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San Francisco Demonstrates What Happens When We Raise The Minimum Wage


Over the past 15 years, the city of San Francisco has given us evidence of what happens when we raise the pay and benefits of low-wage workers. Is it doom and destruction or the city of Oz?

(Photo Credit: jeffgunn/Flickr)

In the 1990s, San Francisco enacted numerous laws to raise pay, improve benefits, expand healthcare access, and extend paid sick leave for the city’s workers. Fifteen years later, the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment says the mandate worked, and those who live and work in San Francisco are enjoying pay and benefits that go against the current national trend.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Sorry to disappoint the all the “job creators” sitting on their piles of wealth, but San Francisco has shown the way to improve the economy is get off your pile of wealth and spread it around. Rather than becoming a ghost town because businesses just couldn’t afford to stay in business, San Francisco is thriving and has caused other cities to follow suit, including Seattle, San Jose, and Washington, D.C.. Chicago and New York are also looking to adopt San Francisco’s higher wages and better benefits laws.

Theory Versus Reality

Some economists still claim that by using money to lift people out of poverty, we will destroy the economy. However, when we look at cities and neighborhoods that have enacted laws to close the gap between the rich and the poor by paying workers more, it seems perhaps these prophets of doom are mistaken.

Why? When people can afford to purchase goods and services, they patronize the businesses that offer, well, goods and services. Then, instead of going out of business, those employers (who own businesses that sell goods and services) have to hire more people — and pay them. It works in San Francisco, and it can work in your city, too.

Now, can we please just raise the minimum wage on the federal level?

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think we should raise the minimum wage, and why or why not? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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PriscillaRyanWill Recent comment authors
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Hawaii has finally passed the law that will raise the minimum to $10/hr BUT it will increase it in increments each year till it’s $10/hr in 2018… So the minimum wage earners will automatically receive raises each year, not on performance or increased skill level while the ppl who make a bit more than $10/hr will receive nothing. Is this “fair” in our unfair world..? Will those who are at the minimum wage level educate themselves, increase skill level, increase… Read more »


The minimum wage needs to be raised to $10 per hour at the federal level soon. Oil and gasoline prices have tripled the last decade; and many food and utility costs have nearly doubled over the same time period. $7.75 workers are unable to sustain themselves on any level. Corporations have cash-on-hand and are waiting for what? There is nothing preventing any company or individual to ‘found the next Google to employ 30,000 high paying jobs’. Rather than innovate and grow, some corporations hold onto their cash reserves,… Read more »


Wow, you need to stop letting your politically bias writers create your posts.. Don’t forget that this site targets people in corporate America and I suggest you stay away from politics (on both side of the isles).   However, let’s address Beth’s flawed assumption. So she assumes that just because SF is doing well that the minimum wage increases are to credit or didn’t have any negative affects. Perhaps SF is doing well in spite of these laws not because… Read more »

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