Seattle Minimum Wage Law Is How Some Businesses Try to Destroy Other Businesses

Fifteen dollars an hour is a painful increase in expense for small businesses. Seattle politicians had made a promise that they found voters would not permit them to forget. So now they are stuck with it.

Some are suing in order to get some relief.

Fox News reports,

“I guarantee not everyone will survive,” warned David Jones, who owns a Subway franchise in Seattle. “This discriminatory law will affect some franchisees and they will go out of business.” 

The International Franchise Association, representing those concerns, has sued over the wage hike, specifically objecting to the fact the ordinance treats franchises as big businesses and requires them to pay the $15 hourly wage four years earlier than their mom-and-pop competitors.

“This is dividing small business owners,” IFA President and CEO Steve Caldiera said. “It’s the government picking winners and losers, and it’s unfair.”

Of course it is unfair. Government intervention in the economy can never be anything but unfair. The government took a situation in which workers agreed to work for a certain amount and employers agreed to pay a certain amount for the work. They interfered and said that one group should have the power to either get paid more or force their employer out of business.

Undoubtedly, many will go out of business, leaving the people with no income at all.

Chuck Stempler, who has 69 employees at his Alpha Graphics print shop in Seattle, worries his customers will be able to easily go outside the city for better pricing. And most of his competitors are on the small side like him.

“We just want to be treated equally relative to our size,” said Stempler. “I’m not a 500-person company.”

I appreciate Stempler’s point, but I’m not sure why he is suing when he is going to probably go out of business anyway. I guess it is human nature to try to slow down one’s inevitable destruction. If they can win the same privileges that the independent stores get, then they can perhaps survive until the law is changed.

But the non-franchise businesses also have a strategy. They resent the franchise owners and want to steal their business.

To the elected leaders in the Emerald City, size doesn’t matter. Newly elected socialist council member Kshama Sawant argued at one public hearing that, “In order to be a franchisee, you have to be very, very wealthy.”

Democratic Mayor Ed Murray views the accelerated wage increases as a way to level an unfair playing field which is dominated by locally owned franchises.

“They are part of a larger, national corporate monopoly that is very, very different than individual business owners,” Murray said.

A monopoly? I don’t think that word means what Murray thinks it means. Franchises are not monopolies.

But think about it. If the minimum wage goes up to fifteen dollars an hour while independent businesses get four extra years, then it is likely that most of the franchises will be going out of business before the minimum wage hits the rest of the stores. So those restaurants, shops, and services will suddenly have fewer competitors. They will have new potential customers. They might even be able to survive with the new mandatory higher wage rate because they have more business.

So this entire minimum wage law scam was a way for some businesses to steal from other businesses.