Workers, for their part — many of whom reported struggling to make ends meet despite community and government assistance — responded to the survey wondering doubtfully if the wage increases would truly improve their financial situation. Most knew about the law but many were uncertain of details, the study found.
“Today’s report documents both the hopes and fears that workers and business managers expressed as Seattle began its initiative to raise the minimum wage,” said Vigdor. “Business owners are hopeful that small changes to their operation — such as small price increases — will keep them in the black.
The math is pretty simple for larger businesses.
Let's say you run a medium retail store that has 10 people an hour to run the place. Those 10 people who all get a raise of roughly $7 an hour. Let's say you move 200 units an hour. To break even, all you have to is raise the average price of your items by only 35 cents. Some higher price items will see a slightly bigger jump, smaller items, less. Either way, most people aren't gonna freak out about 35 cents.
Let's say you run a grocery store that has 50 people and let's say they all get the same $7 raise. Grocery stores move a lot more, but we will be conservative and say they move about 3,500 units an hour. That's only a 10 cent average raise in price per item to counteract those raises.
How would things like taxes and other benefits factor in? I don't know. But to say that raising wages would affect prices astronomically when no body says shit about raises in rent, utilities, shipping costs etc., strikes me as dishonest.