For Reason.com, Scott Shackford 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.
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 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.
Funny How Everything’s Gone Left
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.
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…”
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”!
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.