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Seattle's Minimum Wage Killed the 'Five-Dollar Footlong'

Unfortunately, that's not all it's doing.

You probably remember Subway's famous "five-dollar footlong" promotion as much for the obnoxiously catchy jingle as for the sandwiches themselves. (Sorry for getting that stuck in your head all day.)

The sandwich chain recently resurrected the promotion in a national advertising campaign promising foot-long subs for just $4.99—but the special deal won't fly at one Subway restaurant in Seattle, where owner David Jones posted a sign this week giving customers the bad news.

Here's that sign, courtesy of Krisitin Ellis, an executive assistant at the Washington Policy Center, who tells Reason she spotted the dismaying sign yesterday afternoon while picking up a veggie footlong in the SoDo neighborhood:

Photo by Kristin EllisPhoto by Kristin Ellis

Sadly, the consequences of high minimum wages, excessive taxation, and mandate-happy public policy are not limited to the death of cheap sandwiches. The cost of doing business in Seattle is higher than the Space Needle, and the unintended consequences of those policies are piling up too.

The biggest cost driver, as Jones' sign mentions, is Seattle's highest-in-the-nation minimum wage. It went from $9.47 to $11 per hour in 2015, then to $13 per hour in 2016, and to $15 per hour in 2017 or 2018 for most businesses, depending on how many employees they have.*

The result? According to researchers at the University of Washington's School of Public Policy and Governance, the number of hours worked in low-wage jobs has declined by around 9 percent since the start of 2016 "while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent." The net outcome: In 2016, the "higher" minimum wage actually lowered low-wage workers' earnings by an average of $125 a month.

And now those same employees will have to pay more for sandwiches from Subway—and everything else too.

Compounding the misery is the city's new soda tax. By tacking another 1.75 cents onto every ounce of sweetened beverage purchased within the city, then-mayor Ed Murray promised, Seattle could subsidize trips to the farmers market, pay for free community college, and roll back "white-privileged, institutional racism." Racism has yet to disappear in Seattle, but as Reason's Christian Britschgi highlighted earlier this week, the tax has had the more immediate effect of hiking the price of a can of Coke by 20 cents, making a typical 36-can case of soft drink now $7.56 more expensive.

Kudos to Jones (who has spoken out before about the issues facing Seattle businesses, but did not return a call for this story) for being straight with his customers—and to other businesses, like this Seattle Costco, that have similarly refused to hide the costs of the city's soda tax from the consumers who have to pay it. In both cases, the businesses are looking out for their customers' best interests. Costco gave customers directions to another location outside the city limits where the soda tax would not apply, and Jones says he's trying to figure out a way to offer a discount on certain sandwiches, even if he can't afford to sell them for $4.99.

Seattle's city government might claim that it's looking out for workers' best interests by mandating higher wages and other benefits. But if the cost of doing business continues to climb, workers will be hurt, not helped. The end of the five-dollar footlong is likely only the beginning.

*CORRECTION: This piece was updated to better explain when the $15 minimum wage was implemented for Seattle-based businesses.

Photo Credit: Richard B. Levine/Newscom

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hey, at least Subway didn't go to a touchscreen menu system.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...yet.

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    Do you know something?

  • kevino||

    Economics: it's only a matter of time before businesses look to cut costs.
    The true minimum wage is zero.

  • Qualitarian||

    Already been in place in Perryville, MO franchise since 2016. At the drive-thru.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    There pretty common around here. I think the slogan at participating franchises is "Come touch yourself a good six incher".

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Carlos Danger has a franchise?

  • Paper Wasp||

    "We call this sandwich the Harvey Weinstein."

  • The_Hoser||

    Because you think you're getting a role, but instead you get the meat.

  • albo||

    Convenience store food counters in my area (Sheetz, Rutter's) do this already and it's so easy and makes so much sense. It's coming to fast food sooner than later.

  • Brandybuck||

    it's always made sense once the techology was available. The problem was that unskilled workers were still cheaper than the system plus its maintenance and social costs. But drive up minimum wage past that point and now it's cheaper to dump the workers.

  • NoVaNick||

    Sheetz has been doing this for 10 years at least-though it didn't work too well the time I tried it.

  • crufus||

    Wawa (in PA) already uses touchscreens for food orders with a much larger menu of custom sandwiches.

  • kevino||

    Wawa's system is fantastic: many other convenience stores should copy what they do. They provide fresh sandwiches with terrific ingredients at a low price, and their ordering system is great. As it guides the user through a long list of choices, it helps the user. Anyone except my blind mother can do it. And it has options to add double mustard, extra pickle, or applewood bacon.

    Anyone in the sandwich business needs to go to Wawa and look at their system. They are best in class.

  • Galane||

    And while they're doing that, Jimmy John's can add cheese choices other than provolone, and Five Guys can explore the wide world of them other than American "cheese".

  • Loss of Reason||

    Buckee's here in Texas uses a Touchscreen too. Anything from cold and hot sandwiches to bakery and fudge.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Touchscreens and mysteriously, disturbingly wet sandwich meats do not mix well.

  • operagost||

    Don't know what you're talking about, dude. The touchscreens are for the customers to use.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Look at Jared over here.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Wouldn't that would be called a fondlescreen.

  • IceTrey||

    Just bought Subway with drive through touchscreen.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    my condolences

  • GeneralWeygand||

    my condolences

  • Shadow_Rider||

    My condolences

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Five-dollar footlong is my nickname... right now.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Mine is 1.25$...

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Selling it by the inch?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    That's what welfare is for: if you can't make enough money to keep people from feeling sorry for you, then you get to make other people's money. That's social justice.

  • Shadow_Rider||

    Really well said. Being concise is a skill.

  • albo||

    Subway's bread is fluff and its cold cuts have had all the flavor removed. It's beige food.

  • operagost||

    That's why I only get the sweet onion teriyaki chicken.

  • CE||

    And the meat is portioned out one molecule-thick layer at a time, but at least they give you a whole 3 molecule-thin slices to cover all the fluffy bread.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Jersey Mike's and Jimmy John's are way better. No reason to go to Subway.

  • Radioactive||

    did you pay extra for the rubber?

  • ||

    You ate a rubber mattress?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Several.

  • IceTrey||

    Is it a sex thing?

  • Rhywun||

    "unintended consequences"

    Doubtful. The people who put these policies in place know exactly what the consequences are and they don't care. Hell, they cheer them on. Anything that rewards friends and punishes enemies is progress.

  • Radioactive||

    all a ploy to make Seattle a subway free zone...

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Street Cars Only

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    A predictable outcome from an action is not "unintended". It is possible bad outweighs the good, but that is called a "trade off".

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    And it is possible they don't understand the irony of actually causing or worsening the very problem they sought to resolve. That the answer in their mind can never be answered as just let it work itself out is the real outcome.

    I mean, I always appreciate someone telling telling me that only they know what is best not only just me but everyone. To that point, I actually use sugary drinks to help maintain weight. When I stop drinking them I drop ten pounds to 150lbs at 5'11". And I'm over 40. But at least I'll have the privilege of spending like I'm going to GNC for weight gainer while only buying Dr Pepper. (And before you give me shit for those drinks, at least they didn't give me esophagitis like weight gainer did.)

  • Shadow_Rider||

    I know I'm not supposed to attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity or something, but I can't believe that the policy wonks that drive the talking heads don't at least intend the obvious outcomes. I have to believe that there is intentional vision behind the coordinated efforts of the Progressive. I see them creating a nation dependent on government for the peoples' every need. I believe the outcomes that drive people to government are intentional.

  • Curt||

    What part of this do these greedy corporate assholes not understand? They need to embrace these changes as a reduction to their profit instead of trying to push them off on the little guy. They already make more money than they need. They should appreciate the opportunity to improve people's lives instead of increasing costs on normal people while they fly their corporate jets.

  • Jerryskids||

    You didn't build that.

  • Sevo||

    Curt|1.10.18 @ 10:00AM|#
    "...They need to embrace these changes as a reduction to their profit instead of trying to push them off on the little guy...."

    I have spoken with people who imagine businesses will do this, or if not, should be forced to do this. Those sorts of people exist, sadly.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    When someone says something like that, it becomes immediately apparent that that person has zero idea how business works or economics.

    I say zero I mean absolutely no idea.

    It makes it easy to sort those people out though. On the down side, they tend to go into government jobs.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""I say zero I mean absolutely no idea.""

    Yep, they are also the ones deeply in debt because they don't understand how credit works.

  • Galane||

    Oh they know how it works. They just think that if they believe in it *really hard* that an economic system can have one part (such as wages or taxes) fiddled with, without having any effect on the rest of the system.

    They're the ones that claim "trickle down" is utter bollocks. The effects don't just go down, they up, sideways and in every other direction.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Yeah, that's always the funny part. The magic hand apparently only works through more regulation and more taxation. Apparently the hand must first be shackled.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    And everyone acts repulsed when I say how we're going to have to get rid of the progs at some point. They will never ever stop, unless they are stopped. Complaining and handwringing are not solutions to the progressive problem.

  • Nuwanda||

    "I have spoken with people who imagine businesses will do this, or if not, should be forced to do this."

    That's the hidden agenda, of course. Lots of useful idiots holding up signs demanding these things, but the true statists know the endgame is to control how business sets prices and realises profits. Eventually they will demand oversight of these aspects.

  • Paloma||

    How much do you think the greedy corporate assholes need, Curt?

  • cc2||

    In many cases, the owner of a couple of sandwich shops is not some big company but a guy or family and the "profit" is his salary. If he can't make enough money off the shops (and he has lots of cash tied up in them) he will close them and do something else. It is that simple.

  • Loss of Reason||

    People don't understand at least in cases like these that Subway doesn't own the restaurant, a franchise owner does. They operator on tight budgets and small small profits. Most (I'm sure some excepts) aren't living high on the hog.

    We are from the government and we are here to help. Worse sentence ever!

  • Jordan||

    Um, you realize that Subway shops are franchises, right?

    According to a report on food franchising by Franchise Business Review, 51.5 percent of food franchises earn profits of less than $50,000 a year; roughly 7 percent top $250,000, with the average profit for all restaurants coming in at $82,033. That doesn't sound too bad, until you factor in the initial investment.
  • Curt||

    Profits of $50,000 a year is a lot more than the cook making minimum wage gets. So the franchisee should be excited about the opportunity to share that with his co-workers. But, yes, I agree that evil corporations like Subway should definitely accept less profit through lower franchise fees so that they can boost opportunities for the people who actually do real work.

    Initial investment... It's a write-off for them. They just write it off. Jerry, all these big companies, they write off everything.

  • Brandybuck||

    For the owner of a single Subway franchise, that $50,000 profit their ENTIRE FUCKING INCOME!

    It's like progressives have never worked in an actual business before. Back in college I once worked in a shop where my part time minimum wage paycheck brought home more dollars than the flipping owner took home. It's not unusual. I've had bosses go slowly bankrupt out from underneath me. But to progressives all employers are evil fat cats. Fuck progressives. They couldn't manage a lemonade stand if their lives depended on it.

  • Ron||

    Many employers make less than their employees, I know a few years mIne made more than I did so now I no longer have employees

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Been down that same road myself.

  • Sevo||

    "For the owner of a single Subway franchise, that $50,000 profit their ENTIRE FUCKING INCOME!"

    Pretty sure "Curt" is a troll. Stupidity of that level is rare indeed.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    I took Curt's comments as sarcasm.

  • Curt||

    It certainly wasn't intended to be trolling. It was parody. The troll intends to make people angry and provoke responses like most of the ones it got. Parody is intended to make people laugh at the obvious stupidity of the comment.

    When you said, "those sorts of people exist, sadly," I figured that you saw it for parody. Jerryskids, DesigNate, and MJGreen also got it. The others... not so much.

    I thought it was sufficiently ridiculous to be obvious. Certainly wouldn't pass the ideological Turing test. Then again, I guess lots of people can't see the difference between their opponents and their strawmen.

  • Nuwanda||

    "I thought it was sufficiently ridiculous to be obvious."

    It was.

  • Nuwanda||

    "I thought it was sufficiently ridiculous to be obvious."

    It was BUT when we live in a world where it's regarded as sane to promote bathroom policies that allow men dressed as women to use the same facilities as young girls, well, the irony, satire or sarcasm can never be assumed.

    It is however a fun game to play with Leftists since they tend to agree with enthusiasm.

  • The_Hoser||

    Agreed.

    Also, after you said "in a world," I read the rest of your comment in the voice of the movie trailer guy.

  • Brandybuck||

    ""I thought it was sufficiently ridiculous to be obvious.""

    We now live in an age where such stuff is not obvious. No matter how ridiculous you make it sound, there will be a progressive out there somewhere who would utter it.

  • Paloma||

    I've heard people make similar statements. In person, you can tell sarcasm by the tone of voice. On the internet not so much.

  • Ragoftag||

    You might start ending with either sarc/ or /sarc, to make sure folks catch your drift. Too many Leftists troll these boards and leave idiot remarks.

  • Loss of Reason||

    Haha, it's sad that I couldn't tell anymore. I was hoping it was sarc but it's so hard to tell anymore!

    To many people like Tony these days. Damn it, I was promised a zombie apocalypse to thin this people other.

  • Finrod||

    Wow, someone's challenging Tony for Most Idiotic Poster.

  • Rhywun||

    I suspect another parody account. Yay.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I guess the Seinfeld quote wasn't blatant enough.

  • Curt||

    Yeah, I thought that including the Seinfeld quote in the second comment would really put it over the top. And the funny thing was that everyone started responding after DesigNate suggested that the first person needed to check his sarc-o-meter.

  • ||

    Are this stupid, daft and ignorant?

    Go take a business class. Learn about something and layoff the lefty playbook.

    Jesus I can take people being uninformed but this is getting ridiculous.

  • DarrenM||

    Ignorance is freedom. You can say any dumb crap and think you're clever for doing so.

  • Paper Wasp||

    So the franchisee should be excited about the opportunity to share that with his co-workers.

    ROFLcopter. Because the franchisee doesn't have rent and bills to pay of his own? Because the franchisee is running a charity that throws unearned money at people who couldn't be bothered to take advantage of their free public education to improve themselves?

    Yeah, um...no. Capitalism works. Pro tip: it works really well for people who get off their dead asses, go to class when they're given the opportunity, apply for scholarships, and make goals and work towards them. Try it sometime.

  • Paloma||

    loveconstitution is right. Curt really DOES have zero idea.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Curt, this is some kind of performance art, right? You're not really dumber than Tony, are you?

  • DesigNate||

    Check your sarc o meter.

  • Radioactive||

    how the fuck do you know how much money people need? fucking asshole

  • Bob Straub||

    Curt, please define "need." Then please review your personal financial status *objectively* and decide whether you earn more or less than what you *need*, as opposed to what you *want*. If you earn more than you need, I guess you wouldn't mind if your governments taxed the rest of your income away. That's essentially what you want to happen to businesses.
    Or did I just swallow a trolled hook?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Everyone who didn't immediately realize that Curt's comment was a parody is an idiot.

    Every. Single. One.

  • Tionico||

    any idea the margins for a franchise like Subway? If so, come out with it together with your source of information. Any idea the actual COSTS involved in opening and running a Subway franchise?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I've financed enough restaurants, which involves seeing their books, to know I will never fucking open or invest in one.

  • Stevecsd||

    I have read over the years that the average Subway franchised restaurant nets about $15,000 to $20,000 a year for the owners. They need to own 2 or 3 to make a living.

  • albo||

    These horrid small business people are ruining Seattle's noble effort to create a workplace progressive utopia. They should be called out and be forced to attend re-education camps.

  • ||

    Or in this case, force him to sell the foot-long.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    No, Seattle is spearhead of the anti prostitution movement as well

  • ||

    You can never win.

  • shawn_dude||

    Or, instead of taxing residents to subsidize Subway's under-paid employees, they could just tax the employers to fund food stamps, welfare, and medicaid.

    Walmart is the same way. Tax payers have to make up the difference between what Walmart pays full time employees and what it costs for them to live (and poorly at that.)

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Seattle could subsidize trips to the farmers market... and roll back "white-privileged, institutional racism."

    lol

  • Zeb||

    Fight racism by subsidizing stuff white people like. Seems legit.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I shouldn't have to pay for Netflix.

  • Eric Bana||

    Netflix is a human right.

  • The_Hoser||

    If they keep subsidizing the farmer's markets, they'll NEVER get the white people to leave.

  • zazoo||

    And no white bread at Subway either, only brown.

  • ||

    Racism has yet to disappear in Seattle

    Citation needed: Seattle is woke, yo.

  • BYODB||

    Insanely high minimum wages directly harm minorities on purpose? Am I doing it right?

  • shawn_dude||

    "Insanely high minimum wages" -- citation needed. Even at $15/hour, minimum wages are dramatically lower (when adjusted for inflation) than they were decades ago.

  • rudehost||

    Citation needed. The federal minimum wage in inflation adjusted dollars peaked at 10.90 in 1968.

  • shawn_dude||

    You're correct. When adjusting for inflation, we peaked at 10.90. My bad. I had just read a piece on adjusting minimum wage based on average wages (making it $11.35) or productivity (making it $18.85.)

    Here is a cite showing your correction:
    Pew Research

    And one showing minimum wage by inflation, average wages, and productivity:
    Economic Policy Institute

    Here's The Economist's take:
    "Yet America as a whole is an outlier among advanced economies. Given the pattern across the rest of the OECD, a group of mostly rich countries, one would expect America, where GDP per person is $53,000, to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour. "

    The Economist

  • GroundTruth||

    The net outcome: In 2016, the "higher" minimum wage actually lowered low-wage workers' earnings by an average of $125 a month.

    That can't be true. I just won't believe it. (Comment made by some random economics-denier).

  • Radioactive||

    MATHS>FEELZ...just sayin.

  • Ron||

    Higher wages means higher taxes which means lower take home pay and thats before your hours are reduced

  • MarkLastname||

    Tony would just accuse the economists who found minimum wage increases to be causing disemployment of fucking their cousins.

  • Paloma||

    That's what happens when you get fired because your employer doesn't want to pay you a living wage. You go home and fuck your cousin.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony should go drink some Drano. Best thing for hm really, his progtardedness is going nowhere.

  • shawn_dude||

    Good. You shouldn't believe it.

    The UW study contradicts other studies along the same lines. It has a sample issue as well. It may be right, but so far it's in the minority when it comes to showing losses. Other studies done at UW show no increase in food costs as a result of the 2016 minimum wage increase. So even UW studies aren't self-consistent.

  • vek||

    BS. If you look into the details of the other studies they showed that job growth slowed as well. It's also impossible to increase costs without increasing consumer prices. It simply doesn't happen. Read some REAL articles on economics if you actually believe all the wrong headed stuff you've been posting on this story. It will be painful to realize all the stuff you've believed your whole life is wrong, but then you can take pride in the fact that you corrected yourself and now know how shit really works. I will give you one reality bomb right now:

    Wrong belief: Increasing wages/taxes/regulations doesn't cost jobs or make businesses move/shutdown!

    Reality: Except it does. I own a business in Seattle, and am moving SPECIFICALLY because of all of the increases in minimum wages, taxes, and regulations here. Unless you think I'm literally the ONLY business owner in the entire world who considers such things, you should rethink the idiotic idea the left spews that is above.

  • shawn_dude||

    Thanks. I have a boatload of hours in various econ classes under my belt. I understand the basics of how increasing wages can create issues and result in price increases. I also understand that different businesses respond differently to the minimum wage increases. I've watched it unfold in my current city of San Francisco, where it include health benefit mandates as well. Some businesses still publish the amount of the increase on their menus/price lists so customers understand where the extra cost comes from. The thing is, most people are willing to pay the small increases in order to give employees healthcare and a more living wage.

    Now, a business that was operating a very low margins and relied on the cheapest labor possible in order to turn a profit would have a tough time with this. Low volume production that relies on hourly labor would be especially hard hit. A business that survives based on its ability to underpay its labor (and society's willingness to then make up the difference in the form of food stamps and other poverty programs) might not be such a great business to be in. Perhaps their capital would be better invested elsewhere.

    But in the aggregate, it hasn't been the huge disaster some people have claimed it would be. Food prices at grocery stores remained mostly constant. Fast food prices jumped a dime or two while families dependent on those jobs now have insurance and a higher income.

  • vek||

    Ugh. You're not savable.

    In short you're throwing away the creation of a bunch more jobs to give people in no skill required jobs an artificially high wage... I'm not even to go into all the wrong that's in your post. Just read more from sane economists. Maybe something will click someday.

  • VinniUSMC||

    "Sadly, the consequences of high minimum wages, excessive taxation, and mandate-happy public policy are not limited to the death of cheap sandwiches. The cost of doing business in Seattle is higher than the Space Needle, and the unintended consequences of those policies are piling up too.

    ....

    the number of hours worked in low-wage jobs has declined by around 9 percent since the start of 2016 "while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent." The net outcome: In 2016, the "higher" minimum wage actually lowered low-wage workers' earnings by an average of $125 a month."

    I wonder, who would've ever guessed this? Surely nobody was smart enough to predict this outcome... Totally.

  • Radioactive||

    someone with the powers of the MATHS and who wasn't afraid to use demm...

  • Finrod||

    Didn't you know? Meritocracy in mathematics is a 'tool of whiteness', according to some idiot that can't count:

    https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10342

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    So is that teacher saying people of color are such poor performers that they can't compete in a world that looks at quality of performance?

  • vek||

    Probably. That's what a lot of people on the left say... While at the same time saying that that's TOTALLY NOT WHAT THEY'RE SAYING.

    Truth is, that Asians can! Most of the others, not so much. It's all in the test scores. There are wide gaps in IQ by race. IQ correlates perfectly with educational outcomes. Hence why they don't do as well. It can be argued that the low IQs are purely environmental, but it's unlikely to be 100%. But this is racist, even though it's backed by every statistic ever compiled on the subject, so shhhhhh don't tell anybody.

  • RPGuy16||

    It doesn't feel true, so it must be false.

  • Brandybuck||

    Damn, progressives are fucking ignorant as to basic first semester economics. It's like they actually believe in the tooth fairy or something. They think that just because they have a placard then magical things will happen.

    There's a tax on soda, but no tax on equally unhealthy coffee drinks. Guess who drinks more soda than fatty sugary coffee drinks? The poor! This is a tax on the poor! It's not even a proper pigouvian tax to "nudge" people into healthier diets, otherwise they would have taxed the hipster drinks too! The sole point of this tax is that the Seattle elite don't like the poor drinking corporate sodas.

    And then they think if the impose a price floor on labor there won't be a labor surplus (ei. unemployment). Fucktards! it doesn't mean businesses will go and lay everyone off, but it does mean they're going to reduce the labor they use. They'll let attrition get rid of the excess, reduce new hires, install automation, etc. They drop sales and raise prices to make up for it.

    Progressives are stupid because they think their good feelz are sufficient for their magical hand waving to result in their wishes coming true.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Love is love, science is real. I read it on a sign in pretty much everyone's front yard.

  • Rhywun||

    no tax on equally unhealthy coffee drinks

    The excuse is that those drinks are "milk-based". That's clever.

    And never mind that equally woke progressives in my town have been demonizing milk for years in favor of water and (sugary!) fruit juice.

  • IceTrey||

    Starbucks isn't in the coffee business they are in the coffee flavored milk business.

  • sarcasmic||

    Intentions. Raising minimum wage is intended to help the poor by forcing greedy employers to dip into their unlimited profits and pay a living wage, and if you disagree then you have bad intentions. Taxing tobacco is intended to discourage people from buying deadly products, and if you disagree then you have bad intentions.

    Economic laws can be changed with legislation backed by good intentions.

    Anyone who disagrees is motivated by bad intentions, and must be ignored.

    See? Intentions are magic.

  • DarrenM||

    There is a very simple solution to all this. Since employers make obscene profits on the backs of their slave labor (as any good Lefty knows), instead of workers protesting they should just become employers themselves then they can make obscene profits, too. In fact, the government can pass a law mandating that everyone become an employer. This way we can eliminate welfare and other entitlements.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    O, that is good. Tres bien!

  • Conchfritters||

    If everyone became a business owner and had to pay estimated taxes every three months, you would see real tax reform occur pretty quickly.

  • Paloma||

    Experts with good intentions are the driving force and greatest good for progressives.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Oh, but they did tax the hipster drinks...but at only a cent per ounce, not 1.75 cents like they added for teh eeeebil corporate sodas. You wouldn't want to have to see the insufferable hipster tech fags that drink Rachel's Ginger Beer ugly cry at a city council meeting, would you?

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Slake my thirst for hipster tech fag derision

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    By tacking another 1.75 cents onto every ounce of sweetened beverage purchased within the city, then-mayor Ed Murray promised, Seattle could subsidize trips to the farmers market, pay for free community college, and roll back "white-privileged, institutional racism."

    I made the mistake of passing by NPR and heard a segment on the awful state of Baltimore's public schools. The woman being interviewed said there was one reason, and one reason only for the sorry state of Ballmer's pub education: Institutional Racism.

    All these places have all this institutional racism-- and the people running the fucking joints are the ones screaming it. Funny that.

  • DesigNate||

    Well, she's not wrong. Democrats are HUGE fucking racists.

  • DarrenM||

    Democrats are HUGE fucking racists.

    Then they need to go on a diet.

  • ByteRot||

    That's what the soda tax is for.

  • ||

    I made the mistake of passing by NPR and heard a segment on the awful state of Baltimore's public schools.

    After the hubbub about Gillespie's "Why don't they just move?" story, I couldn't help but laugh when NPR ran a story about how, in New York, 1% of the tax base pays 50% of the taxes (you mean OWS didn't fix that?) and, because of Trump's Tax Cuts they won't be able to deduct it from their federal taxes. The prevailing feeling is that (this time, it's different, and...) they may be forced to move. They'll have to see what DeBlasio does with his tax plan (which is touted as taxing more/raising money). It was just hilarious.

  • shawn_dude||

    Or, you know, it could be related to the way the state and counties fund the schools. You're assuming the "institution" in "institutional racism" is the school itself. It might be the way more tax monies are sent to richer (and whiter) districts to pay for computers and other equipment while poorer (and non-white) schools are under-funded and don't have the same access to modern equipment or highly qualified teachers.

    In your leap to reinforce your pre-existing belief you appear to have discarded both empathy and imagination.

  • vek||

    You know, I grew up without computers in most of my classrooms as a kid... And SOMEHOW I learned how to read, write, and do math just fine. It's government incompetence across the board that fucks the schools. Many of the best school districts in the country have some of the lowest funding. Money does not equal results in government.

  • shawn_dude||

    Luckily, I went to a school that got a lot of that extra cash and we had computers. As a computer-literate person, it's much easier for me to get jobs. I had access to the internet in college (before it became publicly available) and that experience put me ahead of the game in a world that would shortly rely deeply on the internet for business and education.

    So we both learned how to read, write, and do math without computers. Hurray for us. But the kids who did have computers learned a lot more and got a leg up on everyone else. If education is about getting good employment, and we only offer the best education to the wealthier (and whiter) classes, that's institutional racism.

  • vek||

    We had a computer lab at school, but my father also owned computers from before I was born.

    You missed my entire point though. My point was that funding is not correlated to success in our school system. Poorly funded districts frequently get better results than those that are throwing money at things like crazy.

    The takeaway from that is that it's SOMETHING ELSE going on, not lack of cash. We spent far less per pupil in inflation adjusted terms back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, etc and had far better scores than kids do today at the same ages! So if they had zero computers, less money, and still got better results... Maybe we should figure out what it was that made things work better back then with less money. Once we've done that we can figure out how many computers, and what budget schools actually need to do well.

  • marshaul||

    You really are ignorant. In my state (which is not at all uncommon in this regard), schools are payed for primarily at the county level using county taxes. The only funds which are "sent to" districts go to under-funded districts which do not have a sufficient "local ability to pay" for schooling to meet "standards of quality".

    It might be inherently classist to structure things such that the rich and poor predominantly pay for their own schools, respectively, but it isn't racist. And to the extent that there is funding at the state level it is directly tied to underperformance.

    So, no, nothing you said is even sort of right.

  • marshaul||

    You really are ignorant. In my state (which is not at all uncommon in this regard), schools are payed for primarily at the county level using county taxes. The only funds which are "sent to" districts go to under-funded districts which do not have a sufficient "local ability to pay" for schooling to meet "standards of quality".

    It might be inherently classist to structure things such that the rich and poor predominantly pay for their own schools, respectively, but it isn't racist. And to the extent that there is funding at the state level it is directly tied to underperformance.

    So, no, nothing you said is even sort of right.

  • vek||

    Except for all of the most fucked up places are not only Democrats, but MINORITY DEMOCRATS. Baltimore, Detroit, on and on, they have governments that have been run by mostly black people for decades. So we're supposed to believe the black people are racist against black people... But in fact they must be EVEN MORE RACIST against black people than white people, since areas that are run by white conservatives of course have better scores, including for their black students.

    What kind of a twisted mind THAT all makes sense in is beyond my comprehension. Of course they don't think it that far through sooooooo...

  • BYODB||


    The cost of doing business in Seattle is higher than the Space Needle, and the unintended consequences of those policies are piling up too.


    Well you know what they say; foreseeable consequences aren't unintended consequences.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    T-34s doing donuts in front of the Reichstag was a foreseeable consequence of Operation Barbarossa, but I'm pretty sure Adolf wasn't foreseeing that when he gave the order to invade.

    "Foreseeable" is a contraction of "foreseeable by non-morons".

  • NoVaNick||

    I'm sure the progs in Seattle, SF, and NYC, who claim they are trying to help poor people with $15 minimum wage don't really give a rats ass about Subway or any fast food, which they scoff at. They want "those people" to be paying $15 for a fair trade, organic, gluten-free tofu flatbread just like they do.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Listen to them long enough, the snotty locavore progs will say something that is basically a variant of "if we got all those fatassed poors to eat tiny portions of expensive organic tofu and line-caught wild salmon and kale and quinoa and wash it down with Evian like we do, they'd be thin and almost acceptable."

  • ||

    If Seattle Americans can't keep up with the cost of living wages, why don't they just move?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Jacket hardest hit!

  • NoVaNick||

    I would prefer that they stay where they are and suffer the consequences, or better yet, come to their senses and vote these idiots out. Unfortunately, they have the habit of bringing their bad voting habits with them wherever they move, and drive up rents and cost of living for everyone else...

  • Paper Wasp||

    Thanks, I did.

  • Longtobefree||

    The cost of doing business in Seattle is higher than the Space Needle, and the unintended consequences of those policies are piling up too.

    The consequences are fully intended. Not a single one was unknown at the time of passage, so they are intentional.
    Democrats hate the poor except on election day.

  • DarrenM||

    Some needs to spellcheck that sign.

  • CE||

    the tax has had the more immediate effect of hiking the price of a can of Coke by 20 cents, making a typical 36-can case of soft drink now $7.56 more expensive.

    Pretty sure that's 21 cents per can.

  • The_Hoser||

    Stop your racist math!

  • nicmart||

    There have been reports that Subway franchisees all over the country are up in arm at the return of the 5 buck foot-long. They claim that they will lose money on it.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Here's that sign, courtesy of Krisitin Ellis, an executive assistant at the Washington Policy Center, who tells Reason she spotted the dismaying sign yesterday afternoon while picking up a veggie footlong in the SoDo neighborhood:

    Not only did you spell her name wrong, you reported the disgusting sandwich she ordered.

    Holy hell.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    I, too, was revolted by the revelation of her "sandwich" selection.

    No Gusto!

  • Juice||

    SoDo neighborhood

    Welcome Home.

  • Eric Bana||

    "If they can't pay a living wage, then they shouldn't be in business in the first place!"

    Business shuts down because revenue is less than expenditures.

    "There aren't enough jobs! Free market dogma has failed again!"

  • Mickey Rat||

    And complaints about "food deserts" as well.

  • Paper Wasp||

    "If they can't pay a living wage, then they shouldn't be in business in the first place!"

    Subway is replaced by trendy restaurant that charges $16 for an organic, farm-to-table sandwich and $5 for a local craft soda.

    "Food is too expensive! Low-income people cannot afford meals out!"

  • Grooveman||

    The first law of economics is scarcity. The first law of politics is to ignore the first law of economics.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    and the unintended consequences of those policies are piling up too

    Saying that the consequences are unintended is too generous by half. I think the assholes who imposed these policies know damn well what the consequences are but don't give a fuck. They won't have to suffer the consequences themselves. And the sickest of the fuckers look forward to "fixing" the consequences with yet more interventions.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    What is dismaying about that sign? Not woke enough? bad intentions from the owner?

  • IceTrey||

    And the precariat grows.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    It it costs $6 to make a sandwich and you can't sell it for $5 and make a profit then you shouldn't be in business to begin with!

    /progderp

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    Alright! BIG win for Tony! You guys cut that greedy capitalist pig down, didn't you Tony?!

    Now if we could just get that minimum wage up to $20/hour......

  • cc2||

    $15/hr is starting wage in Chicago for college graduates (in general). The idea that someone taking your order at a fast food place should make the same is looney toons. Why stop at $15? Why not mandate that everyone make $50/hr? Or $100/hr?

  • Tionico||

    Leave it to Costco to put the toll of the new tax front and centre, and unavoidably seen. Remember back when Costco helped bring about the end of the state's liquor control board's monopoly on all liquor sales, mandating tht they be able to be sold by grocery stores and privete retailers? Walked into a Costco not long after, and their huge price signs above the product listed four items:
    cost of the bottle of booze, cost of the "litre tax", cost of the exise or liquore board's special booze tax, then the state retail sales tax on the total of the earlier three. I had just returned from California and had bought a bottle of their Kirkland brand 1.75 litre vodka... for $16. That same product and package, in fact, same "item number" in the Washington Costco cost a whopping $38. So whenever I'm south of the COlumbia River, wanting some hootch, and have some cash to melt, I stock up. Let's see now, how many cases would I have to bring back home to refund the cost of the fuel burned on the trip? Not many.. and I'd a whole lot rather see my money going up in tailpipe smoke than feed the greedy trolls in the Marble Zoo on the hill in Olympia.

  • DrZ||

    Wait, the left wants to help the poor. By artificially raising wages, you can create more poor people and you will then have more people to help.

    It all makes sense if you see it through the eyes of a liberal.

  • Tionico||

    remember that Seattle is the same city tht imposed a hefty tax on all gunsales within city limits, and another hefty one on all ammunition sales within city limits. Never mind such a tax is illegel per state law, they did it anyway and said MAKE ME>

    They had predicted huge revenue numbers to come in from the tax..... but the city's largest gun store, an independent, told the city hooh hahs if you pass that tax I WILL move my business outside the city limits. Council thought he was bluffing, so the passed it. As soon as they did,, he went real estate shopping, secured a new location just outside Seattle, closed his FFL at the former location and got a new one for the new place. Other stores dropped all firearms and ammunition sales lines, and the huge volume of predicted revenue never happened... in fact, since ALL the tax monies that used to go to Seattle from all these businesses ended, Seattle has enjoyed a signficant overall loss in revenue. Not only did they not get the new tax, they also lost all the existing tax they used to get. Looks good on them. Someone forgot to read about the Laffer Curve.......

  • vek||

    Yup! My dad had to go buy his AR15 in Bothell instead of the shop he used to go to in Seattle city limits in the past! Idiots. I can't wait to move from this place...

  • tommhan||

    Yeah, nobody saw this coming huh?

  • Mark22||

    Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It's Intending to Help

    No, it's not. The $15 minimum wage is supposed to help union bosses and Democratic donors and politicians, and it's doing exactly that.

  • Craig Johnston||

    This is a win-win for progressive politicians: they get to be seen as giving stuff to their constituents while letting the economic realities make those same constituents' lives' worse, fueling class warfare and motivating their base. Is it more disrespectful to think they didn't understand this or that they did?

  • Liberty Lover||

    Every deal eventually goes away. It is called inflation. Inflation is a government policy to tax us to death. It is a hidden tax. I am old enough to remember the 10 cent beer. Try to find that now days.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    JB Stoner and George Wallace were morons.

    THIS is how you get the riff-raff out of your city.

  • vek||

    I live in Seattle... But not for long. I'm taking me, and my business, out of this city. My main business hasn't been effected much by the specific bad laws they've passed here, but a newer side business that has the potential to grow a lot would be KILLED and basically made unprofitable if I were to scale it up here. So I'm definitely bailing the city, but probably the whole state.

    It rarely gets mentioned but they passed a $13.50 STATE minimum wage a bit back that will be phasing in over the next few years too. Hence bailing the state. I'm sure I'm not the only one. All these laws don't hurt a company like Amazon because of the types of employees they have etc. But they absolutely make it impossible for many other types of businesses to be here.

    Living on even $15 an hour would be brutal in the city proper, but it's a starting wage... Now they're going to lose all the upper level guys at types of businesses that need SOME minimum wage type employees, but also have better paid people too. If you can't make it work here because of the minimum wage no $20 an hour shift leads, or $30 an hour managers or accountants, etc. They'll all be gone.

    It'll be just like my home state of California. When I was a kid there was a lot of diverse types of businesses there. Now everything except a few high wage industries is mostly gone, and then the service workers to make the lattes for the techies. No more middle middle class jobs left compared to when I was a kid 20-30 years ago.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Tow truck engineers, waste retrieval technicians, spare change consultants, turd unclogging warrant technicians and methodists all agree

  • vek||

    LOL WUT???

    But probably.

  • shawn_dude||

    The UW study has some issue and isn't even consistent with other studies done at UW on the pay raise. So I would put to much weight on it. A similar study done by Berkeley found no detectable change in hours worked for food services.

    UW vs Berkeley studies

    Something to bear in mind is that under our current safety net system, taxpayers essentially make up for the extremely low income of minimum wage workers through food stamps, welfare, medicaid, and other programs. If the employer has to provide things like health care and a living wage, the tax payers don't need to subsidize low wage employment to the same degree. Subway could only offer those deals because Joe Taxpayer was subsidizing Subway's cost of employment.

  • vek||

    Not really dude. In places that AREN'T Seattle, you can scrape by on minimum wage. You also ignore that most minimum wage workers aren't the sole workers, and that most of them are very young and will be making more by the time they're "proper adults."

    As for the Berkeley study, that's because they ONLY looked at food workers. You know other types of jobs exist in Seattle besides baristas and Ramen noodle shops right? People at other types of establishments lost hours, and probably food workers too. The Berkeley study was biased to that conclusion from the get go. Learn something about economics dude. There are tradeoffs. You can't simply decree people more money and expect there not to be blowback. I know people that work in restaurants in Seattle. Many have had hours cut, or in other cases they've had to fire their shittiest employees and find better ones because the shitty ones couldn't produce enough to be worth $15 an hour.

  • Mark22||

    A similar study done by Berkeley found no detectable change in hours worked for food services.

    That's likely true; however, those are not the same workers. That is, if you force businesses to pay $15/h, they are going to fire workers worth less and replace them with workers that deliver $15 in productivity. That's why you usually don't see a lot of job losses or reductions in hours worked even though minimum wage fails to deliver on its promises.

    Something to bear in mind is that under our current safety net system, taxpayers essentially make up for the extremely low income of minimum wage workers through food stamps, welfare, medicaid, and other programs.

    Minimum wage in Seattle is about average income in much of Europe, and it's 50% higher than minimum wage even in wealthy Germany. And cities like Seattle are actually cheaper to live in than big European cities.

  • Mark22||

    Seattle's Minimum Wage Killed the 'Five-Dollar Footlong'

    No more cheap male hookers in Seattle I guess.

  • Empress Trudy||

    In Raleigh, franchises never had it either. They charge $5.50

  • FreedomIsBetterThanLiberty||

    If the average low wage worker is making $125 less since the wage hikes, then why are businesses raising the price of $5 footlongs.

    Sounds like more ideology than fact.

  • shawn_dude||

    I think they are assuming that the average worker is having their hours cut so that they are paid less even with the increase. That makes no sense in the case of a fast food restaurant that is open specific hours and hires a set number of employees to meet demand. If they cut the hours of one worker, they have to either raise the hours of another or hire another (or cut business hours.) Did Subway cut business hours? Doesn't appear so.

    Raising prices was the solution here in San Francisco when our wages increased.

  • marshaul||

    San Francisco, that explains it. I did some college in San Francisco (finished elsewhere). Every non-engineering class I took there was a complete joke. No attempt made at objectivity or considering the other side.

    This easily explains the disconnect between your "hours of economics classes" and the comments you post here.

    To address your most recent sophistry, total working hours is not solely or even primarily dependent on hours and demand. There are numerous other responses: 1. providing less customer service, especially for roles which only indirectly effect profits (e.g. order-taking can be automated, usually starting with to-go orders, but in the case of many small-margin restaurants, all order taking) 2. placing more burden on higher-paid employees who justify the new minimum wage, 3. cutting perks (e.g. free food), 4. replacing workers with illegal immigrants (not something I personally have an issue with, but having lived in San Francisco I can attest that this is an extremely popular option in low-margin businesses, especially restaurants.

    Thanks to competition outside city limits with these sorts of low-margin businesses, you can pretty much guarantee that if you _are_ seeing a price increase, that's because the business has already made all the conceivable above cuts, and more.

  • marshaul||

    To address your most recent sophistry, total working hours is not solely or even primarily dependent on business* hours and demand.

  • Flinch||

    You're singing my tune, brother. Allow me to assist with the standard contractors lament.
    You have a customer that wants something done ASAP. You have the tools/know how and material to make it happen. You also have employees who are willing to work some extra hours to pay off that car note or whatever. Sounds like a trifecta? Wrong. It's ALL STOP. The correct response to this scenario is typically "next week", because the 20% after tax margins the business has are destroyed by 50% overruns on labor costs thanks to overtime regulations. So, nothing is solved, and both the business owner and employee get to go home and suck on it over the weekend, while the average customer drifts and chews his or her nails wondering if their contractor is a complete flake. You better make that call on monday, no matter what the schedule will be and keep them from bouncing off the walls.
    Personally, I don't want to work 7 days a week... but I defer to somebody else's wisdom which said "a 40 hour work week is for losers". To that end, I'd like to see overtime bumped up to something less punitive to our economy - 46 hours would be nice. That allows for that extra hour or so on some jobs, or leaves room for a half day on saturday to tie up loose ends.

  • Liberty Lover||

    Because they now have an excuse to do so.

  • Liberty Lover||

    When I started working at minimum wage it was a $1.60 an hour. Why has it went up? Inflation. Who manipulates inflation. The Fed. That is where the problem lies.

  • Flinch||

    Duh. The purpose of minimum wage laws is twofold: raise taxes on the poor, and attack the middle class. The tax method is simple and uses the proverbial 'boiling frog' method - do not provide 1:1 relief as people get shoved into higher tax brackets, just something shy of that mark, say... 90% or so. As for the middle class, they get bashed with uncushioned [read zero access to welfare, subsidies, or special "credits"] cost of living increases that bring their standard of living down just slightly.
    Why? Because when wages are set across the board by government, everything hits all at once - it's not even the same ballpark as when 30% [or whatever] of any community gets a raise that year, and usually in staggered fashion.
    So the state of Washington has failed to protect itself from the loons that left places like San Francisco to pollute Oregon, and then move north once again like locusts.
    So socialism kills. The first victim is upward mobility, the second the economy, and when you finally sink to the Venezuelan level it kills people - because anarchy follows system meltdown. Are we as a nation about to have to sever ties with Pacific states for the sake of the union? I wonder...

  • Galane||

    What's the opposite of succession? We, the majority of the country, don't want you in our clubhouse anymore. "It's not us, it's you." "You suck, go away."

    What do you call a war when the fight is to forcibly expel a region that wants to stay instead of fighting to make a region stay that wants to split off?

  • Pat001||

    Maybe people no longer like sandwiches that are mostly bread and lettuce.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Forget it, Jake; it's Seattle!

  • Eman||

    subway's is fake food!!!

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