It’s not so easy living in city with America’s highest minimum wage

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If you don’t have a Wall Street Journal subscription login yet, this would be a fine time to sign up for one. Today the paper takes a close look at Emeryville, California, a city just north of Oakland, location of Pixar Animation Studios and home to the highest minimum wage in the country, at $16.30.

The piece is a study in tensions, as labor advocates say the relatively high minimum wage is necessary in a city where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is above $2,800. But small business owners, especially restaurants, say the wage forces them to lay off staff or raise already high prices.

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It’s absolutely worth reading, as it presents a microcosm of the national debate surrounding raising the minimum wage. But while the piece examines the economic needs of low-wage employees on one side and small-business owners on the other, an elephant in the room goes largely unremarked on: the tech companies whose high-paid workers drive up the cost of living in cities like Emeryville, Seattle, Austin, not to mention the towns in the Silicon Valley. What is their culpability, if any, in the discussion over rising rents that threaten to squeeze both employees and employers alike? Click on over to The Wall Street Journal for yourself.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.