Isn't it Weird That Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane) is sponsoring a bill that would create a sub-minimum, summer wage for teens?

Baumgartner presented his bill to the senate commerce and labor committee today, arguing that employers weren't hiring teens because of the state's high minimum wage, $9.32. His goal? To get teens into the workforce.

The weird part: One of the main conservative objections to raising the minimum wage, a Democratic priority this session, is that minimum wage jobs are great starter jobs for teens.

So which is it? Are teens supposed to work minimum wage jobs or sub-minimum wage jobs?

The only common denominator in the Republican position seems to be that they want all workers to earn less.

The only common denominator in the Republican position seems to be that they want all workers to earn less.

Footnote: The data actually dispute the claim that most minimum wage workers are teens, which torpedoes both GOP arguments against higher wages.

First, the stats derail their argument against raising the minimum wage because it demonstrates that people earning the minimum wage are actually adults, trying to live on poverty wages.

 

Second, the numbers put Baumgartner's proposal in the larger context that it's not the $9.32 wage that's preventing employers from hiring teens—it's that the recession-era economy has forced adults into minimum wage jobs, displacing teens, a point several opponents of the bill made at today's hearing.

Also from today's commerce and labor committee hearing...

Isn't it Weird That the argument in support of Sen. John Braun's (R-20, Centralia) bill to prevent local jurisdictions from setting their own minimum wage laws is that it will disrupt the statewide nature of the economy where workers may, as in the example a proponent of Braun's bill gave at today's hearing, have to take a health care client across jurisdictional lines in and out of Seattle, forcing health care providers into a bureaucratic nightmare of wage regulations?

If it's not already weird enough that conservatives are arguing against the small-government principle of local control, the additional argument that the interconnected nature of the state economy puts the burden and responsibility in state, not local, hands, busts another GOP talking point. 

Consider: Isn't it the Republican insistence that Seattle pick up any cost overruns on the tunnel based on the fact that the Highway 99 is Seattle's problem? But isn't Highway 99—the main thoroughfare for moving goods to and from the largest point in the state, Port of Seattle, the embodiment of the interconnected statewide economy? 

We asked Sen. Braun about this disconnect last week. He said he'd have to think about it. We have another call out to him today. We also have a call out to Sen. Baumgartner. 

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