"'It's a victory! We have been fighting, and today we have made history,' said Alvin Major, a 49-year-old cook at a KFC restaurant in Brooklyn. He said a $15 minimum wage would mean that he could stop relying on food stamps to feed his family of six."
Uhm, did you catch that part about being a KFC "cook" feeding his "family of six"? Here's an idea - if you can barely feed yourself on your own salary, how about not spewing out more children that you can't take care of? Oh, and you're a "cook" at KFC? I guess that means you should be compensated for the highly developed skill of dumping frozen flesh into a fryer.
That's the shit that really chaps my rump. I've worked quite hard and developed quite a student loan debt so that I can make a decent wage. I believe there are massive inequalities in our country, but I'll be goddamned if a burger flipper deserves $15 an hour. I don't believe most waiters/bartenders deserve 20% because a lot of them hate their jobs and suck at their jobs. Their are those who treat their waiting jobs with respect and have the innate sense of professionalism that allows them to provide excellent service - to them I'll gladly tip quite generously. Food service, customer service, and the like should be like any other profession - you EARN money when you excel at your position.
Now, I'm technically a Democrat, but I use that term VERY loosely. It seems many Democrats believe the Federal government should MANDATE a $15 and hour MW. That is unsound economics and frankly just pisses me off. My knee jerk reaction is that instead of giving workers with stupid jobs an unearned raise, why doesn't the government just cut everyone's student loan debt by 15%? Think more spending money in Americans' pockets will boost the economy? Well, then you'll see a lot more paper flying around if you have student loan debt forgiven rather than give Joe Six Kids a couple more bucks an hour. Obviously, I'm just fantasizing here.
But here's what's NOT a fantasy: the picture above. We all know that McDonalds is hurting right now and has been on the decline for a good bit. Now, New York and Seattle are forcing McDonalds to pay people more, while their corporate earnings are shrinking. What did you think they were going to do? Honestly, I'd rather deal with one of those kiosks than some methed-up shit for brains when trying to order my McMuffin. The kiosks also attest to a very obvious fact: you are most definitely replaceable when you do not have any skills.
Democrats only want to support the minimum wage increase because they want to be seen as supporting people like Joe Six Kids, who obviously need help. Isn't that just another hand out? I've read some comments on blogs where people say the $15 MW is a good idea because then there will be less food stamps and such being doled out. So naïve! I guarantee you that Joe Six Kids will still collect food stamps, and I guarantee you that social welfare programs will not be eased/decreased as a result of $15 MW. Furthermore, for those establishments that don't go full kiosk, the increased cost of labor will only translate into higher prices. It's just another case of rich people wanting to look like they care about the poor, the poor demanding hand outs because that's what they've been conditioned to, and the middle class getting fucked.
Ira Stoll wrote a good list of minimum wage criticisms in Reason.com last year. Points 8 and 9 are my favorite. 8: "It would reduce the incentive for low-wage workers to get an education and move up to a higher-paying job." Indeed. I understand the high school kid, college kid, ex-con, foreigner, etc., who needs an entry level position to learn the ropes of employment and personal economics. But you know who else makes $15 an hour? Home health aides, stock movers, and bank tellers, according to data in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, I could either make $15 an hour flipping a burger, or flipping out of her bed an elderly woman who just shat herself. Yep, point #8 is spot on, Ira.
But #9 is what it's all about in politics:
"It’s a sneaky way to increase welfare spending and raise taxes. Raising taxes to spend more on welfare is a political loser. But raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of working poor people, at the expense of business owners (and of consumers who would pay in the form of higher prices). If politicians want to increase the earned income tax credit or other work-related welfare benefits, they should do the hard work of building political support for such policies, rather than choosing the roundabout approach of a minimum wage increase."
The real deal is that those in poverty are taught to stay in poverty - taught to stay just where they are and cry out when they want/need another hand out. The "bootstrap" and "resilient" days of the average American are long gone. Meanwhile, the glorious powers that be in government are more concerned about appearances than anything else. They want to look like they care about people, and they want it to look like you and I aren't paying for it (but we are).
I've read the arguments for the $15 - the Debate.org, the Fight for 15, etc. The pro arguments just always fall so flat. I do not want to be forced to pay for someone else's children, or lifestyle. I do not want to promote a weak, victim-mentality class of people in our society. Yes, I think corporate America, inequality, the domestic economy, power imbalance, and socio-cultural malaise in our nation are all a crying shame. But this $15 an hour for flipping burgers is just plain ole horseshit.