Big-government progressives are hailing the move by Seattle officials to impose a minimum wage hike on area employers. It will now cost an employer $15 per hour to hire a person for an entry-level job in Seattle. That’s right — $15 per hour for someone to sweep floors, answer phones, or flip burgers, for example. As JLF’s Roy Cordato points out, the consequences of Seattle’s move will have a predictable negative impact on low-skilled workers. 

Of course, the minimum amount that an employer will have to pay an employee, i.e., the minimum amount the employee’s skills will have to be worth, will be well above $15 per hour. This is particularly true if it is a job that requires 30 or more hours per week of work and is for a company, maybe like a McDonald’s or a Wal-Mart, with more than 50 employees.

If this is the case, the worker’s minimum compensation, over and above the $15 per hour, will have to include health insurance. With the employer’s portion of Social Security, which adds about $1.12 per hour to the cost, plus unemployment insurance and whatever mandated benefits might exist in the state of Washington, the minimum per-hour cost of hiring someone, possibly to flip hamburgers at a McDonald’s or to be a cashier or a person to unload the trucks and stock the shelves at a Family Dollar, could easily be over $19 an hour.

And what will an employer think and do in light of this? Cordato continues.

At a cost of $15 or $19 an hour, who will hire you? The answer, of course, is no one. So not only are you doomed to be unemployed, at least legally, but you are blocked from gaining the skills through on-the-job experience and training that will allow you to better yourself over time. Your lack of a first job, and your inability to get the experience and training you need to get better jobs in the future, all can be attributed to progressivism.

Progressive economic policy — how very, very sad. Weep for the men and women whose lives will be impacted by the progressives who claim to want to help them.