There’s a war on out on Main Street USA. Labor unions want you to think it’s the 30s all over again and McDonalds and Jack in the Box are the auto industry and the coal mines. The fight is over the minimum wage, and the unions are calling for a “living wage.”
“The Fight for Fifteen” is their rally cry. They want the minimum wage raised to $15 per hour so, in theory, a minimum wage worker can support a family. Tugs at your heart strings doesn’t it?
The problem for minimum wage workers is that their knights in shining armor, the union leaders who will be collecting dues from them and the Democrats who will expect them to vote for Democrats, are ignorant about basic economics.
First of all, “minimum wage jobs” are designed as an entry point into the workforce. A job where an unskilled young person can learn the basic skills of holding a job. They are not designed to be permanent positions. They’re designed for workers with little to no skill who require training and supervision and who will gain some skill at the job and some elsewhere and move up to a better job.
Second, when you demand to be paid more than you are worth, bad things happen to you. Your jobs disappear. Minimim wage workers in Seattle and San Francisco are discovering that as their companies either close their doors or reduce staff.
And then there’s the third thing that happens, it’s called automation. Check out McDonalds new minimum wage order taker.
By the way, the people who were saying “Want fries with that?” last week are sleeping in this week. They also made a startling discovery, their new minimum wage is now zero.
Service jobs are fairly easy to automate. Remember when you had to go to a teller during banking hours to make a deposit or take out some cash? If banks can replace tellers who handle large sums of money, fast food restaurants will be lining up to install automated ordering screens, automatic fryers, and machines that will build a custom burger.
Those touch screens don’t need much in the way of time off, they don’t have legally mandated health care, and they don’t whine.