ON THE SUBJECT OF RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE…

minimum wage

Well, as you know, or should know, there has been much talk this primary season about fairness and the need to raise the minimum wage to a rather unrealistic level.  And most, if not all of such talk has been heard coming from those on the left.  And while I suppose it sounds pretty good, we need to keep in mind that such talk is coming from those who have never in their life actually been responsible for the running of any sort of business, be it large or small.  So entering into the fray is former CEO of McDonald’s Ed Rensi, who has made the point that a proposed $15 minimum wage would accomplish nothing more than to drive restaurants to use automation more, and therefore to hire far fewer workers.

And it was during a recent interview on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” program that Mr. Rensi slammed the idea of raising the minimum wage, saying, “If a $15 minimum wage goes into effect across the country, you’re going to see job loss like you can’t believe.”  And he then went on to add that “it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging french fries.”  The former CEO said automation will be the result of a higher minimum wage because “if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense, it’s going to happen whether you like it or not.”

Rensi said he favors the idea of leaving the minimum wage issue up to the states and eliminating a federal minimum altogether, saying, “The states ought to decide what the minimum wage is based on cost of living in the regions they’re in.”   Which would seem to make much more sense.  Mr. Rensi also believes the minimum wage debate is little more than “a sham and it’s destroying this country” because low-wage employers, such as fast-food restaurants, shouldn’t be focused on minimum wage, but on training employees to grow.”  He said, “They shouldn’t be minimum-wage workers their entire life. That’s wrong.”  However, I would argue that if one remains a minimum their entire life the fault lies with them, not with their employer.

Mr. Rensi is one who has been quite vocal in the ongoing minimum-wage debate, including writing an article in Forbes, in which he places blame on union organizers for the $15 minimum wage proposal. He said, “I suspect the labor organizers behind this campaign for a $15 minimum wage are less interested in helping employees, and more interested in helping themselves to dues money from their paycheck.”  Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that roughly 3 million workers, 3.9 percent of all hourly paid workers, made the current $7.25 minimum wage or less, and 1.7 million had wages below the minimum wage, while 1.3 million had wages at the minimum wage level.  But again, moving beyond that rests with the individual.

Look, once again we have the law of unintended consequences kicking in. Why do you think that manufacturing is moving towards robots to do everything? They don’t complain, they don’t strike, they don’t call in sick, they don’t take a vacation or require union negotiations and their cost is pretty much predictable over any period of time.  And what these protesters don’t seem to be able to grasp is that while they may have gotten away with their idiotic antics 15, or so, years ago, today automation has gotten so good that these days they can, and very often are, be replaced relatively easy and at a cost that is recouped in a relatively short time.  And the end result there is that you end up getting better service with a lot less attitude!

Conservatives have long tried to tried to tell these lefties who insisted on “feeling good” by pushing the minimum wage increase that the end result would be a LOSS of jobs.  Did they listen?  Do they EVER listen? Oh, no, they use ear plugs and now hundreds of thousands of kids who aren’t worth that minimum wage will be sitting at home or out causing mischief.  Do the math. If 5 years is the assumed life expectancy of the typical robot: Depreciation, $35,000/5 = $7,000 per year, upkeep $30,000/year for 10 Robots = $3,000.  Add the need for maybe 4 techs to keep everything running for 16 hours/week = $50,000/year and there you go: $7,000 + $30,000 + 50,000= $87,000/year, which is less than 2,000 hours x $15/hr x 4 employees = $120,000/year.

It’s so simple you’d think even a liberal Democrat could understand it. But apparently not!  When you raise the minimum wage the price of everything goes up, there’s simply no way to stop that. The only thing that raising the burger flippers’ wages to $15 an hour will do is to make the job that real people work, for 15 bucks an hour, worthless too. People who get paid $15 an hour for construction jobs that are actually skilled laborers, you have to actually be good at what you do.  Minimum wage jobs are job that teenagers gets to gain experience and to develop a good work ethic that allows them to move up the ladder to better jobs.  What the policies of the left make clear is that they are trying to destroy this country and its people.

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