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.