Well everybody, we actually did it.
Just a year after the debate started out in the streets, with fast food workers yelling and onlookers cocking their eyebrows right back at them, somehow the Seattle City Council unanimously voted yesterday to pass a $15/hour minimum wage.
While the speed at which the historic legistlation passed is surprising, what's unsurprising are the conniption fits the country is having in the decision's wake—alternately declaring Seattle a beacon of the future and a doomed metropolis full of idiots. Let's take a look at what people are saying:
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant:
"This is a victory for our movement - it shows the power of working people when we organize and fight for our rights. It will inspire millions of people all over the nation to build on this historic step forward. Fifteen in Seattle is just the beginning."
Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata:
"To those who have said the sky will fall if we pass this legislation, let me assure you: The sun will rise tomorrow. A city is world class when all classes live in the same world.”
NPR's Tavis Smiley, Via Twitter:
Another reason to love Seattle: $15 minimum wage, top in the country. The coffee's cool, but this is hot! — Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) June 3, 2014
Kirk Johnson via New York Times:
"Seattle Approves $15 Minimum Wage, Setting a New Standard for Big Cities"
The City Council here went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before on Monday, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality.
Karen Weise via Businessweek:
The victory serves as a powerful example to lawmakers elsewhere: “Seattle did it. Why can’t you?”
Daniel Doherty via Townhall.com:
"Oh, Good: Seattle Passes $15 Minimum Wage Hike"
Hiring freezes, massive layoffs, added fees, and lost hours. These are only some of the “benefits” Seattle workers can look forward to in the coming years.
Tim Worstall via Forbes:
"We Can Predict The Effects Of Seattle's $15 An Hour Minimum Wage"
My prediction is that the effects are not going to be good and it would be rather useful in future to have the evidence that large rises in the minimum wage really aren’t a good thing.
You know, before someone suggests it should be applied to the whole country? As, in fact, people already are?
Herman "999" Cain, 2012 Republican Presidential Hopeful, via Rare
“The Seattle city council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday that gradually increases unemployment in the city, which would make it the highest in the nation. Whenever the states minimum wage is higher than the national, they also have a higher state unemployment rate. They are elated about keeping people out of work."
The Wall Street Journal's "Market Watch" blog:
"Seattle’s minimum wage hike just another headache for Fed"
Federal Reserve officials don’t see eye-to-eye about the health of the U.S. labor market and increases in the minimum wage popping up around the country aren’t helping.
David Meinert, local business owner/member of the Mayor's minimum wage task force, via Facebook:
Even though I have some issues with a few of the details and process, I'm happy we got it done and raised the minimum wage, and that we lead the country in driving this discussion. Seattle is becoming the most progressive city in the nation and that's excellent. Many people put tons of hard work and effort into this idea, and congratulations to everyone. Now let's get to work on keeping housing affordable for workers in Seattle. #affordablehousingnow
Steve Caldeira, President of the International Franchise Association:
“The Seattle City Council and Mayor Murray’s plan would force the 600 franchisees in Seattle, which own 1,700 franchise locations employing 19,000 workers, to adopt the full $15 minimum wage in 3 years, while most other small business owners would have seven years to adopt the $15 wage. These hundreds of franchise small business owners are being punished simply because they chose to operate as franchisees. Decades of legal precedent have held that franchise businesses are independently owned businesses and are not operated by the brand’s corporate headquarters."
"We intend to aggressively sue the city of Seattle for what we believe to be an extremely unfair and discriminatory policy against those hardworking, jobs-creating small-business owners”
All the spectators left after the Minimum Wage vote, missing out on a combined sewer overflow discussion. Their loss. — Seattle City Council (@SeattleCouncil) June 2, 2014