Last week, SHIFT pointed out the close to unbelievable hypocrisy recently exhibited by the Freedom Socialist Party—a national party with offices in Seattle. Though its platform calls for a $20 per hour minimum wage, the socialist party advertised a job opening that pays $13 per hour for a web content manager in Seattle… where it worked to pass a $15 minimum wage.
The inevitable backlash of the on-display hypocrisy prompted the Freedom Socialist Party’s national secretary, Doug Barnes, to respond. Barnes told The Huffington Post that his party “relies heavily on donations from low-wage workers and could not afford to pay much to an inexperienced designer.”
Barnes goes on to reason that if the minimum wage was raised to $20 per hour—though he actually prefers $22 in Seattle—then his party’s donor base “would all be affected, and the low-wage workers who support us with $5 to $6 a month would be able to give more… That would affect our ability to pay higher wages as well.”
Oh, socialists. Where to even begin?
Let’s start with the can’t-afford-to-pay-that-much excuse. It’s a simple enough, perfectly valid excuse to employ. But, it’s an excuse that Seattle socialists have officially disqualified themselves from using. When small businesses, restaurants and independently owned franchises in Seattle expressed fear that they would be forced to close their doors due to a $15 minimum wage, socialists in Seattle dismissed their concerns. Worse, $15 minimum wage activists mocked and harassed small businesses who attempted to fight back. Essentially, small business were told to pay-up or close shop. We suggest the Freedom Socialist Party follow the same advice.
Next, Barnes believes that his party will be able to pay more if the minimum wage increased to $20 per hour, $22 in Seattle. Sadly clueless of basic economics, Barnes’ short-sighted reasoning [maybe] would be plausible if it wasn’t also true that…
- According to a University of Washington economist, rent in Seattle will increase as a direct result of the wage increase.
- According to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, more than half of Seattle businesses will cut new positions and cut or end benefits due to the $15 minimum wage.
We wonder if Barnes can expect more money from donors who (a) have to pay more on rent, (b) have a longer, pricier commute because rent hikes forced them to move out of the city, (c) were fired from their jobs/had hours cut or (d) lost their benefits and now have to pay more for individual plans on Obamacare. Did we mention the 64% rate jump for the cheapest Obamacare plan in Seattle?