The Number 15, Eventually

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.

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  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t think 15 is a magic number. I do think millions of Americans are fed up with being told our growing economy can’t provide them with jobs or living wages because a tiny number of people at the top are taking more for themselves.

    It started with Occupy Wall Street protests against greed. They were largely ignored. Now it has morphed into demonstrations (and a few rolling strikes) for a $15 wage. If that’s ignored, too, America’s wealthy may be confronted with something more radical.

    The Russian aristocracy mocked the Russian people’s demands for “land and bread.” Look where they ended up. Think it couldn’t happen here? Don’t be so cocksure. Every society has a breaking point. Hungry people are dangerous people.

  2. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 My comment @1 was a warning, not an advertisement, idiot. You think I like Bolsheviks? A capitalist like me? I’d be one of the first to get shot. There’d be no ducks left, either.

  3. 6

    Kshawarma Sanot spews:

    @1, the 15 now people are not “hungry people”…they are just greedy people, they share nothing in common with the citizens of Czarist Russia.

  4. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 Please explain why $15-an-hour workers are “greedy” while bankers who pay themselves $100 million a year …

  5. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Y’know, if I had a boss who said that, I would walk out on him. I wouldn’t work for an employer with a shitty attitude like that no matter how good the pay was. It’s pretty clear why America is going downhill economically. Our workers, for the most part, are as good as ever. But there’s been a major deterioration in the quality of employers.

    Well, that’s what you get with a hereditary economy in which privilege and power depend on birth. Succeeding generations are never as good as the founders. They all grow up as overindulged spoiled brats who think bullying others is their God-given right. Fuck ‘em, I won’t work anymore, don’t have to, I’m a capitalist now.

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