There's been a lot of discussion lately on the news about minimum wage for fast food workers and I wanted to hear what this community thought of it.
My understanding of the situation is that minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation, and that a person working for minimum wage cannot afford to live on their own. You're probably better off being unemployed and living off of welfare than clocking in at a fast food restaurant.
I've heard arguments such as "If they want more money they should get a better job", "Minimum wage is supposed to 'motivate' them to find 'better' work", "If 'they' were more skilled, they could do better", "They're just looking for a hand out".
Now I worked in fast food in high school and college and at that point in my life, it was enough because I could still rely on my parents for a place to live and health insurance, but what happens to a less fortunate soul if he or she gets injured? Lifelong debt and the cycle continues as their children grow up poor.
Would it really be so bad to pay everyone a working wage if they're willing to put the work in?
If a person is able to live on the minimum what would be the incentive to improve? There are already generations of welfare families, should we extend this to minimum wage families? Your experience for fast food is (in my mind) exactly what it should be used for, until you improve your situation.
I do not agree that a person should be able to work a skillless job and have that recieve living wage. These types of jobs are a bridge from one place in life to another, If they are having a hard time making ends meet they can get another job or get some training or an education to improve their quality of life. Minimum wage should not be a finish line.
Nobody is forcing these people to work for a fast food restaurant.
They have the freedom to find another job that pays them more money. They have the freedom to start their own business. They have the freedom to work multiple jobs.
As it is they are working in a position that can be filled by a below average 16 year old girl; not exactly the most accomplished workhorse.
There are opportunities available that pay more money but they will require people to seek them out. Fast food is pretty much a dead end position. They would be better off finding an office where they can answer phones and focus on working hard and improving themselves and their skill set. They don't want to put forth the effort to do such things. They settle for working in fast food because it is much easier. I see no reason to pay people more money when the settle for the lowest easiest possible path in life.
What higher-paying job can a middle-aged individual who's been working all his life at a fast-food restaurant get?
You need money to start a business, and even then, many businesses start off with a loss, which these people can't afford, I would imagine.
Perhaps they can find an office job answering phones, but I don't know what the likelihood is that a company would hire a fast-food worker to do that. I really don't know.
I think the minimum wage can be raised to just below the limit where fast-food companies would need to raise their product prices to stay profitable. But I'm sure they are very profitable now so the minimum wage can be increased at least a little bit. Then perhaps less fast-food workers will be on welfare and that portion of taxpayer money can be used somewhere else.
What do you do with those who are only capable of producing $2/hr worth of labor?
Arguments in favor of a minimum wage hike stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. A higher minimum wage will not raise the standard of living for minimum wage employees ... it will result in a combination of layoffs of minimum wage employees and price hikes at the register, thus reducing the spending power of everybody (including minimum wage employees). Jobs will be lost, buying power will be reduced ... and the solution proposed by proponents will be further minimum wage hikes and welfare spending. Its a spiral. And, its not about helping anyone ... its about political pandering.
It is the nature of unskilled, menial labor that it is low paying. Employees are easily replaceable. No education or skill required. I also worked retail and fast food in high school ... because a know-nothing high schooler is the kind of employee that's suited for such a job. It taught me the real-dollar value of an unskilled day's labor, and demonstrated fairly quickly that I didn't want to do this for the next 50-years. So, I learned to do something better.
Burger flipping isn't supposed to be a career move ... and thus ought not pay enough to raise a family and retire in comfort. Its paid what its worth ... and ought to motivate people to find something better, so as to let the next crop of high school know-nothings learn the lessons that caused the last group to work so hard to leave.
I agree with the above posters. Its laughable that these people "demand a livable wage" and go on strike and get all amped up about it...... whats going to happen when half of their workforce gets replaced by IPads??!
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I've said this in another post.
If a business pays their employees $15 and hour then how will they get the money to pay that amount? They would have to raise the prices of their goods, which means the people that usually purchase the goods will either buy less or stop buying at all. We can see the effect of supply-side inflation in the price of gas and the number of miles driven. Gas went up people drove less. So the end result will be that the employees end up on welfare or finding other jobs to support themselves.
Another possibility is what we see when unions strike for increased wages. The cost of goods sold goes up for the company and if the goods are needs not wants they will require more income to afford the goods which raises the price of their company's cost of goods sold leading to inflation.
In that case in North Dakota the oil boom there really helped and walmart seen a huge increase in sales to cover the cost of 15 dollar employees and there margin is huge!!!
But, the increase in wages is not internal to the businesses that pay minimum wage. THAT is the HUGE difference here. The economy can support the increase because the economy is producing something that is exportable (gas) but in a 'normal' economy where the driver of the increase in prices is the cost of labor for minimum wage jobs there would have to be a subsequent increase in other laborers'/workers' wage and subsequent increase in the prices of those goods leading back to the point where $15 and hour is the same as $8.25 an hour, this is called inflation. The alternative is that the minimum wage jobs disappear because no one can afford or wants to purchase the goods.
To see the demand side economic drivers at work look at the cost of housing in those areas that have seen the boom. Just as in California in Silicon Valley a 1 bedroom shack doesn't sell for less than $100k.