By Matt Rooney
Everyone in Trenton is talking pot today, Save Jerseyans, except the guy who matters most.
Governor Phil Murphy is off-script pushing a long-promised minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. We don’t need to guess where this is all going. How is this idea working out in Seattle, Washington? Where a gradual increase to $16/hr began in 2014?
This is from CNN Business (October 2018):
“The study, conducted by economists at the University of Washington using state unemployment insurance data, found that the increase added about $10 per week on average to the earnings of low-income workers through 2016, even while reducing weekly hours slightly. But more experienced workers made $19 more per week, the research found, partly by making up for lost hours in Seattle at second jobs worked outside city limits.
In addition, employee turnover decreased, which the authors believe suggests that employers tried harder to retain their most productive staff members as wages went up. That’s a plus for existing workers, but potentially an obstacle for inexperienced or new workers trying to get that first line on their resume.
Indeed, the study showed that fewer new workers entered Seattle’s low-wage labor market compared to the rest of Washington. “Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance appears to have delivered higher pay to experienced workers at the cost of reduced opportunity for the inexperienced,” the study’s authors wrote.”
Did you get all of that?
Less hours. Making up hours by working a second job. And higher hurdles for the less inexperienced workers.
As we’ve discussed more times than I can count here at Save Jersey, the minimum wage is NOT a family wage. Most folks who earn the minimum wage are (1) young and in school, (2) secondary income earners for their respective households, and/or (3) move on quickly to a lateral or vertical promotion. Trainees in a new industry. College kids buying text books. Retired persons trying to supplement their social security checks. A mom working that seasonal job around Christmas to afford presents.
When you raise the minimum wage? Like they did in Seattle?
You don’t held more people climb the ladder; you cut off the bottom few rungs, helping some of those who are already halfway up but preventing new entries or reentries into the labor market (many of whom are among our economy’s most vulnerable participants) from getting that critical first position.
How many times does this pandering, logically-bankrupt idea need to hurt working people before the voters wise up and say enough? Is suppose we need voters with longer memories.
Minimum wage = minimum prosperity. Every. Damn. Time.