…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
I noticed the McDonald (fast food factories) strikes in US recently, in support of the Obama’s push for an increase in the minimum wage. As always, we should ask – cui bono?
One prominent (at least in Washington) hypocrite even managed to get herself arrested: “… black Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore was arrested Thursday during one of many protests demanding that all fast food workers be paid at least $15 per hour: Rep. Moore made her selfless sacrifice because she wants fast food workers to know that if they want to earn a “living wage,” they should… not take certain positions in her congressional office: Imagine how much less Moore’s interns would earn if her office expenses were paid with her own money. Interns might be forced to pay for the privilege of working for her. Would Moore lighten up on fast food restaurants if McDonalds or BK instead described some of their jobs as “french fry internships”? Didn’t think so.”
What a ***! On the other hand; which skills are more desirable and better rewarded in the contemporary, Obama’s America? Should a youngster be learning to sweep floors and chop tomatoes for $15 per hour at some McDonald’s or acquiring the rudiments of lying, bullying and thieving for nothing at some Congress-person’s office?
While higher minimum wages are not the sole cause of the higher unemployment, they certainly significantly contribute to it.
Thomas Sowell – Mob rule economics: In 1948, the year I left home, the unemployment rate among black 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was 9.4 percent, slightly lower than that for white kids the same ages, which was 10.2 percent. Over the decades since then, we have gotten used to unemployment rates among black teenagers being over 30 percent, 40 percent or in some years even 50 percent. Such is the price of political “compassion.”
A few minutes of thought ought to suffice to see why it is so. Sowell again:
“While we talk about democracy and equal rights, we seem increasingly to let both private and government decisions be determined by mob rule. There is nothing democratic about mob rule. It means that some people’s votes are to be overruled by other people’s disruptions, harassments and threats.
The latest examples are the mobs in the streets in cities across the country, demanding that employers pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour, or else that the government makes them do so by law. Some of the more gullible observers think the issue is whether what some people are making now is “a living wage.” This misconstrues the whole point of hiring someone to do work. Those who are being hired are paid for the value of the work they do.
If their work is really worth more than what their employer is paying them, all they have to do is quit and go work for some other employer, who will pay them what their work is really worth. If they can’t find any other employer who will pay them more, then what makes them think their work is worth more?
As for a “living wage,” the employer is not hiring people in order to acquire dependents and become their meal ticket. He is hiring them for what they produce.”
This, I guess, is totally incomprehensible and intrinsically abhorrent to the Left academics, periodistas and politicians.
So who benefits?
“Whatever the good intentions behind minimum wage laws, what matters are the actual consequences. Many people have ideological, financial or political incentives to obfuscate the consequences.
Labor unions are the biggest force behind attempts to raise the minimum wage, not only in the United States but in other countries around the world. That may seem strange, since most union members already earn more than the minimum wage. But the unions know what they are doing, even if too many gullible observers do not.
Low-skill workers with correspondingly low wages compete in the labor market with higher skilled union members with correspondingly higher wages. Many kinds of work can be done by various mixtures of low-skilled workers and high-skilled workers.
Minimum wage rates that are higher than what most low-skilled and inexperienced workers are worth simply price those workers out of the job markets, leaving more work for union members. All the unions have to do is camouflage what is happening by using rhetoric about “a living wage,” or “social justice” or whatever else will impress the gullible.”
The strikes at McDonalds are particularly amusing. Employees of fast food establishments are particularly vulnerable to replacement. Modern electronic sensors and gadgets, cheaper and smaller every day, can weigh more accurately and faster; measure the temperature more accurately and faster; measure colours with precision unattainable even by a trained eye; wash, cut, mix, flip etc. better, far better than any human, and an untrained and otherwise unemployable human in particular. Furthermore, a machine is unlikely to spit or rub genitals on the product and I guess it could produce an impersonal smile as good as any bored teenager.
[Disclosure – all my four sons at some stage of their formative years worked at restaurants; I myself spent a quite few nights as an unpaid barman at a club.]
“This month, McDonald’s posted its worst same-stores sales decline since 2003, and sales at stores open at least 13 months dragged 3.7 per cent in August.”