Tere is a twist in how a segment of Seattle workers are responding to the city's new $15 minimum wage: they are asking to work fewer hours. They don't want to earn enough to cut into their public assistance. Fox News has reported:
Seattle's $15 minimum wage law is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and move them off public assistance. But there may be a hitch in the plan.
Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.
Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.
“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.
The minimum wage turns out to be a lose-lose for all too many people and businesses.
While the state has seen almost no reduction in its welfare rolls since the hike occurred in April, businesses are charging higher prices. Some Seattle restaurants have added a 15 percent surcharge, and some restaurants discourage tipping. This has lead to a form of redistribution:
Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut.
But the servers in these restaurants are the lucky ones: a number of established Seattle restaurants have closed their doors. Restaurants aren't the only affected businesses:
Comix Experience, a small book store in downtown San Francisco, has begun selling graphic novel club subscriptions in order to meet payroll. The owner, Brian Hibbs, admits members are not getting all that much for their $25 per month dues, but their “donation” is keeping him in business.
“I was looking at potentially having to close the store down and then how would I make my living?” Hibbs asked.
How indeed? But are Democratic politicians rethinking mandatory minimum wage hikes in the light of real experience? Not a bit of it.
A hike in the minimum wage remains a popular talking point for Democratic politicians, including presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, and other government localities are considering hiking their minimum wage. The already horrendously expensive city of New York could be next.