Now Conservatives Want to Wait and See on the $15 Minimum Wage

yeswereopenOver at the Big Picture Blog, our friend Invictus highlights the problem with conservatives on Seattle’s minimum wage hike: now that the sky has not fallen, now that business license applications for restaurants in Seattle continue to climb, critics of the increase are kicking the can down the road.

One such critic told Invictus on Twitter that everyone should “reserve judgement on the health of the industry when it hits 15” and that “at 11 [dollars an hour] places haven’t closed ..let’s see what another 4 dollars will do ..that’s all I’m saying …” The same people who wrote celebratory posts praising a (debunked) story about Seattle-area restaurant closures are now claiming to defer judgment until 2021, when every employer in Seattle will be required to pay $15 an hour. It’s a disingenuous ploy, in part because these same critics were eager to praise and spread a (debunked) story citing instantaneous closures.

If the question you’re asking is something along the lines of “has this minimum-wage increase helped a large number of low-wage workers make more money with a minimum impact on small business owners?,” then the answer is yes. It’s impossible to point to a rash of business closures because those closures don’t exist. New businesses are on the rise. Seattle’s unemployment is way down. It’s impossible to argue that the minimum wage increase has hurt Seattle’s economy, so critics are now trying to table the issue. Looks like a success story to me.



Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.