Science Shopping: Seattle Socialists Commission New Minimum-Wage Study After Dismissing Unfavorable Results of First One

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City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

Dan Springer  reports: When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.

The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

Sawant, a former economics professor at Seattle Central Community College who ran for office as a Socialist, accused the UW team of “ideologically editorializing.” She and Mayor Ed Murray then contacted Michael Reich, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.

Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.

As soon as Seattle politicians knew the University of Washington study found raising Seattle’s minimum wage from $11 to $13 an hour led to a 9-percent cut in hours worked and an average of $125 less earned each month, they commissioned Reich to do his own study and then criticized UW’s research.

According to emails obtained by Fox News, Reich was given a deadline by Murray. His work was to be completed just before the University of Washington team announced its results. Vigdor, the director of the study, shared with city council staffers the preliminary results of the research and provided a timeline for when it would be made public. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant Avoids Taxes

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Seattle’s socialists continue to have fascinating problems abiding by the labor laws they themselves champion

Eric Owens reports: Kshama Sawant, a socialist and a member of the Seattle, Wash. City Council, is paying no fewer than five campaign staff employees as independent contractors — thus evading the payment of payroll taxes, overtime, social security and other insurance.Marx-TV

The avowed protector of workers from the evils of capitalist exploitation has spent $12,000 paying her employees so far as she fights for reelection, according to KIRO Radio.

[Also see – Help Wanted: Cuckoo Bananas Seattle Socialist Group Pushing $20 an Hour Minimum Wage Wants to Hire Web Developer for $13 an Hour]

“Sawant has been skirting the rules by not paying into the public workers’ safety net,” Josh Feit of state political blog PubliCola explained, according to KIRO.

The socialist does not appear to have provided any benefits to her five employees beyond cash payments for services provided.

[More – Capitalist-Flesh-Eating Zombie Socialists Hail New Zombie Leader in Seattle]

By way of comparison, fellow city council member Jean Godden has spent roughly $6,000 on independent contractors. Tim Burgess has spent a little over $2,000. Mike O’Brien hasn’t spent a dime.

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Godden, Burgess and O’Brien are not socialists.

Phillip Locker, one of the Sawant’s contractors, defended his boss by saying that the practice of paying campaign employees as independent contractors is typical among American politicians.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Caller]

At the same time, Sawant’s reelection website stresses that she is not a typical politician.

More – Seattle’s Flowers of The Left: NY isn’t the only Election with a Socialist Candidate on the Ballot]

“Kshama does not take a penny in corporate cash,” her volunteer-sign-up page explains, for example. “We are building a grassroots alternative to corporate politics.”

Locker also noted that Sawant doesn’t want large corporations to pay employees exactly the same way she pays her own employees.

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“We are absolutely against that,” Locker said according to KIRO. However, he rationalized, there are “times when it is appropriate for someone to be an independent contractor.”

Back in 2010, The New York Times cited a federal study which found that up to 30 percent of employers across the United States misrepresent regular workers as independent contractors. Some 3.4 million employees are affected.

Sawant was first elected to Seattle’s municipal legislature in 2013. Before that, she taught economics at a local community college.

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The socialist council member proudly takes credit for the fact that Seattle’s nine-member city council passed an ordinance raising the local minimum wage to $11 as of this April. The law will raise the city’s minimum wage annually in one dollar increments to $15 each hour for all businesses by 2019.

More – Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum Wage]

A $15-per-hour minimum wage translates to an annual salary of about $30,000 for full-time employees.

Seattle’s socialists continue to have fascinating problems abiding by the labor laws they themselves champion. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Hot Sauce With That?’ Seattle Cop Pepper-Sprays Bystander, Invites Lawsuit

SEATTLE — A Seattle school teacher is suing the city after being pepper-sprayed by a police officer as he walked by a police line during protests on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 19.

“It was an irrational action, and that’s why we’re here.” 

— Hagopian’s lawyer

The incident in the South Lake Union area was caught on camera. Police were blocking streets with their bicycles and shouting for protesters to get back.

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That’s when Jesse Hagopian says he was hit in the face with pepper spray as he was talking on the phone to his mother and walking by the police line.

“I yelled out, my mom was in distress as she heard me yell and couldn’t see me,” Hagopian said at a news conference Wednesday to announce his lawsuit against the city.

Hagopian’s lawyer, James Bible, said, “It was an irrational action, and that’s why we’re here.” He is suing the city of Seattle for $500,000 in damages. Read the rest of this entry »


Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum Wage

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

For Reason.com writes: Our labor participation rate is terrible and our economy shrank by 1 percent in the first quarter of the year. So it’s the perfect time to raise the minimum wage to a degree unseen in America before, right?

That’s what Seattle has done. Yesterday the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 over the next seven years. Labor activists are actually considering forcing a public vote to speed up the process so that it hits the new minimum in three years. The city recently elected its first Socialist council member, Kshama Sawant, so perhaps the move shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The City Council dulled the edge of the new minimum a bit by allowing for a lower training wage for teenagers and disabled workers. This prompted outrage from Sawant and labor supporters, who I guess want to drive teens and the disabled out of the job market entirely.

[Also see: Capitalist-Flesh-Eating Zombie Socialists Hail New Zombie Leader in Seattle]

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

[More: Unexpected’: Are Seattle businesses adding a surcharge to pay for the new minimum wage?]

Franchise owners are planning a lawsuit because the law counts them as big businesses and only gives them three years to phase in the increase. From The Seattle Times:

Local franchisee David Jones, who owns two Subway stores in Seattle, puts his cost of a $15 minimum at $125,000 annually. He pays the stores’ 18 employees $10.50 an hour, on average; he figures he’ll have to raise sandwich prices by a dollar or more to maintain profits… Read the rest of this entry »


Big Socialism Lands $15 An Hour Minimum Wage in Seatac, Washington

thelma and louise Big Labor wins court battle in Washington State, and now employers in SeaTac, Washington wil have to pay transportation and  hotel workers $15 an hour.

The minimum wage was  $9.32, but with the new ruling, employers will look to cut jobs, and some are even saying that they will close up shop, because they won’t be able to pay the 60 percent increase in worker pay.

Backers of the $15 minimum wage vow to appeal the ruling up the state Supreme Court. One of the biggest supporters is Kshama Sawant, a socialist who also won her election to the Seattle City Council. She plans on making Seattle the next city to have a $15 minimum wage.

Read the rest of this entry »


Capitalist-Flesh-Eating Zombie Socialists Hail New Zombie Leader in Seattle

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

Newly elected Sawant sings from the old socialist playbook: Capitalism “is a dirty word.” 

Note: I support this trend–truth in labeling. As many as one third, to one half of contemporary liberal democrats are closet socialists. They’d like to be able to say it, but they can’t. With Sawant’s help, hopefully more will come out of the closet, and fly their flag, as honestly as she does.

Andrew Johnson writes: At last week’s Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting in Washington, D.C., President Obama quipped about the repeated charge that he’s a socialist. “But, no, you’ve got to meet real socialists,” he said. “You’ll have a sense of what a socialist is.” For those who are interested, meet newly elected Seattle Council member Kshama Sawant.

Running as a Socialist Alternative candidate, Sawant turned some heads in mid November by defeating longtime Democratic incumbent Richard Conlin for a seat on the city council. Running on issues such as a $15-per-hour minimum wage, she became the first socialist to win a citywide election in Seattle in nearly a century, thanks to the backing of Occupy Seattle (of which she is an organizer) and local unions. It’s been little more than a week since she claimed victory, but Sawant’s brazen promotion of socialist values is winning her praise and supporters in the progressive movement.

Sawant sees no need to hedge her views as “leaning” toward socialism or as sharing its perspective “on some of the issues.” In fact, even the Democratic-party establishment that has, in her words, “controlled” the Emerald City’s politics for years, is not exempt from her criticism. In a statement following Conlin’s concession on November 15, she thanked him for his public service before taking a piercing jab to say her election proves “a majority of voters are fed up with the corporate politicians.” In 2012, she challenged the Washington state-house speaker, a Democrat, and she managed to garner one-third of the vote. Regarding President Obama, she told Salon that he believes in capitalism and that there is “no basis in reality” to suggest he believes otherwise. The Stranger, a local alt-weekly that endorsed Sawant, credited her “brash style” and “refreshingly blunt rhetoric” with helping propel her to victory.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Elects Socialist To City Council

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See “Seattle’s Flowers of The Left”


Seattle’s Flowers of The Left: NY isn’t the only Election with a Socialist Candidate on the Ballot

Funny How Everything’s Gone Left 

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Sawant is running for Seattle City Council under the socialist Alternative banner

Says the Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat, who — captivated by some pretty gosh-darn amazing insights in Peter Beinart‘s Daily Beast essay, The Rise of the New, New, Super-New-and-Much-Better-This-Time-We-Promise-Left— suggests that while the Reagan-Clinton generation might look favorably on the pro-business centrism and robust entrepreneurialism of that era, the younger millennials are rejecting it.

Having been burned by financial collapse of the Bush era, and weak economic malaise of the Obama era, millennials distrust business, profits, and corporations.

Millennials, the former New Republic editor says, are increasingly comfortable supporting candidates who proudly campaign under the banner of socialism.

Yes. Really.

By “Everything’s Gone Left, what Westneat means, is that already pretty far-Left-wing political micro-cultures in two places, New York, and Seattle, have Gone.. Left. Well, gone further left. (Sorry to have to translate, but it’s necessary to explain to outsiders: inside the media bubble, these two geographic locations are synonymous with “Everything”)

A fair question might be: are we so sure pro-socialist millennials in New York, and Seattle, are really leading… anyone…anywhere?

The generation right behind the millennials are already questioning the millennials’ suspicious embrace of the welfare state, the youth-punishing costs of Obamacare, and the lurid spectacle of pro-government excess. As a casual dip into Twitter or Tumblr, or Facebook‘s college-campus-generation’s anti-Left pushback  will reveal, they’re not cool with it, and they’re outspoken about it.

As I wrote in in my introduction to Michelle Goldberg‘s essay, “2008 Crash Prompts Young Intellectuals to Revisit Marxism”

“The same financial crash prompted young intellectuals to revisit Ayn Rand, too, judging from the surge in sales of Atlas Shrugged…is but one example of the resurgence in philosophical questioning and renewed examination of historic texts that inevitably follows economic disasters. I think this is natural…”

[See also:  The Left is Trying to Rehabilitate Karl Marx. Let’s Remind Them of The Millions Who Died in His Name]

Westneat tells readers that Seattle, like New York, is right there on the leading edge of this Rise of New Leftism. The more activist, wage-control-advocating, socialism-embracing new-Left phenomenon is flourishing. Like a pretty flower.

To be fair, Westneat isn’t promoting the trend. He’s not without skepticism. He’s just reporting on it. And since he just donated a copy of  Emily Gets Her Gun But Obama Wants to Take Yours, to the Seattle Public Library, in honor of the city’s recent policy change regarding the legal carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens in library facilities, I admire his civic priorities. I’ll give anything he writes a fair reading.

Also, I could be wrong, and Westneat is right, about this trend.

So, step aside New York. You’re not the only knuckle-dragging throwback to romanticism of Pol Pot, the radical hipness of the Sandinistas, and the historic grandeur of Marxist solutions. Seattle is now a “leading indicator”!

Here’s the Seattle Times‘ Westneat, explaining the good news:

The election isn’t for 10 days, but we can already declare the big winner in Seattle.

It’s the socialist.

Out in left field? Seattle politics may seem that way, but it’s really the leading edge.

Read the rest of this entry »