Today (May 1) Seattle citizens learned of a proposed plan to raise the city’s hourly minimum wage to US$15 over the next several years. If the plan is approved by local lawmakers, it would affect around 100,000 residents, and it would be the highest hourly minimum wage rate in the world when spending power is taken into account, surpassing Luxembourg’s current rate of $13.35. Seattle seems to be following in the footsteps of the nearby suburb of SeaTac, which raised its minimum wage to $15 several months ago.
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What’s the Big Idea?
The fight to raise the national minimum wage took yet another hit in Congress this week when the Republicans blocked the Democrats’ proposed hike to $10.10. Writer Tim Fernholz notes the basic challenge involved in raising the wage: While it “may lead to a reduction of low-skill jobs that can be done more productively with new technology, it also is an extremely effective poverty-reduction tool.” Seattle’s willingness to take on the challenge “will present a useful natural experiment for economists.”