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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 11, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Minimum wage: Hard for small businesses, self-employed to adapt

The Seattle Times especially well-written editorial on the minimum wage proposal for the City of Seattle may give pause for those who view a $15-an-hour wage a welcome step up to the middle class for the working poor ["An economic gamble in Seattle as $15 minimum wage becomes reality," Opinion, May 3]. As the editorial points out, it’s more complex than first glance suggests.

The May 6 Wall Street Journal has a further observation on minimum wage that delves deeper into the practical issues and is a worthwhile read. It lays out the reality for both the self-employed (such as myself) and the soon-to-be-unemployed who will be applying for government assistance because they lost their jobs to a small business employer who can no longer afford to pay them.

Then there are those not covered by the new minimum wage: the self-employed trying to get their businesses started while paying their employees more than they are making themselves — which is sometimes nothing.

About 30 years ago, I recall reading that 70 percent of American businesses have four or fewer employees, and that 80 percent of businesses have eight or fewer employees. I don’t know whether these statistics remain accurate, but it makes one aware of the breadth of application the minimum wage increase would have on American employers.

John May, Bellevue

Comments | More in minimum wage | Topics: $15 minimum wage, John May, Minimum Wage

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