In 2016, the state of Arizona voted yes on a proposition to gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and provide every worker with one hour of sick time for every thirty hours worked.
Prior to the initiative being passed, guess what I was being told? This proposition was a bad idea because it would kill jobs. It would destroy businesses. It would raise the price of goods and services, yielding no net benefit to the workers whose wages were raised.
2 years later, with the sick time provision fully installed and the minimum wage at $10.50, up from $8.05 in 2016 and set to move to $12 by 2020, it is safe to say that all those predictions were bogus.
Multiple businesses within a mile of my apartment complex are hiring. I have not noticed any kind of fast-food or retail apocalypse taking place in the Phoenix area. At a local Mcdonald’s the price of a quarter punder meal, with tax, is $6.79; whereas in Tallassee, Alabama (which has a minimum wage of only $7.25) it costs, with tax, $7.07. You can call a McDonald’s in each place and ask yourself if you are skeptical.
Put yourself in the shoes of an Arizonian restaurant employee circa 2016: You were paid low wages, and if you got sick, you had to choose between either going to work sick (which is stressful and draining), spreading your illness to potentially hundreds of customers (which in turn might cost all of those people sick time or missed pay, in addition to the unpleasant experience of being sick). Or you could miss a day’s pay. Now if you’ve ever lived on low wages, missing a day’s pay doesn’t simply mean that you will adjust next month’s budget and go out to eat less. Your ability to pay rent, your car payment, or any number of other basic expenses may very well be on the line. When you don’t have much, you don’t have much to lose. These are the sorts of draconian circumstances we place people in, in the wealthiest country on the face of the earth.
Now it is clear what the truth is: previously business owners were ignoring the interests of the workers who make their business possible in the first place so they could keep a bigger piece of the pie for themselves. It was not due to economic necessity. Not only Arizona but the United States in general has the ability to behave humanely and treat the least of its citizens fairly. Just something to think about.