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posted by n1 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the will-code-for-gold dept.

The NYT reports that in a unanimous vote, the Seattle City Council went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality. "Even before the Great Recession a lot of us have started to have doubt and concern about the basic economic promise that underpins economic life in the United States," says Council Member Sally J. Clark. "Today Seattle answers that challenge." High-tech, fast-growing Seattle, population 634,535, is home to, Zillow, and Starbucks. It also has more than 100,000 workers whose incomes are insufficient to support their families, according to city figures and around 14% of Seattle's population lives below the poverty level. Some business owners have questioned the proposal saying that the city's booming economy is creating an illusion of permanence. "We're living in this bubble of Amazon, but that's not going to go on," says businessman Tom Douglas. "There's going to be some terrific price inflation."

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  • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:35PM

    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:35PM (#51784)

    I guess you didn't understand my point. I'm all for redistribution, and a minimum salary is a pretty good way of doing it (but not enough).

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:48PM (#51790)

    Perhaps we need a maximum wage, based as a percentage of what they pay as a minimum and number of employees.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:00PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:00PM (#51796)

      I've been reading about stuff like that. I think it may be a good idea, it would surely put an end to the top salary extravaganza that's been going on in the latest years. Maybe not limit the top salaries, but increasingly tax it, making it prohibitively expensive for a company to pay millions of dollars to its CEO while keeping the janitor below the poverty line.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @09:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @09:14PM (#51915)

        This is what pisses the people who make the rules off. You come across like an angst filled teen who has no idea what it takes to be successful and thinks that the right way to fix the world is to steal from the rich and give to the poor. It sounds an awful lot like simple jealousy. In reality I know nothing about you, but (check Anonymous is ticked) from your comments I'm certain you're a pothead who gets pissed off because you can't have the shiny toys your neighbor does. I believe you would be happier to see your neighbor poor even if you got nothing.

        Want to impress me? Give your own income to the poor, not once but regularly. Be poorer so that people who have less than you get more. Give enough that you can't afford Internet access or transportation so that people who have no running water in their village can improve their standard of living. When you are actually poor so that the truly impoverished don't suffer so much, I will listen. But until then, your self righteous and hypocritical theory that people who are successful should be punished will fall on ears exactly as deaf as they should be.

        And get off my lawn you dirty hippy!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @02:35AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @02:35AM (#52021)

          And you come across as a monied asshole who never had to work a day in his life. Who build those roads and schools and universities and hospitals? You? Or poor people just trying to get by who are paid less and less? Let me guess your generation had a middle class and if you worked hard and had a basic job things were ok. Well that same job now pays only a 1/3 what it used to, and there are more and more people chasing those jobs so you would be lucky to even get one. So your dad worked a middle class job and your mum could stay at home and look after you and your brothers and sisters. Try doing that nowadays on 1 median wage. It probably isn't jealousy but simple frustration with people like you who had it so easy, but think they had it so hard. Think back over your life, and plug in todays numbers for wages/unemployment/etc and think how differently your life would have turned out.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @01:44PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @01:44PM (#52234)

            Good points. I guess I do sound like that. It's interesting because I'm pretty much the opposite, I grew up in poverty, managed to get some college but couldn't afford to finish and moved straight into doing the two job thing. I've also moved several states to get a low paying job (I think it was minimum wage plus a dollar.) No, dad and mom both worked and we always had enough to eat, though rarely more. And I have looked at the numbers and they're no worse for a graduate today than they were for me, but then I'm probably not as old as you think I am either.

            That is what makes this response so interesting. I appear to be pretty much the exact opposite of who I am to a self entitled kid who wants everybody else to provide for him. I'm not sure I could ask for a better response.

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday June 06 2014, @10:56PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Friday June 06 2014, @10:56PM (#52442) Journal

        Man, I wish I had the numbers in front of me...I did some analysis of a couple possible tax schemes a while back.

        The absolute best is actually a form of the flat tax. It's freakin' genius, and progressives need to get on that shit because the Tea Party types will LOVE to hear proposals for a flat tax.'s not REALLY a flat tax. Flat tax with an exemption. Believe it or not, the idea did come from some conservative think-tank or something. Anyway, the basic idea is you have something like a 50% flat tax, but your first $30,000 of income is tax-exempt. So if you're on minimum wage, you pay no taxes. Makes sense, since we're generally giving these people money in the form of food stamps and social security, so why tax them just to give it back? If you're at the top, you pay 50%. Depending on the effect you want you can toy with those numbers, maybe even go for 90% flat tax with a $50,000 exemption or something if you want to get closer to a maximum wage. Which would be my ideal, but you'd probably have to start lower to get the damn thing passed.

        The only problem is that the effective tax rate then ramps up REALLY fast and then flattens off toward the top, but it's still a hell of a lot better than what we have in place now.

        When I looked at this I think 50% with $30,000 exempt was about what I used, and I ended up getting the same revenue we currently do...but census data puts everyone above $100k into the same bracket, which I fixed at an assumed $100k to be conservative. So in reality those numbers would probably increase revenue very significantly, and you could almost certainly use an even higher exemption.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @12:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @12:07AM (#51979)

      In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt wanted a 100 percent marginal tax rate [] on the excessive incomes of what today would be billionaires.
      He settled for 94 percent.
      During Ike's administration it was 91 percent.
      JFK's: 70 percent.

      Historically, when tax rates on the richest have been 50 percent or higher, the USA has had a prosperous working class and national stability.
      Rates below that mark are soon accompanied by economic slumps. []
      Reagan ran us onto the rocks in his second term.

      -- gewg_