Law of Supply and Demand Upheld in Seattle Minimum Wage Case

It turns out that not every law liberals don’t like can be overturned by the Supreme Court.

In 2014, Seattle, following the instructions of liberal activists, agreed to raise its minimum wage to $15/hour.   It turns out this is doing exactly what every conservative, free market economist expected it would:  Reduce jobs and work hours for those making at or near the minimum wage.

A University of Washington study has found that the new law has resulted in an average net LOSS of $125 per month for low wage workers.

The lost income associated with the hours reductions exceeds the gain [in hourly rates],” the report says. “The average low-wage employee was paid $1,897 per month. The reduction in hours would cost the average employee $179 per month, while the wage increase would recoup only $54 of this loss, leaving a net loss of $125 per month (6.6%), which is sizable for a low-wage worker.

The economics aren’t complicated.   The real minimum wage is always zero.  Employers can always opt to hire less employees, have them work less hours, or use more automation, rather than paying entry level workers more than their labor is worth.  In Seattle, they are doing just that.

The only time a minimum wage law is harmless, is when its low enough that the “real” market minimum wage is higher than the law mandates.  In my rural Colorado town, in the midst of a fracking boom, fast food restaurants routinely advertise entry level positions a couple of dollars over the minimum wave.   We have an organic minimum wage that works considerably better than the state mandated one.

It doesn’t matter how many #FightFor15 hashtags you tweet, or how many rallies you hold.  Adam Smith still wins.   And sadly, in Seattle, low wage workers are losing.

Seattle Gun Tax: A Legislative Failure

When Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess proposed a gun tax, he believed it would be the perfect bill for his progressive city. It was supposed to reduce crime and generate copious amounts of revenue to fund a study on gun violence. The legislation called for a $25 tax on every firearm sold within city limits and up to 5 cents per round of ammunition. The bill was passed by the city council in 2015 and took effect at the very beginning of 2016.

Like most progressive-minded ideas, the new law did not work as intended.

Burgess claimed the new tax would generate somewhere between $300,000 to $500,000 in revenue. This did not happen. We actually do not know the exact numbers because city officials are refusing to release the amount (gun rights organizations are currently suing for this information). But they have publicly admitted that number is under $200,000.

Gun dealers in Seattle are seeing their sales drop amid the new tax. Outdoor Emporium is the largest gun dealer still doing business in Seattle. Owner Mike Coombs says his sales are down 20 percent and gun sales have dropped 60 percent. Sadly, he had to let employees go because of the plummeting numbers. Many gun dealers are simply leaving the city – Coombs owns a shop in a nearby city and he is reporting great sales there.

The projected revenue was supposed to fund a study on gun violence. This is not happening. The paltry amount of money raised by the tax is apparently being kept in a holding account. The gun violence study at Harborview Medical Center is costing Seattle $550,000 – nowhere near the amount raised. The city had to withdraw from its general fund to pay for the research.

The tax was intended as a deterrent to gun crime. The opposite trend is occurring in Seattle. When we compare the first five months of 2017 to the same period before the tax took effect, individuals injured by shootings have climbed 37 percent and reports of shots fired have risen 13 percent. Gun deaths have doubled.

But, hey, in the category of virtue signaling, the Seattle gun tax succeeded with flying colors.

 

Seattle Law Enforcement Adopts Less “Negative” Terminology For Suspects

Some things can only take place in the far-left regions of the West Coast – you know, places like Seattle. Today’s evidence of Seattle crazy is a new initiative by law enforcement in that city to use less “negative” terminology to describe suspects and inmates. And among the law enforcement community, it’s going over about as well as you might expect.

When Seattle police officers write use of force reports they no longer call a suspect a suspect.

“Community member” is the new term. Several officers say the term is offensive, explaining their work with violent suspects.

Maybe you’re like me and wondering what community a suspect is part of, but the semantic overcorrection doesn’t end there. Authorities are also worried about how not to offend the incarcerated with their terminology.

Last fall, the Washington Department of Corrections stopped calling inmates “offenders” and instead use the term “student.”

“The term ‘offender’ does have a negative connotation and significantly impacts a broad group of people and communities,” Acting DOC Secretary Dick Morgan wrote in an internal department memo, obtained by KIRO 7.

“Times change, and so does our language.”

However, that means Gary Ridgway — the most prolific American serial killer who said he has at least 71 victims — is no longer called an inmate or an offender. Neither are other murderers, rapists and felons.

The phase-out of the word “offender” started Nov. 1 and replaced with “individuals,” “student” or “patient,” the DOC secretary wrote to his staff.

We need to start worrying about where we are as a society if we’re concerned about how negative our language is toward people who are serving time for having committed crimes. (Also, it’s funny that someone is worrying about the word “offender” being offensive.) Of course, this thought isn’t lost on the law enforcement community, and they’re speaking out.

Kevin Stuckey, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild president who can speak publicly, said he believes the term “community member” is too vague.

“I don’t think you should have a broad stroke like that and call everybody the same thing,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling someone who is a victim a victim, or calling someone who’s a suspect a suspect.”

There’s something terribly wrong when political correctness seeps into law enforcement in this way – even when it’s happening in Seattle.

Could it be that police and corrections authorities need to spend less time worrying about whether terminology offends those who commit a crime and more time making sure said crimes don’t get committed? Playing Orwellian word games with police parlance doesn’t merely come across as counterproductive; it just seems wrong.