Benner also doubts a higher minimum wage would affect prices enough to scare away consumers. His research has shown that even a large increase in wages, like the proposal in Seattle, has only a 4 to 5 percent effect on prices.
One of those affected by a potential wage increase is Caroline Durocher, 21, who has been working low-wage jobs since high school. She has been working at a Seattle Subway restaurant for about a month, since she was fired by another chain shortly after participating in the minimum wage strike.
"I have co-workers who are single moms. I honestly don't know how they make it," said Durocher, who sleeps on her father's couch.
City Council member Nick Licata doesn't expect the issue to get any official traction soon. One of the council's most liberal members, he said there are other issues the council should tackle to help low-wage workers, including wage theft and affordable housing.
Pushing it forward before it can actually pass would kill he idea, he said.
One Seattle City council candidate has made the topic the centerpiece of her campaign.
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Economist Kshama Sawant is basing her campaign on similar efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C. While saying her chances of getting elected are not great, she is pushing the rise in the minimum wage and said she is hearing about it on the campaign trail.
An alternative, yet politically mighty, weekly newspaper, the Stranger, has endorsed her idea.
"We're getting a huge echo for the idea," she said.
—The Associated Press.