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Minimum Wage Hike Leads to Surge in Restaurant Health Violations

The would-be socialists north of California are getting a tough lesson in the perils of a government-controlled marketplace. Seattle, Washington was the home of the much-celebrated, first-in-the-nation $15 an hour minimum wage, and liberals all around the country were hoping it would be a watershed moment for low-paid fast food workers the country over. Unfortunately, not only have studies determined that the new wages are HURTING the very people they are intended to help, they are apparently also having a deleterious effect on the workplaces themselves. On the bottom line…and on the service they can offer customers.

Put another way – things in Seattle are suddenly much, much dirtier!

According to NPR, a new study shows that even though the minimum wage hasn’t gotten anywhere near $15 an hour yet (the wage is scheduled to be implemented in gradual stages), it has already corresponded with an increase in health code violations. The study found that an increase of only 10 cents in the minimum wage “increased hygiene violation scores by 11.45 percent.”

“We find that a dollar increase in minimum wage resulted in a 6.4% increase in overall health violations and 15.3% increase in less severe violations as a result of the increases,” one of the study’s authors told NPR.

Now, while it’s not particularly surprising to learn that a dramatic hike in the minimum wage has hurt those who earn said wages – employers have simply cut back their hours, leading to shrinking amounts of gross income for low-paid employees – it is a little surprising to see that it correlates to dirtier establishments. What could explain such an unusual causation?

Well, the study concludes that it’s all part of the same effect. Employers in Seattle have three choices. They can swallow the increased wage burden…meaning they will almost certainly be forced out of business. They can pass the burden on to the customer…meaning they risk losing out to any competition that has found a way to do otherwise. OR they can cut corners. Guess which one most restaurants are choosing?

That’s right, they are cutting hours and spreading the work across as few employees as possible in an effort to keep their heads above the water. That means that certain “luxuries” – like a kitchen free of rodents – have to go by the wayside.

But we’re sure Seattle diners will be happy to eat slightly dirtier food as long as they can feel morally superior to the rest of us heathens. No, they’re not ACTUALLY helping anyone…but hey, since when is that the measure of progress? It’s enough just to say you tried. Bon Appetit!


Written by Andrew

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