Don’t Get Too Excited About the Recent Minimum Wage Hikes

June 10, 2014 at 10:37 AM Leave a comment

Paupers Memorial in West Bromwhich, UK via Wikimedia Commons

The Paupers Memorial in West Bromwhich, UK (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

While recent minimum wage hikes in Seattle and Vermont are better than nothing, the trajectory at which the hikes will occur leaves me, to be polite about it, less than enthusiastic.  As a matter of fact, peel back the headlines and they’re pretty pathetic.  For example, Seattle’s $15 per hour increase won’t go into full effect until — wait for it — 2021.  2021.  Eight years from now:

The Seattle city council voted to push up the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. If the wage hike is fully implemented, it will guarantee Seattle’s workers the nation’s highest minimum wage. The increase in the minimum wage will be phased in over a number of years. Big employers that do not provide their employees a health plan are the first that will face the $15 per hour minimum, a requirement that will be fully phased in around 2017. Large employers who offer health benefits will have to pay the $15 minimum starting in 2018. Small businesses with employees who receive tip income will have to pay the $15 per hour minimum a couple of years later, but the countable wage will include employees’ tips. By 2021 all employers in the city must offer a minimum wage of $15 an hour, regardless of the employer’s size.


That’s outrageous.  By then it will be too low. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be $21.16today.  It reaching $15 an hour by 2021 is a joke.

Then there’s this:  Vermont Governor signs Minimum Wage Increase Law.  Again, better than nothing but here are the inconvenient truths about that law:  Four years — four years — to get to $10.50 an hour:

A new law that will increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by 2018 in a series of increases beginning in two years was signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin on Monday.

The new law calls for increasing the minimum wage to $9.60 in 2016, $10 in 2017 and $10.50 in 2018. The bill also calls for annual raises in the wage — tied to inflation — starting in 2019.

Knowing the details of how pitiful these hikes are when adjusted for inflation and how long they will take to implement gives new perspective to those who scream about how they will cause an end to civilization as we know it.  And it makes those who are jumping up and down about how great they are look as if they take us for fools who should shut up and be grateful we’re getting a few more crumbs.



Entry filed under: Corporatocracy.

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