Study Finds Higher Minimum Wage Does Not Destroy Economy, Wingnuts Gon' Be SO Mad

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Greedy worker

Oh hey, a $15 minimum wage is not crashing the economy like opponents said it would. Are you shocked?! We're shocked! (We are not shocked.)

So, you guys remember Seattle? Of course you do -- it's that big city in Washington state where they have a giant boner for coffee and maybe the worst fans in football. Sure. Cool. Anyway, some of you might remember that Seattle passed a law to raise its minimum wage to $15 in 2014, with the first phase -- a bump to $11 -- hitting in 2015. Conservatives lost their damn fool minds stridently declaring that lo, the end times, they were upon us, and Seattleites had become the harbingers of their own economic doom. There was even an effort to openly lie about the wage laws crashing the Seattle restaurant industry before the law even went into effect, led by walking anal fissure Richard Berman.

But now, we have facts! Researchers at the University of Washington decided, "hey, we want to see what actually happened when the wage went up, so that maybe we can see some real-world effects of this supposedly economy-ruining minimum wage hike." Can you guess what they found? From the headline of this post, we bet you can!

Sixty-two percent of employers said they expected to raise prices of goods and services to accommodate the higher wages brought by the law. [...]

But in an analysis of area prices over time, done through a combination of “web scraping” and in-person visits to grocery stores, restaurants and other retail locations, such price increases were not in evidence.

“Our preliminary analysis of grocery, retail and rent prices has found little or no evidence of price increases in Seattle relative to the surrounding area,” the team concluded.

'Scuse us for a second.


Ah-hem. So. The researchers DID actually find that restaurant prices went up by around 7 percent -- UH OH! -- buuuuuuuuuut they also found that to be true in areas outside Seattle that were not in any way subject to the minimum wage, so it's not entirely clear how much of even that modest increase was due to the increase in wages as opposed to other factors like rising food costs. Given the fact that the price increase existed in areas where the wage couldn't have been having an effect, it's a pretty safe bet something else was afoot there.

While it's likely subsequent wage increases will force restaurants to raise prices to some degree, it's extremely unlikely it will be the apocalyptic scenarios described by some (very stupid) chains. Either that, or the significant amount of research that's been done on the subject is way, way off, and we doubt that very much.

Reminder, kiddos: raising the minimum wage is entirely feasible, and every argument against it is fucking stupid, and the people who make those arguments are universally assholes. Full stop, the end, period, we're done here, mic thrown through the center of the Earth.

[University of Washington]


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