What Will Happen if Minimum Wage Goes to $15 per Hour

Fast food workers across the United States went on strike to protest minimum wage pay. They want their salaries doubled to $15 per hour — twice the federal minimum wage rate.

If the $15-wage-rate goes into effect, business will drop off and layoffs will take place. Some of the people who went on strike will lose their jobs. You can’t break the economic law of supply and demand without there being consequences. Demand will go down if costs go up.

But there’s another consequence that these low-wage employees are not thinking about. As a business owner, if I have to pay someone double for the same amount and kind of work, then I’m going to find someone with better skills, reliability, and work ethic.

Unskilled workers will end up being displaced by more skilled workers. Take a look at youth unemployment. Lows or no skilled workers are priced out of the market.

The best employees in the fast food industry, if they decide to make a career out of the business, don’t remain minimum wage employees. They work their way up to management.

I worked at a supermarket in Ft. Lauderdale after graduating from college. I stocked shelves for 10 to 12 hours each day six days a week. Management saw my work ethic and offered me the assistant manager’s job at the new store that they were opening.

Instead of taking the promotion, I went to graduate school to advance academically to secure a better paying and more fulfilling career path.

Let’s face it. Fast-food jobs are for entry level employees. I’m going to my 45th high school reunion next month, and I’d be willing to wager that no one there is still working at McDonalds. Low-wage paying jobs are often an incentive for people to get a better education, gain further work experience, and motivate themselves to seek better careers.

There’s a story out of Chicago about a man who’s been working at McDonalds for 21 years and is still making only minimum wage. He expects more pay for the same amount of work. If he quit tomorrow, McDonalds could hire a new employee at the same wage and not experience a downturn in business.

Minimum-wage workers are expendable. If demand for food and services go up, wages will go up.

There’s a high turnover rate in the fast food industry. That’s the nature of the business. Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini said the following in an email:

“We are proud to provide a place where thousands of people, who come to us asking for a job, can enter the workforce at a starting wage, gain skills and advance with us or move on to something else.”

Exactly.  A company is obligated to pay a promised wage and no more. No one is forced to work for anybody. Fast-food workers are not slaves. They have freedom of movement. There was a time when people left homes and families to secure better opportunities for themselves and their children at great cost. Now we’re at a place where wages are demanded.

Here’s some advice. Instead of striking at the places where you are working, you might try voting for people who will lower taxes so companies can keep more of the money they earn and pass some of the profit on to you. With more money in everybody’s pocket, demand for goods and services will go up along with the number of jobs and wages.

If you don’t like what you’re getting paid, then find another job or start your own business.


  • http://fb Paul T. Leslie

    Well, with the strike we all had another opportunity to see and hear a demonstration of communism here in the land of the free.

    We haven't had a chance like that since Dear Leader last spoke.

  • Montie

    My thoughts on minimum wage increases. The government loves them. Any comments are appreciated.

    With all of the talk about minimum wage increases I think a lot of people are missing some important information.
    1 If a minimum wage employee gets an increase from 9.00 + an hour to 15.00 an hour then everyone who works at this location who receives more than minimum wage now would expect (and rightly so) an increase of a like amount so they would still be making more.. In fast food this could be shift supervisors, etc.
    2 If the employer has to increase the pay by 6.00 +/- then they will also have to increase the unemployment taxes, Social Security deposits and possibly other taxes depending on the location of his business. This is at least another 8-10%, so 6.00 costs 6.60
    3 The cost for the items the business purchases will also increase since their suppliers also have to do the same thing… increase their employees pay
    4 The employer is spending an estimated 6-6.60 per hour increase and so they will have to increase their prices by enough to cover this plus B&O taxes on the increase sales, say the equivalent of +/- 7.00 per hour of employee increase. Don’t forget the increased cost of his product.
    5 The employee will not see this much of an increase since they will have to have more taken out of their pay for taxes and Social Security. My example over the years using rounded off numbers has been a 1.00 an hour increase will cause the employer to have to increase the prices by 1.25 and the employee will get only .75 net to cover the increased prices.
    6 THE GOVERNMENT WILL GET THE DIFFERENCES in increase B&O, tax withholding and Social Security deposits and B&O if in WA state. Guess who would really like to see these increases and not for the employee’s benefit
    7 So inflation gets created and some employers go out if business.

    THE ONLY ONE WHO REALLY WINS IS THE GOVERNMENT

    • sn

      And the looser is; THE CONSUMER. Basically, all of us PEONS. Just another attempt to cripple the economy... Will it increase HIGH TECH JOBS? NOT! Maybe it will cause high tech jobs to have to increase. Woola, INFLATION or maybe Hyper-Inflation!

      • jrhunt

        anybody for a ten dollar Big Mac or whopper and how about some five dollar fries(medium)and a five dollar soft drink cost for husband and wife only forty dollars or so,what about family of four or more,what do you think will happen to those minimum wage jobs if that were to take place,they would go the way of the dodo Bird.

        • P.A.

          What most don't know is that most of the demostraters where hired and brought in by the unions. The more member the more dues. They don't care if some lose their jobs, they will take dues from what ever members they can get. I hope McDonalds don't give in.

    • Bill

      Perhaps we should also figure that some employees will also lose government benefits they may now be getting like welfare payments, food stamps, rent assistance, heating assistance, earned income tax credits, and cell phones.

      • Alton

        BIG O will fix that. It will give him more money for all of those 11 million Mexicans .

    • Jose A. Clavijo

      I came to this Country in 1950, started working for 1.75 Hr. at vegetables packing Co.
      All true the years, I've work my self by continuous school
      education I graduated from National trade school and Southern California Gas Co. in the 60's, I started earning
      35.00 in Hr., with the experience I obtained true all those
      years, I went on my own making 75.00 in Hr. and I did retired at my 80th birthday making 100.00 in Hr.
      I didn't have children to live on Welfare like all this
      people that inter illegally our Country and want benefits.

    • Richie

      You added everyone except the unions that started this whole scheme. Any raise that is gotten will all go to the unions and you get to pay the taxes on them. Wake up you damn fools.

    • john

      The "House" always wins!

  • Greg

    you can only cut employees to a certain extent, the remaining costs of the raise will be to increase the cost of the goods. That 5 dollar burger will now be 8 bucks. It is a domino effect. EVERYONE will raise their prices as well to reflect the cost of the burger, and you are back to square one.

  • ONTIME

    Minimum wage is just a way to extort, it is a cost added to doing biz and it will drive up the cost of the product being sold and all other overhead cost. It is another way to obstruct the effects it will cause, less employees, higher cost and may compromise quality and future employment but what does the SEIU care...these people in the SEIU union leadership deserve a long jail term and the members need to step back and cut the cost of their own dues....

  • http://johnsnare@yahoo.com johnsnare

    Fast food companies usually hire young, or moms who have raised their kids and are looking for some extra money. A young guy or gal, I would think,does not work at a fast food place, with permanent employment in mind. Fifteen dollars an hour to flip a burger.? Concentrate on furthering your education, and enjoy the job, and extra money while you are young enough.

    • Jimmi

      The problem is not the minimum wage. The problem is jobs and lack of good paying ones for people with limited skills. When you go to fast food places, supermarkets, and other place that were once places for homemakers and teens to work, you find adults ... older adults trying to raise a family on $7.25 an hour. Of course they fall into low income so they get food stamps to survive and we taxpayers get to pay for it.

      Just go into Walmart and look at all the 30-40 year old adults working there for low wages often not even full time... their name tags say 10 year employee etc. Jobs are the issue and we don't make many products here in America anymore so where are these people going to work? Bingo... fast food ... in the inner cities fast food is the only game in town.

  • RoyInNC

    Kudos for a well thought out and presented article. In NC, fast food workers are often paid higher than minimum wage. I think it may be 35-50 cents more. This isn't a high skill industry. Ambition and motivation usually cause workers to move on. Even if they got double the minimum wage, it would put pressure on all other jobs that pay in that 1-2 times minimum wage range, thus having far reaching effects on the whole economy. It is difficult to imagine that so many cannot intuitively understand these effects. Everyone wants to be rich, or at least, well off. Someone has to sweat for it. It can't be attained by just printing more money.

  • Colonialgirl

    The other side of this is the impact on workers that were making $10, 12,and 15 dollars doing jobs that require more SKILLS than flipping burgers; They are going to IMMEDIATELY demand that THEIR pay be Doubled to reflect the greater intelligence and effort required above that of the burger flipper.
    This whole thing is an exercise in stupidity and left winger idiocy.

  • petra huf

    Excellent points but one thing remains unsaid - when they are making twice the money many will work half the hours. It's not so much that they want higher wages as it is that they want to be able to afford to live as they do while having more leisure time.

    • Dara

      This is all orchestrated by the UNIONS. If 'they' were to get their 'way' these poor twits might just get their 'raise'... those who STILL have a j.o.b. will end up sending part of the 'new wage' to the union.

      The rest - oh, well. The unions will sign them up - and collect their dues anyway. Either way it's a win-win for the UNIONS... the workers... not so much.

    • Nightshade1972

      Not even necessarily that the workers "want more leisure time". If the minimum wage is doubled, employees who once worked a 40-hr week will find their hours cut in half because their employer wants to keep their labor costs the same. If you're making $8/hr working 40 hrs, and the minimum wage is doubled to $15, your employer will cut your hours to 20/wk to keep from actually paying you more money.

  • Bill

    "If you don’t like what you’re getting paid, then find another job or start your own business."
    What a novel concept...not found in today's entitlement society.

  • Blueviolets

    Be like the depression. My dad went to apply for a job as a milkman but he didn't have a Phd. Now you will need at least a BA to mop floors and a Masters to flip burgers. On the bright side at least those with degrees will now be able to get jobs. Sarcasm at work here except for the story about my dad. That was true.

  • Bill

    Guys it's a complete sham and set-up. Obama wants minimum wage to be set at $9.00 per hour. Protesters want $15.00 per hour. Government pushes the protesters, congress gets worried and passes a compromise. Obama gets what he wants and looks like he cares about the poor and down and out. GOP just looks plain stupid for allowing it to pass. Can anyone imagine a McDonalds double cheese burger costing $10.00?

    • adee ganes

      The one who loses when wages go up is 1) the worker 2) the consumer! Companies get their big part no matter what! Chinese overtime is what is going on now....regular pay on overtime. The consumer will end up paying for the pay raise. Who is the consumer, those who are getting the pay raises. Every time minimum wage goes up....so does all the prices...so middle class still pays for wage increases! Welfare people don't pay taxes, rich people have loop-holes. The only way middle class will benefit is if food,housing, medical,gas, taxes DON'T go UP!!!!
      So all of You who are hollering about pay raises Are still Losing!!!!! Congress gets their pay raises whenever they want, but, they are the rich!!!!

  • Jack Reacher

    I will tell you exactly what will happen if the Min, Wage goes to $15.00 an hour. A helluva lot of us retired folks will come OUT of retirement and gladly work for $15 an hour, thus continuing to eliminate the "Generation Huh" from the job market.

    No, it's not deliberate, knocking these slow-witted young mush-heads out of a job they don't want anyway, it's simply business.

    Supporting all the leeches all these years have cost retirees billions of dollars over the course of our time in the workforce. Money that we could have set aside so that we didn't have to work in retirement. But no, we continued to be taxed to death for all these welfare programs that have not done one thing to help those that do not want to be helped. (And that's a bunch of them.)

    So, Paper-Hat boy, move over and let someone in that understands that to make it in this country you need to work for it. And we "older folks" can keep our pants up, too.

    • superdog

      Excellent comment, and on the money. Usually, an applicant at the fast food stores, are young kids, or retired seniors, looking to fill some time, and earn some coffee money. The Unions, have been desperately trying for years to tap that market, without much success. Thank goodness. There was a reason, for McDonalds, and Wendy's.

    • Old Dave

      I've been retired for ten years. The wife and I prepared for it by living very conservatively, saving every dime we could, taking advantage of the company IRA, practicing healthy living and analyzing the future implications of every personal action. Inflation, frozen pensions and annuity along with zero bank interest on our nest egg is starting to seriously erode the security that we labored five decades for. Probably we will survive but the reality of declining net worth is discomforting- it ain't supposed to work that way
      The other day I paid a plumber $350 for two hours work to fix a leak. That was two weeks good factory pay when I started my working life. I feel sorry for the plight of the young. There are many villains responsible for America's economic woes and it ain't we the common people. If government was truly interested in our people's well being there would be steps taken to bring our industries home. I read that we now owe China (just China) $1.7 trillion dollars. This is madness. Damn to hell the people that got us in this mess!

  • Mudguy

    Flipping burgers were never intended to be a life time career. It has always been a starter job into the work force. Any raise in the minimum wage will mean higher prices for a burger that most people will not pay and there will less jobs for the inexperience no one wants to to pay 15$ an hour to train those who don't know how to work.

  • Kerry

    I already visit Mc D's, very little. If the minimum wage goes to $15 per hour, all of them will make even less from myself, and a good deal of other people. You can't have an operational business if you do not have customers, and this foolishness is only going to make matters worse, because those wanting higher wages are not going to have the support of customers, and they'll have their wage increase, but no job.

  • John Doe

    "try voting for people who will lower taxes so companies can keep more of the money they earn and pass some of the profit on to you."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!!!!!

  • cirbuck1

    The solution is simple. I'm surprised some democrat hasn't already figured it out. Take all the native born flippers out of the disgusting greasy jobs they really don't want anyway and let them go to college for free. Then, all the illegal immigrants that will "do anything" to survive will have jobs flipping "hamburghesas". Everyone will be happy and prices can stay the same. Oh wait, whose gonna pay for all those degrees in social arts and humanities you ask? Obama, of course. Charlie Rangel can't understand now why college isn't free. Seems like a golden opportunity to me.

  • William Wallace

    Short term effect: massive layoffs and tons of people becoming part-time so the employer can save money. Prices increase to cover additional costs. Less workers, higher prices, service quality necessarily deteriorates as quantity of workers go down. Demand for fast food goes down as prices go up and service goes down.

    Long term effect: those clamoring for a raise now are making less due to cut hours or not making anything at all after being laid off, price increases in fast food along with lower demand lead to higher prices in other sectors and/or business downsizing or closures as well due to the effects of the fast food market impacting other secondary and tertiary markets, overall economy experiences shrinkage from smaller fast food market which is very sizeable in America and ripples through out the other markets

    So the workers who want more money end up with less and being priced out of the things they thought they could afford with the higher wage due to everything else going up in price. Wage increases don't happen in a bubble. The money is not generated out of thin air, somebody has to pay for it and it's not going to be the employer.

  • Schrecken

    These clowns want things just like they were back in the USSR during the cold war. Everyone had a job, everyone got paid regardless of how well they worked, but no one had any incentive to do much of anything. They had televisions that exploded and cars that caught on fire (made in Russia by Russian citizens) - in other words, the whole economy was a mess and anything that was made there was junk. These protesters are too stupid to realize that communism just doesn't work. Sadly, they don't appear to teach this sort of stuff in school anymore, so people have forgotten how bad things really were.

  • dumvet

    Obamanism has nothing to do with honest days work for an honest wage!

  • jim shipley

    everyone who stuffs shipping boxes in our warehouse has a degree in things like history, English, philosophy, etc. and they start at minimum wage.

  • http://godfatherpolitics.com/12360/will-happen-minimum-wage-goes-15-per-hour/ George Fuller

    Hey........go for $100 an hour.......if you are going to act stupid......may as well go all the way.

  • Bill

    If some franchisees agree to pay their workers $15 per hour, we should applaud them. If they can pay $15 per hour, perhaps they could also offer health insurance, pensions, disability insurance, and life insurance as well. However, they still must compete with those franchises that pay less & provide fewer benefits. The consumer also has the option of eating at home. Ultimately, the consumer will decide how much a product is worth.

  • NVRAT

    Inflation in the Fast Food Industry that`s what. $10.00 hamburgers, $5 Fries, $4 cokes and all other products will increase in price. Now the poor will not even to afford that food.
    What ever happened to the jobs for high school kids, collage students and family`s wanting to make a little extra for their budget. It seem to me that was the purpose of the fast food restaurants was to offer food at affordable prices through lower wages (overhead costs)to stay in business and provide a product. Now days the low income wage earner seem to think these jobs are career jobs and plan to be burger flippers for life. Well they can kiss my Obama.

  • xtech

    I agree with the comment about work ethic leading to better jobs; I paid my way for two years of college working in a bakery and also a gas station at just above minimum wage. As a 17 year old kid, the bakery owner recognized my work ethic and offered me the job of running a new third shift the company was starting. I chose to go to college. The station owner gave me keys to the shop and let me work anytime I wanted during college. When I got out, there was a recession and few jobs. A good reference got me a job welding for General Dynamics at much more than minimum wage. Within months, I was doing the same level work as some guys who had been there for years and I quickly went to top pay rate. Work ethic PAYS.

  • verolady

    And in the end everybody stops going to fast food restaurants because they can't afford a $10 burger, restaurants all close down and then Mr. O. is happy. End of story.

    • Barbara J

      If they have to spend that much\h money for a burger at McDonald's, there are other places where you can get a much thicker and better tasting burger for that same price! I haven't eaten at a McDonald's for about 3 or 4 years now.

  • NVRAT

    Guess i`ll try this again. Inflation will result in the fast food industry plain and simple. Want $10 hamburgers, $5 fries, $4 cokes? just agree with this increase. Because as soon a Mc D gets hit everyone else will jump on the wagon knowing they are next to be raped by Obama`s and the Democratic Party policies.

    What ever happened to jobs for High School kids, college students, families and seniors wanting to make a little extra money for what ever reason? These jobs were not intended to be life careers and the fast food companies offered them while providing food at reasonable prices for everyone and keep their overhead down. These jokers that are complaining are those that don`t want real jobs or are not capable of holding a full time high paying job, of course, in these times under Obama everyone has a hard time finding something. Well they can drop D**D. I don`t partake in Fast Food very often but, you can bet at those increases I will not go period.

  • jim

    Since nobody goes to a fast food restaurant because of the Haute Cuisine, they go there for the dollar menu more often than not, the number of customers will drop drastically.
    The drop in income along with the increase in payroll, will cause 75% of the employees to immediately lose their jobs, and 75% of the restaurants will close within the first year.
    People will then have the choice of going to Taco Bell and spending $12.00 for a taco and a Pepsi, or going to Applebee's for a $20.00 steak, a $2.00 Coke and leaving a $5.00 tip.
    All of those customers will almost assuredly be demanding substantial raises, and inflation will again raise its ugly head like it did during the Carter fiasco.
    The ones who will be hurt the most will be those on fixed incomes, disabled, elderly, and the few who will be able to get welfare.
    But feel confident that the Senators and Representatives will still be getting their full pay for the rest of their lives, and the Obamas will still be taking 5 - 100 million dollar vacations for the rest of their sorry existence as Dictators in Chief.

    • Keith

      What tip?? If the waiters/waitresses make more than me, I'll expect a tip from them for waiting on me.

  • Fred Campbell

    Does anyone remember the origin of minimum wage laws?

    After the Civil War, the southern states were panicked by the possibility that the newly freed slaves would displace white workers.

    Their solution? Establish a minimum wage that was higher than the perceived value of the newly freed blacks.

    Problem solved.

    Today the same laws have the effect of making the marginal worker unemployable (read young people, emigrants and the handicapped). Ergo they become grist for the government welfare mill.

    I.E., a permanently unemployable class who are dependent on government largess for survival.

    Devilishly simple, no?

  • RoyInNC

    It isn't going to happen and I don't really care if it does. Not often, once in a while, I stop by a fast food restaurant. I can do it even less, or not at all, as appropriate. In NC, most fast food restaurants pay $7.50
    to $7.75 per hour, something higher than minimum wage. I would love to see the leftists among us apply themselves to careful research and consideration of both intended and unintended consequences before they jump on the bandwagon of so many touchy feely causes without any idea what the real results are likely to be.

  • http://none Scott Ezell

    What will happen if the minimum wage goes up? It will increase the surplus value. A line said by Obamas idol Karl Marx.

  • DJ

    I started working at McDonald's when I was 16, I got minimum wage ($3.25 an hour) and a meal depending on my shift length. I had a pay raise within 90 days and was employee of the month with a bonus as well. It was hard work and odd hours but it was a first job, I had no previous skills (or credit). I joined the Navy when I was 18, and proudly credit my time at McDonalds for giving me an job, and the drive to find something better. Minimum wage jobs are a start for many and the stepping stone to a better job for most. Someone still making minimum wage after the first year needs to seriously examine their life and move on.

  • Henry

    Would be something else the Marxist in Chief would enjoy seeing. The anarchy he is developing is so that at some point when blood begins flowing in the streets of America, he can install his Marxist State. The "Dreams of My Father" are getting closer and closer to reality.

  • David Kyle

    I don't eat much fast food now and will even less if a big mac costs $10. The businesses would lose customers and likely go out of business. now poor persons would not only be unemployed but unable to afford even the most affordable food which would make the rich "richer, and the poor poorer" so than there will be worse classism than there is currently. the poor would be hurt the most.

    If they are willing to make a few sacrifices now, then their future could be brighter. I did my brief time with minimum wage jobs while going to school and now make a very comfortable living but I had to work much harder than a burger flipper early in life to get there!

  • David Kyle

    this could be the start of the next civil war if their requests are granted and the these persons would lose that war.

  • Richie

    You added everyone except the unions that started this whole scheme. Any raise that is gotten will all go to the unions and you get to pay the taxes on them. Wake up you damn fools.

  • ONTIME

    If any part of this frivolous stupidity succeeds your meals out are going to double, tips for service are going to become non existent, the number of jobs in the food service industry is going to decline and no doubt the quality of this industry will suffer besides..there will be few immediate gains but many who will remain unemployed..the SEIU leadership is ripe for a jail term...

  • Guy Plante (NHGuy)

    Those who demand MORE because they believe they are not making enough will soon find out that they will get NOTHING! An interesting "unintended consequence": seems that fast food chains (BKs, McDs, et al) in Europe are now beginning to replace humans with robots at the ordering stations (touch screens). Prices have remained the same but employees have been cut!

  • Cheryl

    If they strike, fire them. Minimum was meant to be exactly that. It is not intended to be enough to raise a family on. If these ungrateful people want more, may I suggest they go back to school or learn a trade where they will be entitled to more? My son, who is disabled, would love one of these jobs, and these people think they are someone real special to want more than what they are due.

  • Ben

    I say lets give them the $15.00 an hour. When they are out of work in a few years because the independent owners could no longer afford to stay in business can hand them pink slips right before the elections. Who are they going to blame? Sure, they will try to blame conservatives, but if the states change the wage and it is a liberal state then who can they blame. Then since the unions and the liberals killed this segment of employment we should make them pay for it by paying the unemployment. You asked for the wages, you got the wages, now you have to pay for what it did. Good way to make some unions rethink.

  • williaml

    The hard truth is that if min. wage went to $15 an hour.
    the costs everything else will also rise even higher.

    If the person flipping burgers gets $15 an hour, so will the person on the shovel.

    I remember when min. wage was $2.00/Hr. and
    premium gas was 18 cents/ gal.

    All things are relative.