Democrat state Rep. Steve Hobbs, who has been targetted by labor union bosses in the past, is seemingly trying to shore up far-left support by proposing raising the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour. Hobbs is attempting to push his bill by claiming it “offers a better alternative than a statewide ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage even higher.”
A labor boss front group called Raise Up Washington filed the statewide ballot initiative in question. The initiative would raise the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 over four years. If the group succeeds in collecting the required amount of signatures, the initiative will appear on the fall ballot.
During a legislative hearing on the bill, Jan Gee–a representative of independent grocery store owners–perfectly described the ironic “Hobson’s Choice” presented by Hobbs. “At a recent board meeting and legislative visits it was described as ‘Do I want to get shot in the arm and get maimed?’ or ‘Do I want a shot direct to the heart?’” she said. “6087 is maiming off the arm of our grocers.”
Democrats appear intent on making what the Economist called a “reckless wager” in reference to setting an arbitrarily high minimum wage. The Economist,
“By moving towards sharply higher minimum wages, policymakers are accelerating into a fog. Little is known about the long-run effects of modest minimum wages… And nobody knows what big rises will do, at any time horizon. It is reckless to assume that because low minimum wages have seemed harmless, much larger ones must be, too.
“One danger is that a high minimum wage will push some workers out of the labour force for good. A building worker who loses his job in a recession can expect to find a new one when the economy picks up. A cashier with few skills who, following the introduction of a high minimum wage, becomes permanently more expensive than a self-service checkout machine will have no such luck… That is why Milton Friedman described minimum wages as a form of discrimination against the low-skilled…
“What is more, a minimum wage is not free. Someone must pay. The common refrain that companies will shoulder the burden is the product of hope rather than evidence. If the cost is passed on to consumers, the minimum wage turns into a subsidy funded by a sales tax—a revenue-raiser that, again, falls heavily on the poor.”
It’s unfortunate that liberals appear all too ready and willing to rush into taking the “reckless wager.” But, if that what makes their special interest campaign donors happy, then evidently someone has to do it.
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