Minimum Wage

Buried in the Republican Wave Are Votes to Increase Minimum Wage


$100 minimum wage? Sure why not.

An interesting dynamic is contrasting tonight's embrace of Republican politicians – votes in favor of increases in the minimum wage.

So far, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Nebraska have voted to increase their minimum wages today. You will note that these states are not hotbeds of progressive politics. Alaska has a pending vote to raise theirs as well. We should not be surprised to see it pass either. We know from polls that raises in minimum wages are popular up until people are told that increases may cost jobs. Then they turn against it. Emily Ekins explains how that polling works here. A majority are okay with it increases in minimum wages driving up prices. But if it costs jobs, a majority turns against it. 

And so the debate becomes about costing jobs. Does it really? We have a real world example to explain. In Los Angeles, the city passed an ordinance requiring "living wages" for employees of hotels near the city's airport back in 2008. As they considered expanding the law to all large hotel workers in the city earlier this year they commissioned studies to analyze the impact of their previous increase. Here's what Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics discovered:

The data clearly show that hotels around the airport have seen a sharp decline in employment relative to hotels in Los Angeles County overall. Some 12% more people are employed at hotels in the county than in 2007. The increase is apparent not only at hotels in general but within individual hotels, which means the jump cannot be attributed to an increase in the number of hotels elsewhere in the county. But in the airport hotels covered by the law, hotel employment has declined 10%.

As for the seeming disconnect between steadily high room occupancy and fewer jobs, modern large hotels are far more than a place to sleep at night. They offer a variety of restaurants, bars, parking garages, banquet and conference halls and tourist information centers. Anecdotally we have heard that many of these secondary lines of business have been sharply curtailed or eliminated because of the increase in labor costs. If higher wages have made banquets, say, more expensive to hold at airport hotels, it would be no surprise if organizations have decided to hold their banquets elsewhere.

Unfortunately the city didn't seem to actually care about Thornberg's report and voted for the increase anyway. 

UPDATE: I left off Illinois. Voters also approved an increase in minimum wage in Illinois, but this was just an advisory vote and is no way binding. Conservatives complained this question and some others were put on the vote entirely to get out the Democratic vote. Not that it helped. Incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has been tossed out in favor of Bruce Rauner.

NEXT: As Usual, Tonight's Winner—and Loser!—Is 'Partyism'

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  1. The Libertarian moment is upon us.

  2. Arkansas is kind of a “hotbed of progressive politics”. Clinton and Huckabee were both progressive governors.

    1. As was Orval Faubus.

      1. What about Pappy O’Daniel?

        1. The reason he’s pullin’ our pants down.

          Gonna paddle a little behind.

          Ain’t gonna paddle it – gonna kick it, real hard.

          No, I believe he’s gonna paddle it.

          I don’t believe that’s a proper characterization

          Well, that’s how I’d characterize it.

          I believe it’s more of a kickin’ sitcheyation.

  3. Any joy I feel at watching the prog incumbents washed out of this stupid state is mitigated by watching my fellow Arkansans vote in both min wage and longer term limits (so far both those proposals are winning, min wage by a lot). There really is no hope for liberty in this nation…

    1. So what did they do about term limits? I believe the governor is limited to two life terms? What’s been changed?

      1. Heh…”two life terms”…governor followed by zombie governor.

        1. Speaking of term limits isn’t Terry Branstad going to be the longest serving governor? If he finishes his term he will have been governor for 24 years, beating George Clinton’s 21 years.

          1. Branstad’s service hasn’t been continuous.

      2. Doubtful anyone will read this a day late and a dollar short, but here goes. They changed the Constitution from three 2-year terms in the House and two 4-year terms in the Senate (14 years total if you do both) to 16 years total in either body, excluding any terms or parts of terms resulting from special elections or apportionments of the Senate.

        If you’re a person who wants to stay in one body your whole career, your term limit has doubled or more than doubled.

  4. People want to be nice. Most non-progs don’t understand the minimum wage link to jobs, and prigs if they know still don’t care. That’a how these can both happen at the same time.

    1. That’s true. It’s nothing very authoritarian. People are hardly even cognizant of it as a mandate on employers. They just think, wouldn’t a modest raise for low-income earners be good? Like, if you’re asking me what’s the least someone should make, I’ll answer something. That’s how a ballot question is viewed. I mean, it’s right there, there’s a minimum wage, it’s just a matter of where it’s set, so why be stingy? Don’t be outrageous, don’t triple it, just add on, oh, 20-25%.

  5. The employers outnumber the employees, unfortunately.

    Not that many people work for minimum wage. I never worked for minimum wage. The lowest pay I got for a full time work was 10 bucks an hour.

    So in the end, the workers who lose out thanks to the rise in min wage are college kids or the very desperate working at Bath and Body Works at the mall.

    1. Employees outnumber the employers, I mean.

  6. Anyone raise theirs to $15 an hour? Anyone?

    Didn’t think so. Suck it, bitches, we’re #1.

  7. Supply and Demand?

    Does it really exist? Or is it just a figment of the imagination of the landed patriarchy cisgendered misogynists that are responsible for all the evil in the world?

    1. If we would just pay people a living wage, then the economy would improve. Rich business owners have plenty of money, and can afford to pay people more. It wouldn’t even take much out of their vast amounts of profits, either. Also, it’s all right to mandate a price floor for wages, because labor is unique in the economy, and doesn’t respond to the supply and demand pressures in the marketplace that something like, say, arugula does. People have a natural right to another person’s property if that other person is the employer. The employer doesn’t even consume, you know; he just piles his money in a large tower and swims around in it, thinking smug thoughts about how superior he is to his employees who actually do all the work while he milks them of the value of their labor. The employer should give back to society some of what he has taken from it, but he’s too greedy and short-sighted to do so himself, so it’s fitting that society forces him to do what he ought to do.

  8. “In America, we take a day off to celebrate the Fourth of July, and not the fifteenth of April, because in America, we celebrate our independence from the government not our dependence on it.”

    ~Scott Walker

  9. This type of “study” is sort of useless when Los Angeles is a city and it is surrounded by other cities and even cities within it’s boundaries like San Fernando and Beverly Hills. Of course some business may have been lost in LA and picked up somewhere else. This used to occur with car dealerships when Orange County’s sales tax was 1/2 percent less than LA. Now you are taxed on where you reside when you buy a car from a dealer.

    The real question that needs to be asked is how is a system where pay is low and workers need welfare to live on efficient or even desirable. We have all these programs to supposedly help the poor but they are really sops to business owners like section 8 that keeps rents high and vacancies filled for landlords.

    It seems to me that the desirable situation is where dad goes to work and supports his family and the kids are proud of their hard working dad. Nobody needs to be on welfare and few people think crime is worth doing reducing the prison population. The entire world is one big illusion – especially when it comes to what somebody “earns” or what they are “worth”. Prior to the Reagan union busting era we had a pretty good balance. Now we have an eroding tax base and too many people with jobs so undesirable they have no pride in their work any more.

    1. “The real question that needs to be asked is how is a system where pay is low and workers need welfare to live on efficient or even desirable.”

      The real question is where lefty liars get such crap to pass around.p

      1. Except I am not a lefty liar only somebody who recognizes how stupid what we have now is and how stupid most libertarians are.

        The system I want is what is happening in Germany and they don’t seem to be hurting.

  10. Of course they passed. I am not aware of a single Republican who was willing to articulate why it was wrong. Many Republicans endorsed these ballot measures. When you cede the battle field of ideas to your opponents don’t be surprised that your opponents win the day.

  11. When the issue of the minimum wage comes up in a debate I would love to see a Republican ask the Democrat “How will you look at a person who loses their job over this and tell them that they are better off making zero dollars an hour?”

    1. Come on, you know that the answer would be something along the lines of “Nobody’s going to lose their job. You’re just trying to scare people. How much did the rich pay you to say that? Why do you hate poor people?”

  12. …”A majority are okay with it increases in minimum wages driving up prices.”…

    Which is ludicrous anyhow. If you pay someone X-higher wages and prices go up by X, WIH do you think is gained?

  13. Raising minimum wage is a brilliant progressive strategy. The people who get a raise will vote liberal because they got a raise and the ones who lose their jobs will vote liberal to get benefits. They increase their voter base on both counts.

    1. Well said Iron Sun- funny how “progressive” strategies are regressive- well not really funny

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