Why ‘$15 now’ has nothing to do with productivity or a ‘living wage’


By Maxford Nelsen | Freedom Foundation

The frenetic push for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle has some sensible observers asking the question: Why not $14 or $16? And if increasing the minimum wage is good for the economy, why not boost it to $50 an hour?

At this juncture, minimum wage advocates typically chuckle nervously and tell the impertinent questioner to calm and down and be reasonable. After all, nobody is arguing for anything that drastic.

Admittedly, the current state minimum wage does not go as far as it did in 1968. But 1968 was the year that the purchasing power of the minimum wage in Washington hit its all-time high.

When pressed for specifics, though, proponents typically rely on three arguments to justify a dramatic and arbitrary minimum wage boost: the minimum wage has failed to keep up with inflation, the minimum wage has failed to keep up with productivity, and the minimum wage should be a living wage. None of these benchmarks stand up to scrutiny.

at Freedom Foundation.