Seattle indie bars may soon go out of business, if hipsters have anything to say about it

President Obama and his Democrat allies have been hankering for a minimum wage increase this year, but one bar owner recently shed light on the irony of the position.

The type of hipsters that enjoy obscure, unique indie bars with cheap drinks are the same people eager to see the minimum wage increase and put these very bars out of business.

“This $15-an-hour mess is just like my ignorant and ill-conceived belief that I’d easily be able to re-create this delicious pasta made by a professional chef,” Seattle bar owner Andrew Friedman writes in The Stranger.

“The pro-$15 people are me in that example: They look at an issue that appears simple but never get to the part where they ask the questions necessary to understand the complexities.”

Seattle voted to increase the minimum wage to $15-an-hour last November, and the city’s mayor made moves in January to start immediately paying city workers the new minimum wage.

CNN notes, “Washington has one of the nation’s highest state minimum wages. It increases annually with inflation and rose to $9.32 this year.”

In a blog post titled, “Your favorite indie shop is out of business if $15-an-hour happens,” Friedman argues that a “lot of activists don’t understand how small businesses like mine work.”

Friedman writes on the issue of minimum wage increase, he has been advised to not use arguments of facts, logic and reason. Instead he has been told to use “emotion-based polemics, apples-to-oranges ‘facts,’ and simple slogans, as it is suggested that such manipulation works much, much better.”

Still, he can’t help but point to his own experience as a small business owner of low-wage employees to make the case for why $15-an-hour is not a positive change for Seattle, a city that prides itself local coffee shops and independently owned book stores.

“That favorite coffee shop that you go to? That great neighborhood restaurant? That store where you buy your books, pet food, art supplies, or clothes? Each of those businesses survives on around a 5 percent net profit margin,” he writes. “That means that at the end of the year, after all the expenses—the payroll, the supplies, the inventory, insurance, rent, etc.—we all will end up with only about 5 percent income in our pockets if we’re doing a half-decent job.”

The 60 percent wage increase is simply undoable, Friedman argues.

The bar owner goes on to cite his payroll costs, speculating that should the minimum wage increase to $15-an-hour, his cost of doing business will increase by 20 percent. When he’s only taking home 5 percent, it becomes more costly to run his bar than to close it.

Friedman writes that the small business owners are eager to work to find a middle ground, but as things stand now, the wage increase will hurt more businesses than people it helps.

“Ask your local coffee-shop owner about their costs. Ask the owner of the card store or the shoe store. Find out the facts before you make your decision, because I believe that when you find out the truth, you’ll start to question the propaganda of the 15 Now camp,” he challenges to the people of Seattle.

“You can accuse me of lying because you don’t know me, but when your local business owners, one after another, confirm my information, perhaps then you’ll start to ask questions instead of just absorb propaganda. Local independent businesses WILL close, many of your neighbors WILL be out of work. Just ask around.”

 

 


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