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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Increasing the minimum wage

Perspective over time

Workers from Sea-Tac Airport held a rally in July near SeaTac City Hall in support of a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for many airport workers. The city council voted to put the measure on the ballot in November. [Mark Harrison, The Seattle Times.]

Workers from Sea-Tac Airport held a rally in July near SeaTac City Hall in support of a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for many airport workers. The city council voted to put the measure on the ballot in November. [Mark Harrison, The Seattle Times.]

I would like to provide some perspective in the discussion regarding the minimum-wage issue. [“SeaTac’s $15 wage initiative draws big money, attention,” NW Friday, Aug. 23.]

In 1966, I was released from military service and started my career as an architect in training, in Norfolk, Va. I was paid $3 per hour. I had a wife, two kids, two cars, life insurance, money in the bank and vacation time. At that time, the federal minimum wage was $1.25 per hour.

As we all know, the cost of living has increased nearly tenfold in the intervening 47 years. However, if we take ten times as a mean increase, that would put the $3 salary at $30 per hour, and the corresponding minimum wage at $12.50.

The current professional salary is close to this increase; the minimum wage is not. The $15 hourly wage being requested is reasonable.

Employers say this will ruin their business. That is highly unlikely, since employees would then have the money to purchase their employers’ products.

John Wade, Bainbridge Island

 

Comments | More in Economy, Politics, Seattle | Topics: business, cost of living, employees

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