Seattle Mayor Edward Murray proposed a highest-in-the-nation $15-an-hour minimum wage last week. But with a push by President Barack Obama and left-leaning lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, Seattle might as well be Anytown, USA.
The Fiscal Times reported that some fast food restaurants on military bases are closing ahead of a $10.10-per-hour minimum wage for federal contractors, set to take effect by 2015. An executive order by Obama mandated the wage hike.
The business closures might be a bellwether for how a nationwide wage hike would fare as some businesses preemptively close because they can’t afford to pay their employees more. What good is $10.10 an hour if you can’t get that job?
The problem with a nationwide wage increase is that it could hurt the people it’s supposed to benefit the most if employers have to dismiss workers who perform non-essential tasks. Take the college student at the grocery checkout, for instance.
There’s also a potential impact to consumers who could end up paying double for that burger at McDonald’s in addition to paying extra for products that they absolutely need—like groceries.
I’m not especially fond of the self-checkout line at the grocery store—I doubt I’m the only one. But if having to choose between lower prices from doing it themselves and giving a job to the checkout girl, the budget conscious are probably going to prefer to pay less. And so will employers.