To Be Fair, You Were Warned

Seattle minimum wage workers discover exactly what everyone has been telling them about huge minimum wage hikes all along; they destroy jobs.  Their jobs.


Pizza shop worker Devin Jeran was excited about the raise that was coming his way thanks to Seattle’s new $15 an hour minimum wage law. Or at least he was until he found out that it would cost him his job.
Jeran will only see a bigger paycheck until August when his boss has to shut down her Z Pizza location, putting him and his 11 co-workers out of work, Q13 Fox reported.

Oh, Devin. If you’re getting your news from the mainstream media, you will always be a naif lost in the woods. Shake it off, champ.

Does this sound familiar (emphasis added):

He said that while the law was being discussed all he heard about was how the mandatory minimum wage increase would make life better for him, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“If that’s the truth, I don’t think that’s very apparent. People like me are finding themselves in a tougher situation than ever,” he told the TV station.
Owner Ritu Shah Burnham said she just can’t afford the city’s mandated wage hikes.
“I’ve let one person go since April 1, I’ve cut hours since April 1, I’ve taken them myself because I don’t pay myself,” she told Q13. “I’ve also raised my prices a little bit, there’s no other way to do it.”

And “Z” is a nationwide franchise that takes some on some of the local franchises’ ad costs (and makes excellent pizza, if you’re ever in Roseville).

Small businesses in Seattle have up to six more years to phase in the new $15 an hour minimum wage, but even though she only has 12 employees, Z pizza counts as part of a “large business franchise.” As a result, she is on a sped up timeline to implement the full raise.

The left’s contempt for business – counting all franchisees’ employees together is pretty contemptible – has to start harming them eventually, doesn’t it?

Shah Burnham said that she is “terrified” for her employees after she closes up shop.
“I have no idea where they’re going to find jobs, because if I’m cutting hours, I imagine everyone is across the board,” she said.
The organization that pushed for the higher minimum wage, 15 Now Seattle, wouldn’t comment directly on the closing to Q13 and didn’t offer any sign of sympathy.

When I read stories like this, I wonder – perhaps some of the people who agitate for minimum wage hikes can help the displaced workers find new jobs?  Maybe that union booth at the State Fair that hands out all the “Living Wage” agitprop can devote some time to the task?

“Restaurants open and close all the time, for various reasons,” Director Jess Spear said.

I guess that’s a “no”.

40 thoughts on “To Be Fair, You Were Warned

  1. As usual: intended consequences. Gottta keep increasing the number of permanent welfare underclass to keep voting progressive elites into the office.

  2. It is as if no liberal ever ate hamburger instead of steak because of the cost…..or, more likely, what JPA says.

    It’s along the lines of the Baltimore city councilman who who noted that he “preferred” the “N” word to “thug”. Sounds completely asinine until you realize that most thinking people will discuss whether behavior qualifies as thuggish, but as soon as you invoke the racial and historical connotations of the other word, he’s won. He gets reelected, he gets his name put on the next government building.

    He gets dozens of his constituents killed because we can’t take action on crime in his district, but hey, he’s got a name to make for himself.

  3. If you go to Costco, you can look into the snack bar kitchen in Eden Prairie and see that they have an automated pizza saucer. Place the rolled out crust under the machine, press the button, and it starts spinning, and dispenses the exact amount of pizza sauce specified. Won’t take a lot more engineering to create a cheese and topping automated machine. Then whisk it into the oven with the conveyor belt.

  4. Snap Quiz. Who said:

    “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America.”

    -Benjamin Franklin
    -Milton Freidman
    -Hillary Clinton
    -Barack Obama

  5. I have been thinking. If only there were some sort of system that could keep all the wealth in the hands of the wealthy while convincing everyone else to work like slaves for nearly nothing. ;^)

  6. Mass produced, robot picked, pancakes? Is this an episode of the Twilight Zone? Of course with all the time the newly unemployed will have, they can make their own pancakes from scratch. Who knows? When the designer cupcake fad fades, these people might have the next food fad on their hands.
    As a person who spends a fair amount of time in automated factories with small employee parking areas but can remember visiting non-automated factories with large parking lots, I am never surprised at the ignorance of many ‘elites’ as to what happens when their vision of a ‘workers’ paradise becomes the ‘workers’ reality.

  7. In all fairness, robots will be taking over nearly all the low-skilled jobs in the next few decades. The amount of processing power that chips have made available have so far outstripped the ability of software to use that power that the software geeks will be spending the next couple decades catching up to where hard ware is now.

    Socially, the question of how we organize ourselves in a society with even more wealth polarization is a valid question. Right now the folks with capital will be benefiting from the replacement of workers with robots. That, added to the replacement of skilled workers with workers from overseas, will lead to massive unrest simply because folks without meaningful work tend to be miserable even if they’re on welfare, and that misery won’t be self-contained.

  8. Mass produced pizza and pancakes? Ugh. fix-a-flat for our stomachs. It will be a beautiful day when food industries realize that the compounds that give our food flavor are volatile, and hence it makes little sense to cook most foods months before they will be eaten and freeze them.

    Like Seflores, I am no stranger to automation and its effects, but most foods do not do well with mass production for this very simple reason. And if we want to make people forget what food is supposed to taste like, I can think of few better ways of doing it than to make sure restaurants need to pay entry level workers above their productivity.

    And regarding Emery’s question about what social system guarantees the rich get richer while the poor stay poor, well, we can start with any system with a “minimum wage”, can’t we?

  9. Well, we could try to raise the incomes of low skill workers by restricting the supply of low skill workers imported from other nations. You know, basic econ 101, laws are on the books but need enforcement, supported by a large majority of Americans, etc.
    That would be crazy.

  10. Yes, any form of socialism will tend to result in huge wealth disparities, Emery. It’s like centralizing power automatically results in this….oh, yeah, it does.

  11. Shorter: The excess supply of marginally attached workers is what is enabling employers to keep wages down.

  12. Yes, Emery. Automation is another issue.
    Like I said, supply and demand, econ 101.

  13. I’ve had a proud career in Industrial Control and Automation. I see it as freeing human beings from the mind numbing, dehumanization of piece work. Unfortunately, a lot of the piece work slaves I’ve set free seem to have taken a fancy to Obama’s Brave New Welfare World…I keep forgetting Reagan has been gone for quite awhile now.

  14. Pingback: In The Mailbox, 05.06.15 : The Other McCain

  15. Tom has worked in many countries setting up automated production facilities. The fact of the matter is that we are going through an economic upheaval as half the world industrializes while technology displaces traditional middle income work. The generation that loses their good jobs is not the same generation that gets the new ones.

  16. Yeah, well those tears and $5.50 will get you an automated cup of coffee, Emery.

    There will always be work for people that have the skills being called for. The difference is, you won’t see people getting paid $30\hr to bolt fenders on cars all day. Union protected sloth and mediocrity is done in the private sector, and it’s only a matter of time before people get sick of supporting it in the public sector, too.

    And there will always be jobs that cannot be outsourced.

    I ain’t skeered.

  17. No one is squirting tears at my house Tom. I have a daughter (“jr”) completing her freshman year at Colorado School of Mines. The future looks bright for those with skills.

  18. Which brings us back to the Dummy Problem.

    Rich kids will succeed in spite of themselves. Smart kids will find a way to succeed. Mediocre kids will struggle to succeed. Smarts are distributed on a bell-shaped curve . . . the lower 1/3 of the curve are the Dummies, kids who are not retarded, but they’re not smart, either, and we all know it.

    In ancient times, any dummy could support a wife and kids by carrying hods or sweeping chimneys or cleaning stables. Until the past 50 years or so, any dummy could work an assembly line or farm a few acres. Our schools are set up along Prussian models to generate Interchangeable Personnel Units to Labor for the Good of Society. But in modern, computer aided society, there is no labor.

    So what do we do with the Dummies?

  19. Wired has an article about a self-driving semi-truck. Instapundit estimates 10 years before over-the-road trucking jobs disappear.

  20. Biggest issue I see in factories I visit today? Lack of available skilled* employees. Automation eliminates the need for low value, mind numbing, piece work jobs that employers have always had a hard time filling (remember when you used to buy something that required 6 bolts and 6 nuts for assembly and when you opened the fasteners bag you had 5 bolts and 9 nuts? – this is automated now and 99.9% accurate). As Swiftee notes, $30+ (mostly “+”) per hour job spinning a nut on a bolt job has gone away. Most Union facilities problems revolve around job descriptions and work rules. Union leadership is as backwards now as management was in the 50’s-60’s when inefficiency was possible due to the fact that our overseas competitors were rebuilding their flattened factories.
    You don’t need a degree from a prestigious school if you are going into an evergreen business like resource management (although Colo School of Mines or Harvey Mudd doesn’t hurt). My neighbors kid graduates with a bachelors in geology from UM-Duluth this month and has had a job on the range waiting for him since January.
    *Skilled gets beyond the millenial description of able to show up 2 out of 5 times a week on time. It’s more that you have some aptitude for technical work, can manipulate data and communicate with others by using the words that come out of your mouth.

  21. @JD
    The market for self-driving vehicles is with businesses that own a fleet of vehicles to provide transport of people and goods. Those companies already accept the liability of somebody else driving their vehicles: their drivers. If you can present them with a technology that lowers that liability and boosts their efficiency, they will invest. So think in terms of long haul trucking, parcel delivery, and taxi services.

  22. @Seflores: If graduates are willing to relocate and travel, the mining, oil and gas industries recruit from school and will pay 70K on up for graduates in geology, chemical engineering and other engineering fields related to the extraction industry.

  23. Oil industry grads are doing well, temporarily. But Disney just laid off all its IT workers and replaced them with foreigners under H1B visas. Not all “skilled” work is safe.

    And what do we do with the Dummies?

  24. H1B visas = ( indentured servitude + below market pay + minimum benefit package)
    Why wouldn’t Disney, or Medtronic, or UHG, or Wells Fargo, or any of the other fortune 2000 want to fill their stable with them

  25. And what do we do with the Dummies?

    Joe, no matter how hard you try, you are not going to get an answer from EmeryTheAntisemiticSoci@list. He moved past the goal posts already…

  26. Cheer up big guy! Although I noticed you didn’t contribute a solution to JD’s rhetorical question. Come on happy, give it a shot.

  27. Regarding what you do with those of modest ability, there is a proverb; “You’d better have either a strong mind, or a strong back. Strong mind is better if you have to choose.”

    And really, there are some decent jobs out there for people who are not geniuses. They say that there are 240,000 truck driving jobs vacant out there. If you can work a clutch and check a tire gauge, that’s a job you can do. What about retail? My daughter figured out the cash register in a matter of minutes. And nobody can outsource construction.

    Reality is that if you’re able to deal with boredom, dirt, and hard work, you need not go hungry.

  28. “Reality is that if you’re able to deal with boredom, dirt, and hard work, you need not go hungry.”
    Other reality: We provide a safety net that allows some to choose to do nothing at all and still not go hungry (did you see where people on SNAP are more likely to be obese than people not on SNAP?).
    My brother is a high school dropout (although he did get his GED later) who has toiled as a landscaper for the past couple of decades. He works for a half of a year, gets laid off and collects unemployment (and other benefits) up until they run out or he gets a job offer that pays more than his unemployment plus taxes and expenses. He had an offer recently to work but he had a 60 mile round trip commute. He figured what gas would cost plus the taxes and determined it wasn’t worth it. Laid this out for the CPA who does my taxes and she agreed with him.

  29. Not just our own dummies, Joe. Our leftist overlords are importing dummies from the world’s armpits, and they are proving quite fertile.

    They will be manning the Soylent Green production lines and lining the rendering tanks.

  30. Soylent Green is such a fey name, why not Überraschung Braten?

  31. That’s great, Emery. If you’re not mendaciously regurgitating someone else’s life experiences, Jr is in clover. Bonus: If plagiarization has a genetic component, she’ll finish in 3!

  32. Not everybody has to go to college. It is not a right of passage. Is that good enough for you, EmeryTheAntisemiticSoci@list?

  33. Turn that frown upside down big guy!
    I agree, there are plenty of tech/trade and 2/yr schools which offer students a better value for their limited resources. A co-worker of mine has a 20 yr old who was recently hired out of UW–Stout @ 22.00/hr running a CNC machine in a TC Metro area production facility. As Tom said earlier: “there will always be jobs that will not be outsourced”.

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