$15/hour minimum wage
Roosevelt said that ‘no business deserves to operate in America that cannot afford
to pay a living wage to their employees.’ $15/hr full time is not even at that level,
but let’s start there. The minimum wage of 1960, 2 years after I was born would be
more than $15/hour now. If productivity gains were included it would be over
$20/hour. We see businesses all over the city with ‘help wanted’ signs for minimum
Of course, the cry will come that ‘raising the minimum wage will cost these poor
people jobs! Don’t steal their employment!’ The reality is that at this level increases
on the minimum wage have been shown to be at, or less than 0.6%. It will be a net
gain for workers. And for employers? No detectable increase in business failure rate
has been detected when raising the minimum wage. Nor has there been a
detectable increase in migration rate. Economists across the world recognize that,
at some level of increase we will see an increase in unemployment and business
failure or migration to lower cost areas. But not at the increase levels discussed.
A reasonable increase in the minimum wage will actually increase economic activity
and have a positive effect on traffic.
2 years ago several people told me about the traffic coming off Lakemont Ave.; that
there were days it took 1 1/2 hours to travers the 1.5 miles down the hill to I90, and
in the evening to make the trip back up the hill.
Not all areas of the city are as poorly served. Where I live, on the B line on NE 8th
I’m a few minutes from downtown - and buses come every 15 minutes throughout
the day. But unless you live on a main line or nearby it’s a long hike or no service at
all. As a city we have options. Metro is increasing bus service again, but it may take us
paying more to get the service we need - the service a modern city requires. I will
open discussions with Metro and the county and help determine what service is
optimal. After all, Metro provides a service. Customers will come if the service
provided is easy and convenient. They won’t take the bus every time, but they will
take it more - freeing up precious space on the freeways and main lines. Choice is
Housing costs on the Eastside have exploded. If we had to buy it over my wife and I
could not afford the house we bought 27 years ago, even with twice the mean
income. We need more affordable units, and not just for the poorest. 2 years ago
only 12% of the service professionals in the city lived here, and it’s because they
could not afford it. We need more affordable housing. Two efforts have not worked -
building it whole from government resources and asking developers nicely. It’s time
to start insisting that new projects include more affordable housing. Other options
should be on the table too. Are we willing to allow multi family tenancy in
neighborhoods? What about so-called ‘mother-in-law apartments, should those be
allowed, and where?
*** APPEARANCES ***
Randy Grein will be appearing soon at events near you.