Mayor Murray released a proposal this morning to increase the minimum wage in Seattle, developed with the Income Inequality Advisory Committee he convened. I spoke at the press conference. My comments are below; you can view them on the Seattle Channel here, or click on the image to the right.
I want to thanks the Mayor for bringing together a very diverse group of people, and phenomenal success in bringing us together in a very progressive decision, and recommendation to the Council. When I think of this proposal, four words come to mind:
Saul Alinsky, in Rules for Radicals, pointed out that “compromise” is a word that carries shades of weakness or even surrender of moral principles.
But to the organizer, compromise is the key, it is making a deal. And as he said, to define a free and open society in one word, is compromise.
This is an awesome victory for the 100,000 workers earning less than $15 an hour in Seattle, about one in every four workers. They will see their lives dramatically improved. And it is a strong step toward earning a livable wage.
It is awesome that Seattle is leading the nation in the effort to close the income gap: a gap that has not been this great since 1929, just before the onset of the Great Depression.
Cities have to take up this burden since the federal and state governments have been unable to address it. And they are looking to Seattle to provide a model.
To quote to from Gardens of Democracy, the book written by two of our advisory board members, Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu, we’re all better off when we’re all better off.
Study after study has shown that for businesses to grow, people must have money to spend. Raising the minimum wage will create more jobs, a more prosperous businesses and a healthier community.
The Council must now act. I will work with my colleagues to pass this proposal with a minimal amount of tinkering. It’s not perfect but it’s doable and I want to get something done.
We have to embrace this spirit of cooperation and not tear it apart. That is the path toward success and I want to be on that path.