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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 11, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Minimum wage: helpful or hurtful?

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage applaud behind a speaker at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 26 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage applaud behind a speaker at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 26 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SeaTac Proposition 1 requires a $15 wage and some paid sick days for about 6,500 workers at the airport and related businesses. The voting results are important because they could guide the conversation for higher minimum wages throughout Washington and the U.S. Proponents believe this measure will ease poverty and increase consumer spending, thus boosting the economy. Opponents believe the measure will force businesses to raise prices and cut staff, hurting the economy. Articles from last weekend highlighted Seattle joining the fight for a higher $15 minimum wage.

Below readers share their thoughts:

$15 is too much

Raising the minimum wage to $15 will harm businesses, employees and those trying to get jobs [“SeaTac $15 minimum wage survives recount,” NWTuesday, Dec. 10].

If businesses have to pay their workers nearly $6 more per hour, that would increase their costs. To accommodate for the higher wages, companies would lay people off and hire less frequently.

Also, young people just entering the workforce will have an even harder time finding a job. If employers are paying their workers so much, they will want someone with experience and not someone new to work.

A lot of minimum-wage jobs are entry-level, and they need to stay available for those trying to gain experience, and not adjusted to help those attempting to live off a low-paying job. Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the country. Raising it even more will not be good for an already weak economy. There may be room for a minor increase, but $15 is irrational and excessive.

Tori Ballantyne, Mountlake Terrace

Raising the minimum wage would improve the health of individuals, families and the community

In its editorial, The Times suggests that the $15 minimum wage be evaluated based upon the quantitative aspects of “jobs gained and lost, consumer spending and business investment” [“Try the $15 minimum wage in SeaTac first,” Opinion, Dec. 9].

The editorial concluded by suggesting that we take more time to assess “wider negative consequences” of this legislation before Seattle takes on this issue. What you fail to mention are all of the positive aspects of increasing the minimum wage that have to do with the quality of life, not the quantity of growth.

Given all of the people who live with the constant stress of making ends meet, increasing the minimum wage would reduce this stress and conceivably would contribute to the health of individuals — thus, reducing the need for medical services often funded by the public.

People who have to work two or three low-paying jobs to make ends meet would have more time to spend with their families, particularly with their children, if at least one job would pay them $15 per hour — thus, improving the health of families.

Society as a whole would benefit because people who get paid a livable wage would have more time and energy to give back to the community — thus, making for a healthier environment for all citizens.

Rev. Ron Moe-Lobeda, Seattle

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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


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