Fantastic perspectives…. Paying for a Higher Minimum Wage
Coffeehouse owner Chris Hillyard welcomes Oakland’s big minimum wage hike. Now he and other Oakland businesses need customers to pay for it.

These are just my 2/100th of a dollar. Everyone wants people paid well for a job well done. There’s a disconnect from the majority of the public on the simple economics that makes this slightly more complex than just “hey, business man, pay them more”. I think this soft spoken transparent nudge towards the awareness of how this all works to be incredibly healthy. I like to think everyone would pay fair, but some people aren’t good managers, some people aren’t in touch with market conditions, and some are just out to lunch. The majority of good business knows it’s simply good business to pay a few pennies more than the competitor, so you can hire that talent and become more successful….

But there is a basic economic model, and this NPR perspectives highlights it quite well, with a gentle reminder to those advocates that fought for a higher minimum wage, that they have only begun the war… getting the higher minimum wage is simply the end of one small battle. Now it’s our job to support these small businesses, and prove that the economic model of even a *modicum of financial equality* is feasible.

I am lucky in business, that we have been able to offer employees continual raises, benefits, and a more holistic awareness that business is about the people that make it happen, and are at the core, in the trenches, of guest experience and customer service. But it is often frustrating that the people who campaign for causes don’t end up actually supporting the business model of the cause they petition for. I hope that makes “cents”…. it takes a community to make a business successful. With the margins of hospitality and food/beverage so tight, a perspective like this, that offers transparent simplicity about the difficult economics of running a small business, is refreshing. The public wants it to be a “good vs bad” thing, but it’s far more involved than bumper sticker mentality.

Personally, I don’t think there are many business people out there, fangs dripping with anticipation, that are looking to ravage and pilfer from the working class. But understanding the basic economics at work might help people understand, well… the real economics of a fair wage that just about everybody in the world understands is the right thing to do. It’s not whether it’s the right thing… it’s whether our economy is working, our consumers are spending… and whether the invisible hands of the free market are truly working towards financial equality and a stable, well oiled economy… or if those hands are a bit tied, and not so free… and working towards something more opaque and sinister than we can understand.

My experience has been the former, but in regards to overall inequality one admits that it is taking a bit longer than one might be comfortable with. I don’t want to be cynical enough to think the markets are so broken that we can’t work our economy into a framework that pays fair wages to most, and doesn’t overpay a select few (hunkered in yet another murky-ish possible slow deflate tech bubble).

TL;DR: Go spend 4 bits more on coffee, or fair wages won’t work.

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