Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank recently wrote about a community in Washington State that raised the minimum wage. Many a local business wailed and thrashed and said the sky was falling. Pleading for community leaders not to raise wages. It was going to be the end for that community.
“In July 2013, hotelier Scott Ostrander stood before the city council in SeaTac, Wash., pleading with the town not to adopt a $15 minimum wage.
“I am shaking here tonight because I am going to be forced to lay people off,” he said, according to an account in the Washington State Wire. “I’m going to take away their livelihood. That hurts. It really, really hurts. . . . And what I am going to have to do on Jan. 1 is to eliminate jobs, reduce hours — and as soon as hours are reduced, benefits are reduced.”
SeaTac, a community around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, went ahead with its plan, becoming, on Jan. 1, the first jurisdiction in the nation to set a $15 minimum wage, according to the labor movement. And Ostrander’s hotel, the Cedarbrook Lodge? It went ahead with a $16 million expansion that adds 63 rooms, a spa — and jobs.”
And an official with the Service Employees International Union was quoted in the column, “SeaTac is proving trickle-down economics wrong,” says David Rolf, the Service Employees International Union official who helped lead the $15 effort in SeaTac and Seattle, “because when workers prosper, so do communities and businesses.”
Those who opposed the $15 wage in SeaTac and Seattle admit there has been no calamity so far. Paul Guppy, vice president for research at the free-market Washington Policy Center, said SeaTac is a “boutique” case because of its size. Airport workers have been left out for now because of a lawsuit, and union workplaces are exempt, so only about 1,600 got raises.”
Milbank continues in his column with more doom and gloom from those who speak the Republican line about raising the wage and how it hurts business.
“In Seattle last week, I (Milbank) stopped in at the jammed Palace Kitchen, flagship of Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, who runs upward of 15 establishments. He warned in April that the $15 wage could “be the most serious threat to our ability to compete,” and he predicted that “we would lose maybe a quarter of the restaurants in town.” Yet Douglas has opened, or announced, five new restaurants this year.
Likewise, the International Franchise Association has sued to block implementation of the law, arguing that nobody “in their right mind” would become a franchisee in Seattle. Yet Togo’s sandwiches, a franchise chain, is expanding into Seattle, saying the $15 wage isn’t a deterrent.
So maybe the GOP needs to rethink this theory and actually look at how raising employees’ wages benefits everyone, just not the 1%’ers. However, as local Democrats may have noticed, Democrat candidates ask for financial support from locals, requesting maybe $5 or $10 donations. Are Republicans afraid that the small change the minimum wage will give employees might find its way to Democratic candidates?
Many a President has used a term coined by President Harry S. Truman, “The buck stops here.”
That statement is surely true of all Republicans. Because once the money is in their hands, they surely do not want to share it with those who are also looking to achieve the American dream.