Letters to the Editor

Minimum wage: Economists need more time

Re: “Seattle’s $15 wage experiment did not pay off” (TNT, 7/01).

This editorial board does a disservice to readers by declaring that the recent University of Washington findings regarding Seattle’s minimum wage provided a “definitive no” in answer to the question of whether the ordinance is achieving its aims.

First, the study is not yet complete - it will be ongoing for a total of five years and more reports are to come. There is also the problem that, due to the study design, a number of large employers could not be included in the results, and there are other issues that will require further study. Among them, the reason for the increase that the study found in jobs paying more than $19/hour, jobs that were apparently going to better trained, more productive workers.

In its editorial, the TNT seems to be calling for the creation of just such jobs by “Increasing education and training”, but the study considers such jobs as beside the point. Ultimately, the TNT would best serve its readers by allowing the economists a bit more time to sort these issues out. There’s plenty we still need to understand before we arrive at a “definitive” answer.

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