What do Tacoma, Bernie Sanders, and the Pope have in common?
According to AM 770 KTTH’s David Boze, the three unrelated parties have a backward view of how wages should work.
“Imagine if you had started a business and had calculated what your expenses were going to be, and discovered, via a mandate, that your labor expenses were going to go up dramatically. Tens of thousands or more a year,” Boze said. “How would you get the money?”
“Maybe you can’t,” he said. “If you raise your prices on your gourmet ice cream, people will just go to McDonald’s and get soft-serve.”
The minimum wage conversation continues in Washington as the movement to raise the rate in Tacoma is heating up. The current minimum wage movement echoes Seattle’s successful $15 per hour wage hike. The city’s current minimum wage is that of the state’s, $9.47.
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, however, has her own proposal of $12 per hour. The Tacoma City Council will discuss Strickland’s proposal during its Tuesday meeting.
The difference between the two wage hikes, aside from $3, is that the $15 option would be implemented quickly and the mayor’s proposal would slowly increase wages to $12 over two years. It would initially rise to $10.35 in 2016 and then to $11.15 in 2017. The full $12 minimum wage would go into effect in 2018, according to The News Tribune.
The ballot measure will appear as such on the ballot: “Should either of these measures be enacted into law?”
Following that question, voters will then be asked: “Regardless of whether you voted yes or no above, if one these measures is enacted, which one should it be? Measure No. 1 or Measure No. 1B?”
Measure 1B is the mayor’s $12 proposal.
If voters approve the first part of the question, then whichever option receives the most votes in the second part will be enacted.
But raising the minimum wage won’t save anyone struggling in Tacoma, Boze said.
“Rather than it actually helping people, it will hurt people,” he said. “What will happen is other people that were at $15 are going to say, ‘I’m not going to stay at minimum wage.’ So they’re going to be bumped up.”
And that has an inflationary effect, Boze said.
He also argued that setting the minimum wage at $15 an hour, as even Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has proposed, doesn’t make sense when America’s communities are not all the same.
“The entire United States is a vast patchwork with cost of living differences; $15 an hour in Seattle is not $15 an hour in Tacoma, much less $15 an hour in parts of Oklahoma or Louisiana, or parts of Mississippi or Alabama, or Detroit for that matter,” Boze said, noting that the median house value is different in Seattle — where a $15 minimum wage already passed — than in Tacoma.
“Tacoma should want to be more competitive than Seattle. Instead they could find themselves less competitive,” Boze said. “We’re a free country. If I want to work for $10 an hour to get the experience I need, why should I be prohibited from doing so? Why should it be illegal between me and someone that wants to offer me that money. But you have a third party coming in and saying ‘No we can’t allow that.'”
Which Boze to the topic of the Pope, who made headlines recently railing against the same free-market principals that $15 per hour activists oppose.
“The Pope, while he was making his South American tour … before a crowd of leftist activists, he condemned the injustices of a capitalist system that puts profits ahead of people and denies people basic rights of land, lodging and labor,” Boze said, partially quoting the Pope.
But by placing such things as lodging as rights, you can argue that wage is a right in order to obtain that lodging.
“If you call land, lodging and labor a right, then somehow now you are going to have to enslave other people to give it to somebody else,” Boze said. “Once you call it a right, then it means you can’t be denied it. But in order to get it, you have to enslave other people.”
“And by the way, what he was advocating for, was more poverty, unintentionally. His focus on the anti-capitalist message ignored the fact that the greatest alleviation of poverty in the past four decades has been thanks to free-market reforms,” he said. “The farther you get away from them, the more people get poorer and their standard of living goes down.”