Friday, April 25, 2014

The Minimum for the Maxium

The battle for Seattle has taken on a new theme - the Minimum wage. 

The recent special election for additional car and sales taxes to support public transit failed.  Not surprising, here in this liberal bastion, we have a regressive taxing system that does nothing to fund anything public in a rational and equitable manner.  All parks, schools and of course public buildings, aka "stadiums"  and public housing are funded by voters who elect to pass levy's in which to do so.

This is a great site that explains the bizarre levy funding process that we enter each election cycle and it is always tied to property taxes.  We have no income tax so we have no way to generate added funds unless we assign a "special" tax which of course burdens most of it on home and land owners.  And people wonder why I have no car or own a home here.  

As for our sales tax it is one of the highest in the nation and had that special tax passed it would have put us at 10%.   And on that note I buy little here either.   If I need something like towels and sheets I shop online and look for the best deal, no tax, free shipping and of course costs.  Sometimes you can offset the cost by adding the taxes and buy something better in the long run.  So until that changes federally, I plan on keeping as little money out of the hands of Seattle and the State of Washington.  I have no love lost here in this state.

And it does not surprise me that despite our "election" of a Socialist to the City Council that the minimum wage plan is falling flatter than a pancake from a high rise. This is a city of young, mostly transplants and confused people who move here in search of "tech" money or the fallout from it.

I had a fabulous conversation with a gentleman - not an idiot - who moved here from Texas - land of the idiots. We agreed that much of the same problems that exist here do anywhere.  The immense urbanization and in turn gentrification of cities to attract the "new money" and since that is mostly young, who have little idea of managing money and their indentured servitude to debt in the form of a college diploma, they are looking to live and work in cities to burn their youth off, pay off the debt, then marry and immediately go back to the suburbs to procreate.  Anyone who thinks you don't repeat the sins of the parents, needs to read some books. Oh wait that would require reading.

The only thing we did disagree on was the idea of stupid vs ignorant.  They are ultimately the same thing I am afraid and in turn arrogance is the mark of both - a deadly combination.  And they don't vote. So while they professed support of public transport and the "greenness" of it, they also have no voter's card in which to make their voices heard.  They talk a lot but they do little the millennial when it comes to the interests of others.  But as opposed to their grandparents, the greatest generation - they are at least not voting against their own interests.  So some things do change.

The minimum wage rise will go the way of the bus tax - in the toilet.  And given our streets and the sad cases that live here, that is what they have also become. 

How to Kill the Minimum Wage Movement

Timothy Egan
April 24, 2014


A surprising debate in Seattle: "is $15 an hour too much, too soon?"
 On a visit to the capital a few weeks ago, I was struck by how politically inert the place was. Not just empty, lifeless, devoid of activity in the chambers where great politicians once roamed. Not just a do-nothing Congress living up to its pledge to do even less this year than last. Not just the usual government-by-corporate lobbyists. At the moment, Washington is a dead town.
 
Not true of the other Washington, across the country. Seattle officials are trying to decide whether an entire city can raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour without killing a robust economy, the social service agencies, and the numerous immigrant and family businesses that pump new blood into old places.
 
All the evidence shows that, yes, they can — but only if they do it right, and do it gradually over many years. If they rush into it, as the zealots favor, they could hurt the burgeoning raise-the-minimum-wage movement around the country and deprive Democrats of a great voter stimulant for the midterm elections.
 
Government by sloganeering rarely works. Think: No New Taxes. Every elected Republican would sooner push Grandma over a cliff than break that vow. Yet, a minor tax increase on the rich last year is one big reason the federal budget gap now is far lower than the experts predicted. The deficit for March was the lowest since 2000.
 
Now think: 15 Now. That’s the slogan of a group of far-left activists who are pushing Seattle to force a 61 percent wage increase — yes, that’s the kind of shock to the system it would be — on everyone next year but a select group of small businesses and nonprofits.
 
If Seattle’s publicly owned electric utility suddenly announced a 61 percent rate increase on every household, people would be marching in the streets. In recent months, a host of restaurateurs, servers, nonprofit groups — self-professed progressives all — have come out against the rush into a blanket $15 wage. In a state that already has the nation’s highest minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour, these people favor giving the lowest workers a raise, just not the blunt application of the $15 figure.
 
Immigrants would be the first to lose their jobs under such a mandate, and many family restaurants would be forced to close, Asian and Latino business owners wrote in a recent letter to Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle. “As small business owners within the immigrant community, we act as job, language and social training centers for many new immigrants,” the group’s letter stated. “We forgo our own pay to make payroll.” One consequence of a $15 mandate could be the relocation of entire immigrant communities to neighboring cities.
 
Without question, bottom-wage workers are long overdue for a raise. A majority of the country feels that way, poll after poll shows. In the 15 months since President Obama called for an increase of the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, seven states and the District of Columbia have bumped their minimum, and another eight states are likely to have ballot measures on the question.
 
Seattle is a prosperous city, with the right environment for new companies and new ideas. But there is a big undercurrent of anger from those who aren’t part of the ride. Boeing just forced its machinists to downsize their pensions, even as the company posted eye-popping profits. Walmart, with its stores at the city’s edge, makes the rest of us subsidize their low-wage workers, through food stamps and the like. Nationwide, the average Walmart worker makes $8.81 an hour, according to one independent analysis. That’s an insult.
 
You can raise the minimum wage gradually — as Washington has long done, as has San Francisco, with its current $10.74 an hour, highest among the nation’s big cities — without a lot of collateral damage. Studies of nine cities and 21 states that upped their minimum over the last decade found almost no effect on employment. Businesses had less turnover and higher worker productivity, while restaurant prices went up only 2 to 3 percent.
 
But a $15 wage base is new territory. The Seattle mayor’s advisory committee is still trying to reach a consensus. The issue will go before the City Council, or to voters in the fall.
 
It sounds mushy, and never pleases shrill voices on the left or the right, but compromise is the essence of democratic rule. When some of the very workers who are supposed to benefit most by a $15 minimum wage — restaurant servers — or the nonprofits that espouse social justice call for a go-slow approach, it tells you that something more than bumper-sticker simplicity is needed.

Seattle wants to be a model for the rest of the nation. It can be. Or the city could end up a cautionary tale, used in scare ads by the forces of regression.


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