Study: Seattle’s Minimum Wage has also Affected Hygiene Standards in Addition to Costing Jobs

By all standards the minimum wage hike in Seattle has been a disaster. As is generally the case with progressive policies, it hurts those it claims to want to help.

Progressive politicians decry the “unfair” minimum wage and bemoan the fact that you can’t raise a family on such low wages. Of course, in their rampant emotionalism (read: political grandstanding), it’s never noted that almost no one is in the lamentable state of raising a family on a minimum wage job since minimum wage jobs tend to be taken by those just entering the workforce.

But we must not think about that. If you are not for raising the minimum wage, you clearly hate the poor.

Progressive politicians, on the other hand, are never accused of hating the poor,  even though their policies consistently and predictably cause them harm. Raising the minimum wage, as has been demonstrated each time it is done, costs employees hours and jobs.

These politicians don’t seem to understand that business owners don’t have a printing press in the back of their shop that can create for them unlimited amounts of money with which they can pay their employees. If they are forced by law to pay their employees more, that money will either come from the employer charging more for their product (which will cause fewer people to buy said product, resulting in a loss of business) or cutting back on the employee’s hours or possibly the job itself.

Now, however, we can add an “ick factor” as well as a potential public health risk to the consequences of the economically ignorant public policy.

A study recently conducted by professors from Indiana University, Ball State University, and Villanova University, found that each dollar increase in the minimum wage resulted in a 6.4% increase in overall health violations, with a 7.3% increase in critical “red” violations and a 15.3% increase in less severe “blue” violations in Seattle restaurants.

So-called “blue” violations include protection from contamination from insects, rodents, and animals, as well as employee cleanliness, garbage being appropriately disposed of, and restrooms being properly cleaned. “Red” violations on the other hand are those which would shut a restaurant down, including the spread of diseases such as salmonella and E. coli.

When employers are forced to cut back hours because they don’t have the money to pay the additional wages, work that was previously being done no longer is. It appears given a choice between serving customers and doing extra cleaning with the more limited hours, the cleaning is going to suffer.

As is almost always the case with progressive policies, people suffer from the law of unintended consequences. With the minimum wage, predictably, those who could afford it the least are affected the most.

On top of that, we’re now discovering that eating in Seattle restaurants may have a greater cost to the public than the higher priced menu items.

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Heidi Munson

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