When high-paid executives get hysterical about improving the pay of their workers, it doesn't help their case.

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No disrespect to Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, but she faces some stiff competition to be the leading booster of the $15 minimum wage, which is being phased in here and has also caught fire in such places as Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

That honor, albeit accidentally, must go to Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Brands Group. parent of Dunkin’ Donuts, who called the higher wage “absolutely outrageous” last week on CNN Money.

He was responding to the New York state wage board saying fast-food workers should make at least $15 an hour.

Travis’ most recent compensation was $10.2 million last year.

He went on to say he supported some increase, indeed a “living wage” where an employee’s pay could be tied to the cost of living. Say, $12 an hour. Unfortunately, MIT’s Living Wage calculator shows that would be inadequate in New York state, much less the city. (It’s not even a true “living wage” in metro Seattle).

He also laid out the usual canard about $15 costing jobs, although we haven’t seen that in Seattle.

Travis wasn’t asked if he found his compensation outrageous — even though, according to the AFL-CIO‘s Executive Paywatch, he pulled down 290 times that of the average worker in 2013 (and that average worker, at $35,239, made far more than the typical fast-food worker).

“A debate needs to take place about how to tackle income inequality,” the donut mogul said. Apparently he hasn’t noticed that it has been going on for some time. In a time of the worst inequality since the Gilded Age, comments and behavior such as Travis’ makes the most compelling case to raise the minimum wage.


 

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Would rent control work?

No doubt for politicians

The city? We’ll see