though, and anyway a living wage isn't exactly a luxury wage -- somebody who made $10 an hour might be perfectly willing to work the same job at $2 an hour to effectively push their income up and save up for that xbox or whatever. Maybe shit job wages go down, maybe they go up, maybe it depends on the industry -- there are factors pushing in both directions.

Meanwhile, the mincome wouldn't be completely irrelevant to the lives of the relatively high-paid tech workers (obviously this varies with geography), but it wouldn't be an overriding concern either. It gives a bit more power to the worker in that they can be confident that their family won't starve if they quit in outrage or if a prospective employer calls the employee's bluff in a salary negotiation.

I know the mincome concept makes a lot of people grind their teeth just on the face of it (COMMUNISM LEADS TO DEAD BABIEZ!), but among other things it's about the only practical way to realize the theory of having truly no minimum wage at all. Bluntly, even slaves cost money to keep alive -- that expense combined with the limited hours in a day generates an effective wage floor even without the law, in the absence of some other income source like a parent or spouse or independent wealth or rampant theft.

Re:Even higher! (-1, Troll)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47153231)

You can't reductio ad absurdum a minimum wage like that.

$15 is well into the realm of the absurd.

Re:Even higher! (2)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 4 months ago | (#47153499)

is it? that's about australia's minimum wage and the sun seems to be still shining over here.

Re:Even higher! (0, Flamebait)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47153381)

As a difficult-to-implement experiment, I'd love to see what actually happens

The way to implement the experiment is to abolish the minimum wage entirely, and then leave it abolished since it will achieve the natural price for labor value.

...or we could just keep throwing darts blindly and hope we dont hurt anyone else.

No serious economist supports the minimum wage. Its an ignorant idea that relies on the irrational notion that not only must all work continue to be done, that it also must continue to be done by human beings.

Still further there is the even more ignorant people that believe that not only should there be a minimum, but that it should be a "living wage" -- because all work that must be done must also be worth enough to afford a nice cozy life. Lets not consider it a problem that we already have 20something people in this country that have never had a job their entire life. Lets make sure its even worse.

Re:Even higher! (5, Insightful)

captjc (453680) | about 4 months ago | (#47153427)

Still further there is the even more ignorant people that believe that not only should there be a minimum, but that it should be a "living wage" -- because all work that must be done must also be worth enough to afford a nice cozy life.

Whoa, back the horse up. A living wage is not about a "nice cozy life". It is about not having to choose between eating and paying the rent. Believe it or not, there are some people in this country that have to make that decision. Why should anyone have to work 2-3 jobs just to survive when corporate profits are at an all time high?

Re:Even higher! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153341)

So broken the rest of the world already does it...

And they have not all exploded. Must be magic?

> If it works at $15 why wouldn't it work at $100?

You look like you have been infected with teh stupid, :hug:. GWS.

Re:Even higher! (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#47153451)

"So broken the rest of the world already does it..."

You seriously believe that? You should visit the far east, india or africa sometime and wise up.

Hello automation! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153121)

I hope everyone on Seattle loves to interact with machines rather than people. That is what you will experience at McFastFoods, Starcoffee, and any other unskilled labored job.

Unfortunately this will hit teenagers the most. Contrary to what the supports of the home cherry pick, those who earn minimum wage have the least amount of experience. In other words, young people. And while the law will make some exception for teenager salaries, with the addition of all the enhanced automation, you'll have a city with a high population of unemployed teens which causes a different set of issues.

I hope I'm wrong and this turns out to be a good thing. It's nice to see a community try something different so everyone can learn from the experience.

Re:Hello automation! (5, Funny)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 4 months ago | (#47153151)

At least the machines will get your order right.

Re:Hello automation! (3, Informative)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 4 months ago | (#47153305)

There are, suprisingly, a lot of adult fast food workers.

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2014/... [cnn.com]

Re:Hello automation! (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47153421)

There are, suprisingly, a lot of adult fast food workers.

Raising the minimum wage will only increase this effect, because when you have to pay more for an employee than you otherwise would have paid then you also expect more from the employee to make up the difference in value. Reliability and so forth, something teenagers do not offer in the general case.

Even in the so-called "unskilled" labor market, things like a track record of showing up for work, of holding a job for more than a few months, has value. Just because anybody can do the job doesnt mean that there is a queue of people ready to do the job right at this moment because the guy you scheduled to work this shift called out again, just didnt bother to show up, or is running late as usual.

Re:Hello automation! (1, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47153345)

Teenagers can do actual work like mowing lawns, etc...
I pay a local teen $20 every 2 weeks to mow my lawn, he has 30 houses he mows in the neighborhood, so he is bringing home $600 tax free every 2 weeks. Pretty damn good money for a kid.

and he is undercutting the lawn services by 50% making it easy to get clients.

Re:Hello automation! (-1, Troll)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47153445)

You might think you are saving money, but it's actually a net loss for everyone if one of the ways that kid is undercutting lawn services is by not paying taxes on that income. You are only doing society a disservice by paying someone under the table instead of hiring a legally registered firm that withholds taxes for its employees.

Re:Hello automation! (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 months ago | (#47153477)

it's actually a net loss for everyone if one of the ways that kid is undercutting lawn services is by not paying taxes on that income.

At lower income levels, the tax burden is very small. There's no way a lawn care service is remitting 50% of the money it charges, paying taxes and similar, so while there is a small loss to the local, state and federal governments, the net effect is extremely obviously POSITIVE for all involved.

Re:Hello automation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153371)

Unfortunately this will hit teenagers the most. Contrary to what the supports of the home cherry pick, those who earn minimum wage have the least amount of experience. In other words, young people.

No. [nytimes.com]

Sweden (4, Insightful)

MindPrison (864299) | about 4 months ago | (#47153149)

In Sweden we have no minimum wage. We're said to be one of the richest countries in the world, but there is a dark underground that very few speak about, and that is about all those people who work for LESS than the US call "minimum wage". It may sound like a joke to you (especially if you read the numbers), but I can assure you - it is not. When I was new to Sweden, I had to work for LESS than minimum wage as a substitute teacher in some small city. Substitute teachers have no rights, receive only what they can negotiate (which is usually very little, and we compete with foreigners and FAS3...gov. unemployed activity candidates) for the scraps.

The same thing with burger flippers, and now also train-personnel (they're currently on STRIKE in Sweden right now, for the rights to work full-time instead of being paid by the hour and shared amongst many desperate job seekers).

This seems to be the net outcome of the society we've chosen today, to let the few have 80% of our assets, and the rest just work as slaves for the 10-20% rich elite. I must stress that I am not a socialist or communist by a long shot, but there is something wrong with a society that can't pay their workers a proper wage.

Re:Sweden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153209)

Join a union.

All countries doesn't have the same system. In Sweden minimum wage is negotiated between the union and the employer. You don't have to be part of a union if you don't want to but if you want to enjoy minimum wage then that is the way to go.

It is interesting how the US have decided to go for a more socialist approach than Sweden in this case.

Or perhaps not, studies have shown that the social mobility (The scientific term for "The American Dream") happens more frequently in traditionally socialist nations.

Re:Sweden (3, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 4 months ago | (#47153235)

"I must stress that I am not a socialist or communist by a long shot, but there is something wrong with a society that can't pay their workers a proper wage."

That's the nature of capitalist society, capitalism naturally breeds inequality. Marx's analysis of capitalism still holds true.

Dealing with the effects of capital accumulation on the working class, Marx states:

"They mutilate the labourer into a fragment of a man, degrade him to the level of the appendage of a machines destroy every remnant of charm in his work and turn it into a hateful toil; they estrange him from the intellectual potentialities of the labour-process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power. ... It follows therefore in proportion as capital accumulates the lot of labourer, be his wages high or low, must grow worse. It establishes an accumulation of misery corresponding with the accumulation of capital. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, accumulation of misery, agony, toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation at the opposite pole."

Re:Sweden (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47153245)

That's the nature of capitalist society, capitalism naturally breeds inequality.

Indeed. As Orwell said, 'all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.'

Oh, hang on. Sorry, he was writing about socialism, wasn't he?

Re:Sweden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153287)

That's the nature of capitalist society, capitalism naturally breeds inequality.

Indeed. As Orwell said, 'all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.'

Oh, hang on. Sorry, he was writing about socialism, wasn't he?

Yes he was. But the outcome of either system is the same - a small group of elites exerts control over the masses - they just differ on who the small group of elites should be.

Re:Sweden (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47153361)

Yes he was. But the outcome of either system is the same - a small group of elites exerts control over the masses - they just differ on who the small group of elites should be.

Yes, exactly. Socialists whine about 'equality', then when they're in power they steal money from the poor taxpayers to pay for their Zil limos; but that's OK, because they don't actually own the Zil limos, they just use them.

Re:Sweden (5, Informative)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 4 months ago | (#47153343)

"Oh, hang on. Sorry, he was writing about socialism, wasn't he?"

Orwell, is a democratic socialist. He was criticizing stalin's russia

"... for the past ten years I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

AKA he wanted to revive the socialist movement. He stayed a socialist.

Re:Sweden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153375)

He was thinking about how those in power abuse their position.

That is not specific to socialism, or a reason for socialism to fail.

Re:Sweden (1, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47153389)

That is not specific to socialism, or a reason for socialism to fail.

Of course it is, because in socialism the 'people in power' control everything. Socialism is the control of the means of production by the State, and the State is a gang of hungry troughers who want to steal as much as they can from the productive.

This is why just about every socialist nation on the planet is on the verge of bankruptcy, and the few exceptions are primarily resource-heavy economies raking in the cash from selling crap they dig out of the ground.

Re:Sweden (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 months ago | (#47153309)

"The only universal medicine (Marxists) have for social evils - State ownership of the means of production - is not only perfectly compatible with all the disasters of the capitalist world: with exploitation, imperialism, pollution, misery, economic waste, national hatred and national oppression, but it adds to them a series of disasters of its own: inefficiency, lack of economic incentives and above all the unrestricted rule of the omnipresent bureaucracy, a concentration of power never before known in human history".
-- Leszek Kolakowski (a man who grew up much like you, as an ardent Marxist and atheist, only to get hit on the head with a cold bucket of reality from the system that you love)

Re:Sweden (1)

penix1 (722987) | about 4 months ago | (#47153249)

This seems to be the net outcome of the society we've chosen today, to let the few have 80% of our assets, and the rest just work as slaves for the 10-20% rich elite. I must stress that I am not a socialist or communist by a long shot, but there is something wrong with a society that can't pay their workers a proper wage.

The problem is who decides what is a "proper" wage? To employers, slavery is a proper wage since nothing beats free. To the employee, getting the same as the CEO is fair. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

This whole argument disregards the fact that sales will always follow what the market can bear. Raising the minimum wage causes the price of everything to go up.

On the flipside, if people aren't paid enough to afford what is being sold, how long will that business stay in business?

Re:Sweden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153447)

> To the employee, getting the same as the CEO is fair

As an employee, no it is fucking not. I should be paid in relation to the value I bring the company with a health sprinkle of what I can wrangle.

The only people who say shit like that are people who want to ram home a point. Few if any actually believe in a single pay level for all.

Re:Sweden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153267)

American in the U.S. here.

Here's what I'd do...

Negative income tax.
Minimum[(Poverty Level - Federal AGI) / 2,$5k/person]
$5k adjusted annually for inflation
For a single person earning $0/year, that'd be $5k.
For a family of six earning $20k/year, that'd be Minimum[($30k - $20k) / 2,$5k * 6] = $5k, since half of $30k - $20k is $5k.
This is in addition to the current credits and such.
I'd also have restrictions and such too, such as only 22+ year olds can claim the credit (18-21 if living away from relatives).
I'd also make it illegal for any federal or state government/agency from using the existence of the credit for adjusting benefits (welfare/SNAP).

I would have rather seen a separate wage targeting non-small businesses. I worry this may be beneficial to large businesses. Maybe: 12+ employees and gross annual revenue exceeding $1 million would have to pay perhaps $15/hour, adjusted annually for inflation.

Re:Sweden (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 months ago | (#47153313)

That's a lot like the EITC.

Re:Sweden (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47153487)

Negative income tax.

A negative income tax is only attractive when you eliminate all other forms of credits, incentives, and welfare. yes, even the graduated tax brackets should be eliminated in such a case in favor of a simple flat tax rate.

The primary reason for doing it is the acceptance that there should indeed be a safety net, and that because we are going to do it that we should do it both as efficiently and as equally as possible.

So start with something like a -$20000 tax on everyone (this is equivalent to a minimum wage of $10/hour), and then tax all income at a flat 20%. In this case someone that takes a full time (2000 hours/year) job at a measly $8 an hour ($16000/year) will still have $32000 at the end of the year after paying $3200 in taxes.

A key thing to note is that there is still incentive to work. With standard welfare its all or nothing.. if your choice is to grab $6000/year from welfare or earn $16000/year at minimum wage, the the effective wage on the labor is only $10000/year which is only $5/hour. Here is the thing.. we've got these people bitching that $8/hour isnt enough incentive to work, but support the current welfare system that lowers an $8/hour minimum wage to an effective $5/hour. Completely irrational thought processes from the left.

Re:Sweden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153303)

...there is something wrong with a society that can't pay their workers a proper wage

I'm not sure how you make this judgment. There isn't, and has never been, a society that does not or has not struggled with poverty. When you say that something is wrong, it implies a deviation from the norm. You might as well be saying "there is something wrong with a closed system where entropy alway increases" or "there is something wrong with a society in which all of its members will inevitably die."

Re:Sweden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153339)

In Sweden we have no minimum wage. We're said to be one of the richest countries in the world, but there is a dark underground that very few speak about, and that is about all those people who work for LESS than the US call "minimum wage". It may sound like a joke to you (especially if you read the numbers), but I can assure you - it is not. When I was new to Sweden, I had to work for LESS than minimum wage as a substitute teacher in some small city. Substitute teachers have no rights, receive only what they can negotiate (which is usually very little, and we compete with foreigners and FAS3...gov. unemployed activity candidates) for the scraps.

The same thing with burger flippers, and now also train-personnel (they're currently on STRIKE in Sweden right now, for the rights to work full-time instead of being paid by the hour and shared amongst many desperate job seekers).

This seems to be the net outcome of the society we've chosen today, to let the few have 80% of our assets, and the rest just work as slaves for the 10-20% rich elite. I must stress that I am not a socialist or communist by a long shot, but there is something wrong with a society that can't pay their workers a proper wage.

Do you honestly think that will change? It's not like the slave class is a new concept. Rome was built on it thousands of years ago. Dubai is built that way now.

Re:Sweden (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47153461)

In the Nordic countries, I can only assume that any working class receiving a meagre salary is insufficiently organized. When I moved to Finland to study, I initially didn't speak the language well enough to get white collar work, so I had to support myself by taking cleaning jobs. I was amazed how much money I was making compared to what I would have made in the US: though there is no legislated minimum wage, the union had succeeded in bargaining for high wages and other benefits, all of which employees in the field in question received whether they were union members or not.

Economists may disagree on the macro results, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153153)

as a small business owner, I predict these outcomes:
1. More long-term unemployed adults will apply for these jobs, pushing teens out of work. (Most businesses would rather hire an adult than a teen.)
2. Few will want to work full time at $15, because it will mean that they lose SNAP eligibility.
3. The price of burgers and lattes will go up.

Re:Economists may disagree on the macro results, b (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47153179)

The price of burgers and lattes will go up.

Nah. With interest rates at roughly 0%, this will just accelerate automation of low-skilled jobs.

Re:Economists may disagree on the macro results, b (0)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about 4 months ago | (#47153269)

"3. The price of burgers and lattes will go up."

Tell me how this is a bad thing since that stuff helps contribute to the national obesity rate? People out of work because they can't sell fattening foods to other Americans from places like McDonald's? Oh the horror, people are going to be forced to healthier food choices and actually have to work to prepare a meal to save money.

First city? (4, Informative)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 4 months ago | (#47153155)

In the first year of implementation, hourly minimum wage will be raised to either $10 or $11 according to the employer size category. By 2021, hourly minimum wage across the board should be at or above $15. Seattle is the first city to implement a living wage for its lowest earners

Santa Fe has had a living wage since 2003, presently at $10.66. San Francisco implemented a living wage shortly thereafter, presently at $10.74. I'm sure there are others at this point.

So, they haven't actually raised it (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47153171)

They've just promised that some other group of politicians will raise it years from now?

This seems to be the way so many new laws work: they're delayed until after the next election, so today's politicos can take the praise for passing the law, and the new bunch will be the ones in power when the problems become apparent.

Why stop there? (0)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 4 months ago | (#47153187)

If $15 makes sense, and they are thinking about the future, why not $20? For that matter, why not by fiat define the minimum wage to be $100/hour, and every person will automatically be rich!

Oh, you say, but $100 is ludicrous, even based on what we can foresee for 2021. No one would ever get hired!!! That is a strawman!!! But if that is true, why would $15 make sense and not $14.50, or $14.00... what seems like a living wage to a politician (or a voter, for that matter) is probably very different from a low-skill, low-education high school student (or, worse, dropout) who can't get any job at all, because no employer will take a risk on them at that wage level.

Oh, no problem, we will order employers to hire them....

I have been on both sides of the minimum wage issue, as a recipient and as an employer. Every argument for a flat one-size fits all number is flawed but, no, I don't have a better solution at this time. However, if you send money to my election campaign, I will be very thoughtful in my considerations...

Re:Why stop there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153397)

I hope that it is because someone has done the maths and worked out how much it costs to LIVE (rent at shared flat + food + bills) in Seattle and based it on that. Alas that is not the case in the UK, where the minimum wage is £6.30 (~$10) and the cost to live in the capital means it should be ~£8.50 (~$15). Given Seattle is a large city I'd suggest that $15 is (give or take) a living wage.

If you don't agree with a minimum wage - Cool. Tell us why without the fucking "WHY NOT A BAZILLION AN HOUR!" shit. Does this mean you can not afford to employ as many staff as before? Are you scared that your job will be replaced with a robot or off-shored to India?

A bit high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153199)

- Studies estimate the 2012 minimum wage should be $10.52: http://www.cepr.net/documents/... [cepr.net]
- Average inflation rate for US is 2-3%: http://www.usinflationcalculat... [usinflatio...ulator.com]
- If they set it to $11/hr now, 2015-2020 = 5 years @ 3% inflation, $11 * 1.15 = $12.65. $15/hr is a bit high.

Both of my in-laws own small businesses. True small businesses with less than 10 employees and their takehome pay combined is about the median income of the average US household. They both would have to close shop if this happened. Good luck to small business owners in Seattle.

Mega-corps in Seattle I have no doubt will find a way to abuse this.

Re:A bit high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153263)

I've never been able to figure out the rationale of adjusting minimum wage for the inflation that minimum wage causes. That's just positive feedback.

Minimum wages create unemployment (1, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#47153217)

Then you have bunch of the best doing the jobs and everyone who is not feasible to hire for that $15/hr is simply put onto government support.

Re:Minimum wages create unemployment (1)

gronofer (838299) | about 4 months ago | (#47153399)

If you make low-paid jobs illegal, the low-paid end up unemployed?

Re:Minimum wages create unemployment (2, Informative)

gronofer (838299) | about 4 months ago | (#47153401)

And then the unemployed are forced to do voluntary work as one of the requirements to receive government payments. This is the way it works in Australia. Converting low-paid work to slave labour.

Re:Minimum wages create unemployment (1)

indeterminator (1829904) | about 4 months ago | (#47153403)

From what I understood from an article in The Guardian [theguardian.com] , the low wage people already are being supported by government at the moment.

Re:Minimum wages create unemployment (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#47153441)

Then you have bunch of the best doing the jobs and everyone who is not feasible to hire for that $15/hr is simply put onto government support.

Australia has a minimum wage of about $15 right now. And the unemployment rate is less than 6%.

Inflation (0)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 4 months ago | (#47153223)

So, if all minimum wage people suddenly make 10$ more a day, rent will be raised > 200$ a month.

Wealth Inequality in America (3, Informative)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47153225)

I'll just leave this here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Wealth Inequality in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153359)

I'll just leave this here:

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] [youtube.com]

I wish you wouldn't. Pick up after yourself.

fuck&Er (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153251)

noT0rious OpenBSD

Since when is everyone guaranteed a lifestyle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153275)

$7.50 times 173 hours/month = $1298. Not much, to be sure. But enough to live on for a single. Or for a family with multiple wageearners. Keep in mind that a family would qualify for SNAP and rent support also. No car, no triple-play cable package. No latest model iPhone. That is the price of dropping out of high school.

Re:Since when is everyone guaranteed a lifestyle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153395)

Since the founding fathers made it the responsibility of government to provide for the general welfare of the United States' citizens.

I guess I can scratch Seattle off of my list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153289)

... of cities I would travel to.

If I'm going to pay $10 for McDonalds, I'll do it in Honolulu. At least there the rain stops after 10 minutes.

Minimum wage maximal break (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153297)

The lowest earners are usually those that scrape the shit off of toilets.
I wonder if appreciation for them will rise if they decide en mass to take
a break for a month or two.

Minimum wage to rise, unemployment to follow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153299)

And noone will connect the dots.

Re: Minimum wage to rise, unemployment to follow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153365)

Oh my god, you're right! Because companies no longer have any money to pay for employees! It all _has_ to go to executives and shareholders! Capitalism says so! This isn't the 50's anymore, thank god.

I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living". (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#47153317)

I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living". The quoted councilman is doing it for effect, obviously, but it's not the same thing, and it won't be.

Jobs which currently exist, and are not worth paying for under the new wage will either go away, or become "sidework". This is how "sidework" started in the food service industries in the first place, after the minimum wage bumped to the point that it was no longer profitable enough to employ full time bus boys. It's why your tables don't get bussed by someone other than the waiter/waitress at even mid scale restaurants these days, and why in the higher end restaurants with bus staff, they tend to be paid out of shared tips from the wait staff at the lower end of high end places, or make minimum wage at the higher end.

Other jobs which are nice-but-not-strictly-necessary just won't get done. This is why your typical store owner doesn't have a kid washing down the sidewalk at the start of the day, and why the parking lot at the strip mall near your house looks like the inside of a dumpster, until the minimal cleaning work by local ordinance can be carried out by a street sweeper service that hits the parking lots of the local businesses as little as legally possible to get away with.

There will be jobs going away over this for sure. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out over time; I don't expect most other cities to be following this model, and I don't expect state adoption any time soon in Washington.

Re:I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living" (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47153377)

I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living". The quoted councilman is doing it for effect, obviously, but it's not the same thing, and it won't be.

It's just standard Leftyism. First you get a 'minimum wage', because, after all, no-one could be against having a mimimum wage for those poor people in low-paid jobs, could they? Where's your compassion? Then, when that's done, they move on to 'living wage', because no-one could be against those poor people in low-paid jobs earning enough to live on, can they? Then, of course, they'll have to set a 'maximum wage', because those EVIL CEOs earn way too much, how could you be opposed to preventing them from earning so much on the back of the low-paid workers? Then, eventually, they'll set the minimum and maximum wages to the same levels because how could you be opposed to eliminating inequality by having everyone paid the same?

It's so tediously predictable to be just plain boring these days.

Re:I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153433)

As I mentioned in another post, which I won't point out, why not a separate minimum wage for larger businesses? Wasn't the whole idea that big corporations like McDonald's and Wal-Mart being able to afford to pay their employees a higher wage?

I oppose maximum wages. What are taxes for? Why not a negative income tax?

My dream would be for security. Universal health care, perhaps 2 years of college tuition free (based on state average), a negative income tax for the purpose of income security (seriously, even if we gave at most 60 million people (lowest quintile) $5k each, that'd only $300 billion; compare it to DoD budget and wars), etc. How can we be a wealthy country with even a single homeless person existing?

Re:I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153455)

Sounds great, when can we expect this to be implemented?

Re:I like how they conflate "minimum" and "living" (1)

Linzer (753270) | about 4 months ago | (#47153501)

First you get (...) Then, when that's done, they move on to (...) Then, of course, they'll have to (...) Then, eventually, they'll (...)

Thank you for a textbook example of the slippery slope fallacy [wikipedia.org] .

Just kidding, those are so common as to be plain boring these days.

As a designer of self-service kiosks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153405)

I welcome this government mandate to make my human competition less competitive and less desirable.

Eliminates all jobs earning less than 15 USD/hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153409)

> Seattle is the first city to implement a living wage for its lowest earners

This is madness.

Imagine the minimum wage is $100/hour. There's a massive number of job which simply do not produce that much wealth per hour - they cannot exist, because to offer that job to someone is to lose money. All those jobs disappear.

This occurs for ANY minimum wage. Seattle has now eliminated all jobs which generate less than 15 USD/hour (well, more than that, given all the other costs and overheads of employing someone).

This appalling final sentence - first city, living wage - cannot apply to all those who now do not *have* a job, either because their job was eliminated or never came into existance in the first place, because of the minimum wage. These people are now on benefits and when benefits run out, then what? these people are the *non* earners.

A few will benefit from this law - those who's jobs are just under 15 USD/hour and of whom their work can still support a wage of 15 USD/hour.

Minimum wage law is always wrong, unfair, unjust and causes much more suffering than benefit.

Economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153485)

Inputs to production are: labor and capital stock.

If you are a firm and your production costs have gone up, unless you want to drastically reduce profits and hurt your business, you will have to reduce costs - layoffs, hiring freezes.

An unseen cost is called the "Brain Drain" effect. Although wealth inequality sucks for the most of us, in countries where there is more wealth equality (higher taxes on the rich, higher minimum wages), high-skilled workers don't take home as much money. Thus, they know they can move to a country like America to make much more, and you see a movement of high-skill workers leaving the country (this is the brain drain).

Lastly, although a minimum wage seems like the answer (arguments being that the people in the lower income brackets have a higher marginal propensity to consume because they need to use nearly all of their money to live), it will decrease employment in the short run - and that's just not good timing for the U.S. Economy.

I would guess that it would also decrease the labor force participation rate, too.

But this will be an interesting case study.

Good luck, Seattle!

FP FA GORZ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153503)

the top. Or were, continues toChew parts. The curr3nt I see the same A super-organised
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