My new research update considers more discouraging news from Seattle in the context of editorial boards at the Greensboro News & Record and The News & Observer having opined strongly this week for raising this state’s minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage.
Put simply, I can’t imagine the editors truly wanting Seattle’s outcomes for poor North Carolinians here. Seattle, which hasn’t completed its incremental hiking of its minimum wage, is seeing the following results:
- fewer jobs available to low-wage workers
- fewer hours in the (remaining) low-wage jobs, more than offsetting (by a factor of three!) the wage increases
- lesser total pay in the (remaining) low-wage jobs as a result — an average loss of $125 per week ($1,500 per year)
For this reason my update says that hiking the minimum wage breaks the first rule of policies to help the poor, which is:
Policies put forth to help the poor should actually work to help the poor.
Seattle’s higher minimum wages are also making it harder for the poor to access low-cost meals. Seattle’s minimum-wage hikes have made labor costs too expensive for a Subway franchise to afford to do the “five-dollar footlong” promotion.
I doubt the editors want to be caught singing “Few. Fewer dollars. Fewer dollars month-long” at the poorest, least skilled, and least employable North Carolinians, but their advocacy of hiking the minimum wage is essentially doing just that.