by Rod D. Martin
June 23, 2015
The picture says it all.
When some “progressive” demands $15 an hour for unskilled, entirely replaceable labor, you know they’re either bleeding heart morons or Alinskyite agitators, in the latter case deliberately seeking to push the working poor onto welfare and into dependence so they can be “organized.”
Either way, this is the result. At a reasonable wage, McDonalds can afford to hire countless unreliable unskilled teenagers, plus lots of more serious unskilled older people who can rise through the ranks (liberal canards notwithstanding, virtually no one stays at the minimum for very long).
But at a wage that works out to — wait for it — more than $30,000 a year? For unskilled, transitory “help”? Yeah, kiosks are the only sound decision. And when that happens, get ready for the outrage. Riots even, ala Baltimore. Because that’s what the agitators were after all along.
What the left never says (or understands) is that time isn’t standing still. You’re supposed to progress over time. If you don’t have enough, you’re supposed to work more and harder. When my wife’s first husband abandonded her and the kids, she worked three jobs for several years. That’s sad, but there’s nothing wrong with it, and it set a marvelous example: the kids all learned to work hard and all became very successful because they took nothing for granted and had zero sense of entitlement.
Some of their friends who had it better are little more than bums today.
If the left really believed its own logic, that raising the minimum wage has no effect on hiring and no effect on companies’ ability to continue operating, leftists would demand a $30 an hour minimum wage ($60,000 a year), with benefits, no part time and no firings. Indeed, why stop at that? They would demand a $100 an hour minimum wage, or $1,000. Leftists had a supermajority in Congress as recently as 2010; they have one in California now. So what was stopping them? If they actually believe what they say, that is.
But they don’t. Not the leaders, at least. They know this is all agitprop, they know this isn’t real. It will help the unions, yes; it will drive unskilled workers onto welfare, yes. But mostly, this is theatre, and the economic arguments being made are a smokescreen.
The economics? Not that complicated. Let’s say I’m selling Coca Cola. And let’s say you want a Coke. So I say, “that will be $800, thank you.” Do you buy the Coke? No, no you do not.
Oh that’s mean and uncharitable, some might say. Is it?
Or let’s say I want a job as a cashier at Walmart. I go interview, they offer me the job, and I say “Great, now I expect you to pay me $1 million a year.” They laugh, but I get indignant. “Don’t you understand that I have bills to pay? My wife wants a new diamond ring, after all, and I just bought a $500,000 house!”
Not their problem.
An employer actually has to be able to pay the people she hires. An employer is not a welfare program, and the deal has to be fair to both sides of the bargain.
Artificially raising the minimum wage to an insane level doesn’t help anyone. It just prices the least skilled out of the market. It makes teenagers unemployable, and for a lot of them, college unattainable. It increases welfare rolls, it forces companies to look for ways to automate that they would otherwise avoid. And to the degree it does not do these things, it raises prices on basic items the poorer among us have to buy. So even when it “helps” someone, it hurts them on the other end.
Any minimum wage is a bad idea. Raising the minimum wage we have to an unsustainable level is far, far worse. It will have terrible consequences. And the only real benefits will accrue to certain politicians who understand absolutely everything I just said.
UPDATE: Fallout in Seattle. Terrible news for poor teenagers, great news for leftwing organizers, plus a dose of entitlement mentality you just have to read to believe.