Seattle Minimum Wage Blowback: Daycare Set to Become Really, Really Expensive

by W.F. Price on June 22, 2014

A lot of the arguments for the 50% minimum wage hike in Seattle are along the lines of this:

“What’s the problem? You’ll only have to pay a little more for your hamburger or pizza, and that’s nothing to complain about.”

This is really how your typical Seattle progressive thinks.

However, they weren’t thinking too hard about what’s going to happen to essential services used by the empowered working mom, childcare being the most important among them. Because most young people in Seattle are newcomers, they don’t have family to help them out, so unless the woman is married and her husband is making a six figure income (median household income in Seattle is around $64,000, so obviously most are not), daycare is essential.

Much of daycare’s cost is wages, and despite the cost, which runs around $14,000/year for toddlers (full time), wages for childcare workers are low. The reason the cost is so high is that law mandates a low child to worker ratio. So if you have one worker per three kids (standard) and that worker is making around $12/hr. (also standard), the labor cost per child is about 60% of the total daycare cost.

Now raise that $12/hr. to $15/hr. That’s a 25% increase right off the bat, which means, all else being equal (which is unlikely), daycare costs will rise 15% from the labor cost increase alone, which brings the cost of daycare in Seattle up $2,000 to a discouraging $16,000+. Just another dollar for my hamburger, huh?

This means that a working family with a respectable income of $100,000 will be paying 16 cents on every dollar merely for daycare. Add that to rent or mortgage and taxes and what’s left over? Not much. If you have two kids you might as well just give up. If you’re a single mom, forget about it! Your best course of action (sad, but true) is to drop out of the labor force and go on welfare.

On the positive side, an enterprising, competent woman who likes children can pull in over $40,000 per year with relatively few skills and little education simply by setting up a home-based business and doing the work herself and still undercut the competition. But how many women in Seattle would deign to do so? Precious few I’d wager, and it’s hard to blame them given what you get in that town for $40k.

I’ve been wondering for a while when women would start to pay the price for the socialist, redistributionist policies they’ve been supporting for years. Looks like that time has come.

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