Tag Archives: Seattle

Minimum Wage – Vanishing Jobs

Minimum WageLately Seattle made waves by implementing a minimum wage law that will give the city the highest minimum wage in the nation.

The intentions are sincere – the law is cruel.

This is what will happen:

Meet the robot replacement that will be “hired.”

Research is picking up for such automated replacements for fast food employees — doubtless spurred on by the current massive proposed increases in the minimum wage (and all the related costs tied to wage — social security, workers comp, unemployment compensation, etc.)

There is compensation beyond wages – and by raising the threshold to entry, Seattle is providing a disservice to its residents.

Study In The Minimum Wage: SeaTac

Minimum Wage.1

Minimum Wage

As I mentioned recently, the conversation coming in 2014 politics is going to be the growing, or perceived notion of said growth, of the disparity in income:

You can already sense that the battle line are being formed for the 2014 debate in the lead-up to the November elections.  For better or for worse, the republicans are going to talk about Obamacare and its roll-out while the democrats are going to shift to the middle class, wage stagnation and, perhaps, immigration.

Ignoring the political reasons for now, let’s focus on what I think will be the democrat’s main strategy to gain the upper hand: Income Inequality.

There is little doubt that Obama an the democrats wanna pivot from the absolute devastation that is Obamacare.

And part of that conversation is going to be an old Tar Heel Red favorite – the minimum wage.

What Is The Impact Of The Minimum Wage

To be sure, the folks in support of the minimum wage have the most noble intentions; they wanna be able to provide relief for vulnerable workers.  But the real impact is the opposite:

Teen-Excess-Unemployment.2013.01

That’s teen.

Here is black excess unemployment:

Black-Excess-Unemployment.2013.01

And finally under-educated:

Undereducated-Excess-Unemployment.2013.01

This is the devastating impact of the minimum wage.

SeaTac Experiment

The debate has largely been theoretical; does the minimum wage impact employment or not?

Well, we may have a real world experiment  on  our hands:

 On Jan. 1, an estimated 1,600 hotel and transportation workers in SeaTac, Wash., will see their pay jump to $15 an hour, a 60 percent increase from the state’s $9.32 minimum wage.

This is important for two reasons:

1.  The increase is substantial – 60% is nothing to scoff at.

2.  The increase is not being phased in – employers are being subject to the rise in wages without the benefit of inflation dimming the impact.

Some of the fall out?

While many workers look forward to the higher pay, employers are looking for ways to absorb the big increase in labor costs. Some plan on eliminating jobs.

“We’re going to be looking at making some serious cuts,” said Cedarbrook Lodge General Manager Scott Ostrander. “We’re going to be looking at reducing employee hours, reducing benefits and eliminating some positions.”

But not every employer is being so ambitious. One has told a trade group it is going to close one of its two restaurants, eliminating 200 jobs.

The plan has also caused Han Kim — who runs Hotel Concepts, a company that owns and manages 11 hotels in Washington state — to shelve plans to build a hotel in SeaTac. The company already has three hotels in SeaTac, and Kim and a business partner were looking to build a fourth on land they own.

Does this deter the supporters?  Not at all:

“There may be a few jobs lost here and there, but the fact is, if we don’t fight for this, then the race to the bottom will continue,” Sawant said.

Fascinating.  Glad I’m not an entry level worker in Seattle!

Liberal Activists – Class Act

Horses Ass

I’ve long been a supporter of gay rights.  The contract between two individuals should be sex-blind to the state.  Two men, a woman and a man or two woman, no matter.

And I’ve been a long time opponent of the liberal left.  These people, the extreme left, have no moral compass, no rule and guide of faith that gives them direction in how to function in society.

The following is an interesting composite of my experience.  Some of my most favorite times were in Seattle.  I learned a ton while there.  And I’m sympathetic to the pro-gay movement.  Yet I resist the methods used by the left.  Abuse, assault and crime in the highest order.

This is why I combat the left:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCfvkPBrDh8

That fat bastard is seen as a hero to the cause in his circle.  To anyone with even a minimum of manners he’s a brute, a bully and a criminal better served in prison than left alone in decent society.

Such is our militant liberal left.

Homeless – Help Out or Help Up and Out

I saw the story the other day of that cop who took his own money and bought that guy a pair of boots:

After Officer Lawrence DePrimo knelt beside a barefoot man on a bitterly cold November night in Times Square, giving him a pair of boots, a photo of his random act of good will quickly took on a life of its own — becoming a symbol for a million acts of kindness that go unnoticed every day and a reminder that even in this tough, often anonymous city, people can still look out for one another.

Those boots cost him a hundo.

I like stories like this for two reasons:

  1. I think too often we’re inundated with only bad shit going on in the world.  That everybody is out to get everybody.  More good news would be a good thing.
  2. People ARE capable of giving individually.

Anyway, as I read the story, like I said, I felt good.  But I have to admit that when I got to the cost of the shoes I kinda reacted with a “Uh-oh.”

Sadly, as the story continues, we find that the boots are gone:

Since Mr. Hillman’s bare feet became famous, other people reported seeing him without shoes — one even after Officer DePrimo’s gift — and one woman said she had bought him a pair of shoes a year ago. Whatever the case, Mr. Hillman seemed accustomed to walking the pavement shoeless.

Now, I don’t know Hillman’s story, of course.  The life he leads is violent and full of crime; those boots may have been stolen.  Or, Mr. Hillman may have reacted rationally and decided that the money gained from the shoes was more valuable than the shoes themselves, so he sold or returned ’em.  Again, I don’t know.

But it got me to thinking on the best way to help the folks who have found themselves in the precarious condition of living on the streets.

When I moved to Seattle all those years ago, my buddy and I asked the logical first question, “Where do we go out?”  Everyone told us Pioneer Square.  So we hit that neighborhood 4-5 or 6-7 nights that week.  It was a blast.  Rocking music scene, walking neighborhood with restaurants, bars, shopping and whatnot.  It was great.

But, during that week I was exposed to the folks on Seattle’s streets.  I suspect I had seen homelessness during my time at the University of Minnesota, but I was literally off the farm in rural Minnesota; Right on the Banks of the Plum Creek.  This was new to me.

Over the course of those nights there were two men who were always at the same corner, right in the best place and always seeming, I don’t know – comfortable.  So my buddy and I got to know ’em.  I smoked then and we would sit down and share a smoke.  When it was time for a slice of pizza or a sausage, we’d buy an extra couple and eat with ’em.  I never drank with those guys or gave ’em money, but we got to know them.

I would get a job in that neighborhood and would often walk out of my place and bring them food, take time to smoke and always stop and talk.  To say that we were “friends” probably wasn’t accurate; we never hung out or did anything together.  But then again, when “grandpa” didn’t show up for “work” one night, I found he’d been taken to the hospital.  I told my boss I had to go, she agreed, and I went to visit him.  So, eh, not friends but certainly a connection was present.

One afternoon I was talking to the younger man, slightly older than me at about 30 or so.  I told him that I thought he carried himself well, his conversations displayed a nimbleness and that he was funny and easy to like.  Finally I said that if he needed to, I’d “borrow him” the money for clothes, a tie and jacket and some shoes.  He could use my address and phone number and I’d take messages and I would run him through practice interviews.  “Just puttin’ it out there…..”

He kinda looked at me, not funny – after all, this wsn’t the random act of kindess of a stranger, but still.  And he shook his head, “Naw man, I don’t wanna job.  I’d have to punch in and punch out, do stuff other people told me to do, and then I’d just come here anyway.  I don’t mind my life, I’m not hungry or cold, I have friends and I make enough money – heck, I make 60-80 bucks a night.”

“But you don’t have a home,” I said.

He corrected me, “I don’t have a house.”

Point taken.  And so it was that he decided to live there.  On the corner.  Eating with strangers and other passerbys.  I kept on eating with him, smoking with him.  We remained “friends” until I move, or until I quit working full time down there in the square.  But it was a little different after that talk.  It was different in that he had made a choice.  In the same way I made a choice, to go to school, then to work and to pay rent and all that stuff.

I’m sure that he’s the exception to the rule, I’m sure that the 636,017 folks out of homes today would rather not be out that home.  That they would want to be back in a secure place, warm fed and safe.  And I know that, my friend’s place was unique.  Seattle is a remarkably safe city, hell, I’d walk home, 1-2 miles at 03:00 AM with a bartender’s take of cash in my pocket right THROUGH the heart of the city.  Not once did anything happen.

But it has always made me wonder how is it best to help the folks that find themselves down on their luck?  How many cases are there of otherwise fully capable functioning families or individuals who just got hit with a random life event that knocked ’em off their feet for a sec?  And yes, literally a free apartment, some food, clothes and a razor would get them back on track.  How many would need more than that, perhaps less?  I’m sure that a ton are mentally ill and unstable; there is no amount of money or care that will allow a hope at a traditional functioning life spent working, paying rent and caring for a self and a home.  But what then? And, of course, there is my “friend” in Seattle.  He has made a clear and rational decision to live on those street and finds himself in a perfectly happy place.

I don’t think anyone questions that “we” give assistance through “entitlements”.  Maybe I speak for myself, but I ask the question, “What is the most effective form of aid?  How will we know it’s working?  What will we do when it hasn’t?  Are we prepared to stop providing the assistance in the event it isn’t fulfilling our goal?”

Those are the questions I have.

Occupy Wall Street: Seattle Style

I’ve often referred to the Occupy crowd as a bunch of stinky hippies.  Not really ’cause I think that they are hippies or even stink; mostly because I’m a hippie of sorts and I enjoy poking fun at myself.  But I do think the movement is largely made up of folks who find themselves in a condition that is largely of their own doing.  And then they’re mad at that condition.

I stumbled across this video from Seattle where a gaggle of the gentle Occupy movement took over a house that was under renovation and made it their own.  And by “made it their own” I mean they destroyed it.  To the point that the city began to cite the real owner and he had to call in the SWAT team to remove them.

These people and this movement are not serious.  They are not concerned about making positive change in society or creating opportunities that would better allow decent hardworking people to better themselves.  Rather, these people are interested in forwarding an agenda that allows them to live off the labor of others while they recline in ease and contemplate life.

Something Just Didn’t Sound Right

I’m reading a report of Seattle’s version of Occupy Wall Street.  The gathering is taking place in Westlake Park.  Westlake is a great place.  Open spaces, great shopping and restaurants, close to everything.

I love it.

But, with all the protesters there, the local business owners are getting tired; turns out that tons of anti-capitalists aren’t good for business.

Anyway, that is surprising and isn’t what caught my attention.  This is:

Shelia Locke owns Bobachine Cafe, which is right on Westlake Park. She said she’s supportive of the protesters’ cause but that the crowds haven’t been good for business.

“There’s definitely fewer people you can identify as people out, just walking through the area,” she said.

Some customers are coming anyway.

“It’s no big deal — I’ve been unemployed for two years,” Cindy Hawk said.

Catch that?  I’ll quote again:

 “It’s no big deal — I’ve been unemployed for two years,” Cindy Hawk said.

Awesome.  Unemployed for 2 years, but still has money to eat at the tawny joints in downtown Seattle.

Light Rail: Seattle, WA

Light-rail and high-speed trains have long been the darling of the Left.  If some local or state government can come up with a plan to build trains, the Left is only TOO anxious to deliver the money.

Rail corridor between Raleigh and DC? Done!

Charlotte and Atlanta?  Done!

Roanoke and Durham. Done!

I admit that I’m flummoxed by this fixation.  But let’s take a look:

The idea is based on two angles:

  1. If we can move more people from here to there on a train, we’ll decrease the amount of fossil fuel burned.
  2. It creates jobs.

How much of this is true?  And to the extent that it IS true, what price are people willing to pay?

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