The Atlantic Calls Seattle ‘Arabica-Scented Liberal Stronghold’; Talks Minimum Wage

Across the country, Seattle is known for its progressive credentials. And, apparently, this year’s mayor’s race - and both candidates’ endorsement of a $15 an hour minimum wage - is doing little to change this perception.

Jordan Weissman of The Atlantic takes note in a post published online today. In Weissman’s post, titled “A Win For McJobs: Seattle’s Mayoral Candidates Both Support a $15 Minimum Wage”, the author argues that by Seattle pushing the minimum wage debate to the forefront, and openly discussing a $15 an hour goal that “Even in a city as far to the left as Seattle ... would have seemed preposterous not long ago,” the city is opening the door “for less crazy ideas, like a hike to $10 or $11, or coordinating an increase with local suburbs, much the way Washington, D.C., is.”

Of course, there’s also a coffee-related quip worked in for good measure.

From The Atlantic:

At $9.19 an hour, Washington already claims highest state minimum wage in the country. But in Seattle, that misty, arabica-scented liberal stronghold, both mayoral candidates in the upcoming election now say they would support pushing the city’s minimum to the magic $15 threshold. At least in theory.

While pushing the conversation about a minimum wage increases has probably always been almost as important to supporters as the actual $15 an hour figure, the contention that $15 an hour is “crazy” likely doesn’t sit well with many on the front lines of the minimum wage fight. Business impacts aside, a $15 an hour minimum wage sounds crazy until you’ve actually tried to live in Seattle, which is one of the main points. If city leaders would put greater effort into ensuring that more than just wealthy singles could afford to live here then maybe striking fast food workers could call for something that was less “crazy.” Things like affordable housing, rent control and affordable childcare could go a long way.

All that said, The Atlantic does do a good job in highlighting the politically strategy at play when McGinn and Murray hitch their wagon to the $15 an hour cause.

From The Atlantic:

For now, this mostly seems like political posturing. City council members quoted by the AP and Seattle Times have been unenthusiastic about the idea. Both candidates have left lots of wiggle room in their public statements. And it’s probably not a coincidence that Murray, the challenger, has been trying to fend off attacks about his ties to the business community. What better way for a moderate to establish their liberal bona fides, after all, than to embrace a big, populist proposal that would likely get bogged down by local legislators?

 
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