Employment policy links

Activists this morning filed a Seattle city charter amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2015. The measure calls for a three-year phase-in for small business and non-profit organizations and defines a small business as any with 250 or fewer full-time employees.

Monday-morning managers who suggest that I cut executive staff are off base. Even if my executive staff works for free, that would still not cover the cost. . . . We serve people, not burgers. If the minimum wage is increased, we cannot pass the added cost onto our customers. Paradoxically, our customers are for the most part indigent. The federal and state government picks up their tab.

Also, note something else in Reich’s statement above. He writes: “But because the higher minimum will also attract more workers into the job market, employers will have more choice of whom to hire . . .” I think he’s right. With employers being more choosy, some employees get left behind. And who are they? The ones who are least productive. Reich has made a substantial concession, whether or not he realizes it.

[O]ver the past few years, many of these [multi-employer pension] plans have already failed, and those that haven’t are headed for disaster unless something changes. . . . This is more evidence, if any was needed, that defined-benefit plans are far, far less stable than 401-k style defined-contribution plans.