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TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore

Dave Ross

Raise the federal minimum wage to $9!?

In this Feb. 13, 2013 photo, President Barack Obama speaks to workers and guests at the Linamar Corporation plant in Arden, N.C. Obama says raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour and tying future increases to inflation will raise the incomes of millions living in poverty and spur job growth. Business groups are not so sure. They complain that boosting the federal rate from $7.25 an hour would discourage employers from hiring new workers, hurting the very people Obama aims to help. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

President Obama is pushing for a $9 federal minimum wage. That worries small business owners - like this restaurant owner in Aubrey Texas, "I have actually a couple choices, close down. The other choice is to increase prices."

One side argues the minimum wage pushes unemployment up, by making workers more expensive. The other side argues it pushes unemployment down by giving workers more to spend. It depends on whether you're looking at people as employees or customers.

But we all need to pause, reach for a bottle of water, take a sip, and relax for a moment.

Because all of us are both employees AND customers.

In Washington State the minimum wage has been indexed to inflation for years, and just hit $9.19. And yes unemployment in Washington State is at about 7.6 percent. Nothing to brag about. But that's the same as the unemployment rate in West Virginia, where the minimum is almost $2 less, it's the same as Tennessee which has no minimum wage, and it's lower than in Georgia where the state minimum wage is only $5.15, but unemployment is about 8.6 percent.

And I think the reason the $9 wage hasn't crippled Washington State is that the $9 ends up being spent pretty quickly at other businesses.

The way I look at it, we all need a place to live, we all gotta eat. And if we can't get it by working, we'll get it from the government, or by moving in with relatives. Which means when wages shrink - government grows, and you're gonna have company in the spare bedroom.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FMTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author


Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.

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