The plight of minimum-wage workers
The SeaTac experiment is extreme in the sense that it far exceeds even an inflation-adjusted increase for the minimum wage over the years [“Backers of SeaTac’s $15 wage floor eye Seattle,” page one, Nov. 7].
The Washington state minimum wage of $1.25 in 1963 would be equivalent to about $9.41 in today’s terms. So Washington is not far off the mark in inflationary terms. Unfortunately the rest of the nation has not kept pace.
If the federal government and/or the states had instituted an automatic inflation adjustment for the minimum wage from its inception, some of the extreme reactions we are seeing now could perhaps have been avoided. What is troubling is that folks who make $20 or $25 — after decades in careers that require specialized training — do not qualify for the kinds of additional subsidies and tax benefits that a relatively untrained $15 fast-food worker in SeaTac would receive. This reverse inequity is not receiving as much attention as the plight of minimum-wage workers, most of whom are on their way to some other career.
Jeff McGregor, Auburn