Number 1 state in job creation also has the highest minimum wage

When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. The prediction hasn’t been borne out.

In the 15 years that followed, the state’s minimum wage climbed to $9.32 — the highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years…

“It’s hard to see that the state of Washington has paid a heavy penalty for having a higher minimum wage than the rest of the country,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at Brookings Institution who formerly was at the U.S. Labor Department.

Raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps, as Obama proposes, would reduce employment nationally by about 500,000 workers, or about 0.3 percent, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Feb. 18. At the same time, the increase would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and add $31 billion to the earnings of low-wage Americans, the report found…

The federal minimum-wage legislation is opposed by business groups such as the National Retail Federation, along with many Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio…

Gridlock in Congress may mean the debate is waged more immediately by states and cities instead of at the federal level…As of January, 21 states and the District of Columbia had a higher minimum wage than the federal floor. Cities including San Francisco and Santa Fe, New Mexico, require even higher hourly earnings than the proposed federal level…

Now, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat elected in November…promotes raising the city’s minimum to $15. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranks 14th in a list compiled by Bloomberg of 50 cities where it’s hard for fast-food workers to gain upward mobility, based on median pay compared with rent, tuition and health-care costs. Advocates such as Murray say a higher minimum would help change that.

“We can’t rebuild this economy if it’s just people who buy 94-foot yachts and play in the derivatives,” Murray said. “You build an economy when a middle class is buying microwaves or flat-screen TVs or the next set of clothes for their kids.”

RTFA for more detail including, of course, conservative arguments against ever raising the minimum wage or even having one. You probably know those by heart by now.

We get to listen to the business and conservative side of every argument a hundred times over for any presentation of progressive programs. How ideology works in practice has never had much bearing on what America’s 1% considers fair access.

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