If you remember, it wasn’t too long ago that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was trying to soften the blow of Seattle’s promised $15 per hour minimum wage law. But having tantalized the people who voted radicals into the city government, there was no way the system would permit him or anyone else to ameliorate the damage. The proposed minimum wage is now law.
Naturally, the Mayor is now boasting about this new law. But his boasting contains a revelation of what he hopes for: a bailout of his policy.
From the Daily Signal:
A week ago, Seattle made history when it bumped its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and yesterday Mayor Ed Murray defended the city’s move, trumpeting it as a “model for the nation.”
Murray argued that the minimum wage hike is key to Washington State’s recovery.
“If we want to regain our economic strength and be competitive in the nation,” the mayor told ABC News’ Neal Karlinsky, “the minimum wage is going to have to rise.”
Murray described the increase as an attempt to bolster the middle class and once again kick start “a vibrant economy.”
A longstanding proponent of the living wage, Murray rode public support for the measure into office during the 2013 mayoral election. Now, the newly elected mayor views Seattle as a national example, “a laboratory for democracy.”
I would love it if everyone would treat Seattle as a laboratory for democracy, but lab experiments require objective reporting on results. While I’m sure the city is about to crash hard, I doubt the media will be willing to remind us of these bold statements and compare them with the results. They will shift our attention to other things.
But notice how the Mayor is now expressing the wish that the nation or at least the state of Washington adopts the $15 an hour minimum wage. This is a wish for essentially a national or state-wide bailout of his city.
Right now, unless something changes, we are going to see businesses shrivel and die in Seattle while they spring up and prosper in the surrounding towns. The residents of the area will have no doubt that the minimum wage is killing the city’s economic growth.
Unless the law is rescinded there is only one way to hide the damage: the minimum wage has to be raised in the state and preferably in the whole nation. That way, while there will be more damage to the economy, that damage won’t be concentrated in Seattle. If the surrounding townships have the same minimum wage law imposed on them, then Seattle won’t stand out as a pit of economic decline.
If the mayor really thought his town was a laboratory, he wouldn’t be claiming we should follow his lead until after we had some results to look at.