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June 29, 2017

How Seattle used a minimum wage increase to cut earnings $125/mo

Seattle study finds minimum wage harmful. “Social science” is also harmful. Retweet

A new study [Washington minimum wage, KUOW photo]shows bad results from the Seattle minimum wage increase. We’ve written a to Congress about this, while also arguing that they should stop using “social science” to engineer human behavior. If you agree, please contact Congress using our campaign against the minimum wage {link expired}
. The hardwired letter to Congress reads…

Repeal the minimum wage law.

You can write your own letter or simply copy & paste ours…

Less than a year after increasing its minimum wage, Seattle boosted it again from $11 to $13 (for “large” employers). Look what happened …

1. Lower-wage jobs shrank by 6.8%
2. Hours fell by 9.4% for those who kept their jobs
3. Workers under $19/hr are earning $125 less per month than they were before! (1)

These numbers came from a study that had the active involvement of the Seattle city government.

Those who support an increased minimum wage presume that entry-level jobs should pay enough to support families and prepare for retirement. They try to create favorable social science studies to bolster their case in the hope that they can write things like, “Most… research has found that modest increases to the minimum wage have little impact on employment.”(1)

One cannot help noticing the squishiness of the words in that sentence. What seems like only a “little impact” at a city, state, or national level, can be profoundly harmful to the living, breathing person who lost or did not get a job because of the minimum wage. But showing only a “little impact” seems to be the best these studies can do.

The Seattle studied showed something far worse than only a little impact, leaving minimum wage fans stunned. They will probably now attempt to undermine this particular study, but the effort is futile…

Social science studies cannot be used to justify the aggression required to enforce a minimum wage law. Here are four reasons for that…

FIRST, science requires controlled experiments. But it’s impossible to conduct a controlled experiment on an entire society.(2)

SECOND, researchers never quantify how much each person either values or was pained by the scheme. Markets do this naturally using voluntary association and prices.(3)

THIRD, these kind of social science studies are full of numbers that purport to count costs and measure benefits. But these analysts always neglect to consider…
* the moral cost of oppressing individual conscience,
* the opportunity costs, where we lose the human diversity and market creativity that leads to alternatives,
* the superior performance of those alternatives, outside of the blundering bureaucracy and a political process that seems to reward failure (4)

FOURTH, policy wonks must pretend that people are statistics, simple cogs or mere data in their vast utopian scheme. But they’re not. They’re real living, breathing humans.(5) Access to a job and hours matter to the flesh and blood person who, as a mere statistic, lost their job.

So, expect the Seattle study to be assassinated by minimum wage supporters. They will pick apart the methodology and assail the result. Frankly, they’re just validating the four points just made — that…

“Social science” isn’t really science at all!


* I don’t want you to gloat about this study, even if you agree with it. Another will come along tomorrow, attempting to contradict it.
* I also don’t want you attacking it should you dislike the results.

Instead, take action on different grounds. Let people make their own arrangements, free of political interference. That means you should block any increase in the federal minimum wage. And as my representative, I want you to introduce legislation to repeal the federal minimum wage.



  • Send your letter {link expired} to Congress
  • Forward this message to friends you think might agree.
  • Share this action item on Facebook and other social networking sites
  • Please consider making a contribution or starting a monthly pledge to further our work

Thanks for being an ACTIVE DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka & Perry Willis
Downsize DC

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