ShareThis Page
Minimum-wage fallout: Bon appétit? |

Minimum-wage fallout: Bon appétit?

| Friday, September 22, 2017 8:57 p.m
Pittsburgh is among the 'rattiest' cities in the U.S., according to Orkin.

As minimum wages went up in Seattle — not by market forces but by government diktat — basic hygiene practices at some restaurants reportedly went down, based on health-code violations.

A new study by a Ball State University research assistant professor and his co-authors found that a $1 increase in the minimum wage corresponded with a 6.4-percent increase in restaurant health violations, according to NPR. Since Seattle’s King County maintains detailed inspection records, researchers were able to track health violations with corresponding increases in the minimum wage, which in Seattle went from $8 an hour in 2010 to $15 an hour this year.

Researchers did not find increases in serious risk factors, which can shut down an eatery. Instead, the increased violations covered such things as the presence of insects and rodents, employees’ cleanliness and hygiene, and garbage disposal.

Naturally the advocates of artificially inflated wages suggest that any trend in health violations might be nothing more than a blip. Or they suggest that health agencies should simply increase inspections to compel compliance — and fix the latest government wage fix. Never mind a University of Washington study earlier this year that showed the mandatory wage increase reduced jobs for low-income workers.

What’s revealed, once again, is that economic tinkering, however well-intentioned, does not occur in a vacuum. And in this case the result can be quite unappetizing.

Categories: Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.