The Seattle City Council has come up with an “answer” to the recent spike in gun violence . . . tax firearms out of existence. Yep, City Council President Tim Burgess has proposed a $25.00 tax on all guns and a 5-cent tax on every round of ammunition sold within the Seattle City limits. They expect this “gun violence tax” to raise between $300,000 and $500,000 which will be dedicated to helping the city’s gun control efforts.
What, in fact, will happen is that firearms dealers will head for unincorporated Kings County, perhaps right on the city border, and set up shop. Prospective customers will probably love it since less urban locations will place them closer to good hunting areas. So, the “gun violence tax” revenue will fail to materialize and the city will lose its share of general sales taxes applicable to firearms transactions.
Wait a minute . . . the Revised Code of Washington, Section 9.41.290 prohibits municipalities from enacting laws and ordinances more restrictive than or inconsistent with state law. Well, that doesn’t deter liberals from doing what they know is the “right thing”.
Speaking of which the “progressive” Seattle City Council is also going to eliminate poverty. How? By raising the minimum wage that must be paid by businesses within the city limits. Last June, the council decreed that beginning in January this year the minimum wage would increase to $9.47 per hour on its way to $11.00 per hour in April of this year. Ultimately the minimum will increase to $15.00 per hour in 2017. However, we won’t have to wait until then to see the effect. Between January and June of this year, the city lost 1,300 restaurant jobs according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute. When the minimum rose to $11.00 per hour another 1,000 restaurant jobs were lost. All these employees had been earning tips (which didn’t count towards the minimum wage) which they are now not earning as they stand in the unemployment lines.
An entry level course in economics would have taught these councilpersons that entrepreneurs will increase their utilization of the factors of production (land, labor and capital) as long as each increment (new hires, for instance) produces more net revenue than the cost. With that simple formula, they could have predicted the result.
Hawaii is an economic entity similar to Seattle in population. Hawaii’s $7.25/hr. minimum wage goes to $8.50 next year, $9.25 in 2017 and $10.10 in 2018. Remember “C&H Sugar from Hawaii” and Dole Pineapples? Even at today’s minimum wage agriculture has all but ceased to exist in Hawaii. The state produces no sugar and Dole sources pineapples from Central America. Drive the King Kamehameha Highway and you can see miles of sugar cane lying fallow and a Dole Plantation that produces nothing but “made in China” tourist gimmicks.
Democrat Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders advocate a federal minimum wage of $12.50 and $15.00 respectively. Not only would a nationwide minimum wage result in cost-push inflation according to the Pew Research Center a $15.00 national minimum wage would have the purchasing power of $19.23 in West Virginia and $12.24 in Hawaii which illustrates the folly of national government meddling in economics.
In a related matter, PBS’ News Hour recently featured a story about a new, fully automated MacDonald’s. The hamburgers come out perfect every time, the change is always accurate and the waiting time is nil. The production model calls for a human concierge to greet and direct customers but once minimum wage laws crank in along with mandatory health insurance you can bet the position will be jettisoned.
Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.