If I’ve learned anything from the $15 minimum wage debate it’s that $15 should be thought of not just as how much $15 can buy today, but simply as a number between $14 and $16. So Ed Murray’s plan will get us to $15 but the purchasing power of that will be $13.25 in today’s money. If there’s anything else I’ve learned, it’s that the now part of 15 now means some point many years in the future.
It was with that in mind that I read the table at the bottom of the mayor’s press release on the minimum wage. And good news! According to their numbers, in 2035 inflation will mean the state minimum wage will top $15.
So my modest proposal is do nothing and call it $15 now. Eventually it’ll be $15. Sure, the value will — by virtue of the fact that it’s tied to inflation — be the same as the value of the minimum wage now, but it’ll be the number 15. And if people have to pay rent or eat in the mean time, just tell them that $15 is coming and that they should be glad to have a job at all.