If you've read this week's cover story on Portland's nascent minimum wage debate, you know there are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the $15 wage activists are pushing. And you also know Seattle's wading through many of those questions as it takes concrete steps toward raising its own minimum wage (probably to $15).
That's both very useful and kind of disappointing. Useful because Seattle's a smart city, and it's nice that these fraught concepts are being met with research and a lot of discussion up there. It would only make our own conversations about raising the minimum wage easier in the long run. Disappointing because I'm sick of following Seattle, which I guess is just some weird civic insecurity.
Our sister paper, The Stranger, has been all over Seattle's discussion, and if you're curious about how it's going, check out this coverage of an all day wage symposium yesterday. Or this treatise from some one-percenters who are pushing a $15 wage. Or this.
And here's a study [pdf], prepared for the Seattle discussion by University of California, Berkeley, researchers about what effects heightening a city's minimum wage can have. As we reported in the story, consensus among economists is that employment is barely hampered—if it's hampered at all—by minimum wage increases. But with a big step up to $15, no one's really sure.