Minimum wage debaters, check this out

Print Article

You canít take the University of Washington study and deposit it in the bank, exactly, but advocates of big minimum wage increases should at least consider its warnings.

Last week, UW released a study based in Seattle that paints a dire picture about possible consequences of dramatic minimum-wage hikes. In 2014, Seattle voted in an increase to $15 an hour minimum, to be phased in over several years. The increases are based on size of business and a few other factors, but many businesses went to a $13 an hour minimum wage in January 2016.

The result? Higher wages but fewer hours for many of the low-wage earners.

In other words, smaller paychecks for many of the people deemed most in need of extra earnings. When the minimum wage went up from $11 to $13 an hour, the study concluded, wages rose about 3 percent but hours for those workers dropped about 9 percent. Thatís a net loss to the employee.

As with many studies that donít provide the answers some partisans are hoping for, the UW study was quickly criticized. It hasnít been peer reviewed yet, and some skeptics question the researchersí methodology. What critics and advocates might agree upon is that an economic study taking place in the midst of a veritable boom could be at least somewhat skewed. To attract or keep talent, itís typical for employers in hot economies to pay more for certain jobs and in essence replace some of the lower-paying positions in the process. Some of that might be in play in Seattle, leading observers to wonder, What happens in a more moderate or even a weak economy?

The nation is waiting to study longer-term results of significant minimum wage increases in cities and states. Less skilled employees earning higher wages will no doubt help improve the poverty rate, and common sense dictates that increased expendable income should translate into more money flowing into businesses and communities. On the other hand, those higher wages must come from somewhere. How might a tighter bottom line impact owners and stock holders? At what point does management increase prices to help fill the wage gap? How would that action affect the long-term prospects of the business?

And as the UW study hints, what happens if the people youíre trying hardest to help get hurt the most?

Print Article

Read More Editorial

We can fret and complain, or we can Ö

February 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Thereís so much wrong in the world, sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, exhale, and focus on matters we can influence, if not control. Are you going to change peopleís mind about abortion ...

Comments

Read More

After the party, then what?

February 18, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Junior is graduating preschool. Party! Missy is graduating kindergarten. Party! Ralphy is graduating fifth grade. Party! Cody is graduating middle school. Party! Caprice is graduating high sc...

Comments

Read More

Itís elementary: CdíA schools solve problem

February 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press A., break a campaign promise or B., fail to uphold your fiduciary responsibilities. For Coeur díAlene School District officials, it was going to be one or the other in deciding where to build a new ...

Comments

Read More

Awakened by the Ďeí wordís warning

February 14, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Innocent until proven guilty. Letís say that again: Innocent until proven guilty. For the record, the executive director of a local nonprofit that uses taxpayer funds, North Idaho Housing Coalition...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X