University of Washington

Something to Keep in Mind (Minimumawecity Mix)

McPoverty protesters outside Wendy's restaurant on Lake City Way in Seattle on Thursday, Feb. 20. (Photo: Joshua McNichols/KUOW)

Barry Ritholtz, for Bloomberg:

Consider as an example what Mark Perry, at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a month before the first phase of Seattle’s new minimum-wage law went into effect. The city’s “government-mandated wage floor … guarantees reduced employment opportunities for many workers.”

As one of my colleagues wrote last week, the “unemployment rate in the city of Seattle―the tip of the spear when it comes to minimum wage experiments―has now hit a new cycle low of 3.4%.” Meanwhile, a University of Washington study on the minimum wage law found little or no evidence of job losses or business closings.

Although you can never declare a game over until the final whistle, this experiment is starting to look like a rout.

Given the strangely anti-labor mood in which Americans find themselves, remember this when we start hearing about what a bad idea a useful minimum wage is supposed to be.

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Image note: McPoverty protesters outside Wendy’s restaurant on Lake City Way in Seattle on Thursday, 20 February 2016. (Photo: Joshua McNichols/KUOW)

Ritholtz, Barry. “Minimum-Wage Foes Tripped Up by Facts”. Bloomberg View. 7 December 2016.

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Not Good News

Detail of graph by Mark Nowlin/Seattle Times showing death rates for various drugs in King County, Washington, between 1997 and 2014.

Just, you know, take note: We have a problem.

Fatal overdoses linked to heroin surged by 58 percent in King County last year, fueling the steepest rise in local drug-caused deaths in 17 years.

Heroin was involved in 156 deaths in the region in 2014, up from 99 the year before — and just 49 in 2009. Overall, there were 314 drug deaths in the area last year, the highest number since 1997, according to a report released Thursday by the University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute.

The only word to describe the trend is “distressing,” said Caleb Banta-Green, an affiliate associate professor of health services with the UW School of Public Health.

“I knew it was going to go up,” he said. “I didn’t know it was going to go up that much.”

(Aleccia)

Should we pause a moment to consider that no such bad news ever fails to get worse, well, right, we get interesting notes like this, as well:

Drug deaths tied to methamphetamine also jumped by 59 percent, with 70 deaths in 2014, up from 44 the year before. Among primary heroin users, meth was the common secondary drug of choice, used in about a quarter of cases.

Right. You know. One of those mixes I just never have figured out how to understand.

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