My only west coast visit was to the Anaheim/Valley area 25 years ago. My personal knowledge of that area is nil, but I’ve read a lot about Seattle this past week. I’d love to hear from people closer to the action there.
You remember the $15 minimum wage fight
Seattle made the news a few years ago when they introduced a minimum wage of $15/hour – or higher in some cases depending on several formulas. It’s currently $15.45 for most larger businesses.
Competing studies have disagreed on whether it hurt or helped people at the low end of the wage scale. Of course SJWs there will never admit it was anything other than a resounding success.
Homeless in Seattle
Seattle’s homeless population has risen as Seattle has become more popular and more prosperous. The city’s population is 700K with 3K homeless. King County has about 10K homeless among its 2M people.
This Weekly Standard article covers some of the hodgepodge approaches and arguing within the city about what to do. It has all sorts of facts and figures – for example, the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment within a ten-mile radius of downtown is over $2,100/month. Yikes!
The same article also talks about some the steps that have been taken, many of which are bonkers to me. A vacant lot was turned into the Licton Springs Village – basically a set of 8×12 wooden boxes that house several dozen people. Drug use is permitted and is so rampant that children are not allowed. (Hey what happened to the “It’s for the kids!” cry we hear so often?) Needles are free and Narcan is readily available for residents who OD. Paradise right?
The latest “solution” – a “head tax”
The City Council is pretty evenly split between those who are leftwing liberals and those who are even further left, such as an admitted Socialist.
The far left came up with the idea of a “head tax“. The idea is to soak larger businesses for $500/employee annually. Of course liberals being liberals they argue where the money will supposedly go, but the far left wants it to go toward “fixing” homelessness – but not to be spent on clearing out illegal homeless camps.
The catfight comes from the SJWs who are affected by it fighting against the SJWs who are not. The anti-head tax side got lots of press when Amazon, which began in Seattle and is a huge presence there, said it was pausing work on yet another skyscraper to see how this vote panned out.
Large business leaders and construction worker unions think the idea sucks. Other unions and the usual SJW crowd thinks it is great. The mayor got so spooked by Amazon that she proposed halving the tax. $500 hurts the workers but $250 does not?
The latest news
The City Council passed the original proposal 5-4 Friday, so now the mayor has to decide whether to veto it – overriding it takes six votes – or to sign it.
No matter how it turns out, I predict Seattle’s businesses and workers will get soaked more and the homeless problem will get worse.
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