What a National $15 Minimum Wage Looks Like

I posted the photo below on my Facebook account on Sunday with the caption “Live photograph of what a national $15 minimum wage looks like:”

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Some readers mistakenly took that post as an attack on poor people, which of course completely misses the point. The point is that, once the government requires fast food businesses to dramatically increase the costs associated with the jobs they provide, many, perhaps most, of those jobs will simply go away, and the workers at, say, McDonalds will increasingly be displaced by the technology seen in the photo.

I got my first actual job when I was 14 years old, helping a couple of guys run the local mini-golf park. From that point forward, I worked every summer and Christmas break throughout my high school and college years, and held jobs during many in-school semesters as well. Every one of those jobs was a minimum wage job, and I was lucky and happy to have them, even the welder’s helper job on a pipeline construction crew, working 80-90 hour weeks in the heat of South Texas summers. With time and a half for overtime, even that $2.10 minimum wage in effect in 1976-77 added up to a decent sum of money by the time September rolled around.

I also worked various jobs in local clothing and hardware stores, where I learned how to do things like deal with ornery customers, measure an inseam, iron shirts, cut pipe, wrap Christmas gifts and put bicycles together. Over one Christmas break, since I was then majoring in accounting, I was assigned the task of taking inventory in a hardware store that had at the time been in operation for more than 80 years. You could never believe how many hundreds of thousands of screws, bolts, washers and nails one store could accumulate over such a long period of time.

I also worked for little while as a checker at a grocery store and for maybe 3 days as a waiter, but that was one job I couldn’t hack. I’ve been extremely courteous to restaurant wait staff throughout my life as a result of that awful experience.

The point here is this: These minimum wage jobs are an important element of our society’s cohesiveness and evolution, and the more we have of them, the better off our society will be. Jobs like these not only serve to keep people from becoming dependent on the state, they serve to teach young people many useful skills in life.

In my own life, I could directly link that experience taking inventory to my early career as an accountant. That experience working summers in the oil field was a catalyst for developing an interest in the oil business, in which I spent my entire adult life. The experience in sales directly helped prepare me for a later career as a lobbyist.

Many people like to make fun of “burger flippers” working at fast food joints like McDonald’s, but these are some of the most useful starting jobs a person can have.  Think of the various skillsets young people develop while in such jobs. For starters, you learn how to cook things, which is one of the basic keys to human life. But you are also customer-facing much of the time, and learn to develop skills in dealing with difficult human beings, who, trust me, are every-freaking-where you go.

At a burger joint, you also learn how a basic supply chain operates, from the patties to the grill to the bun to the bag and out the window to the customer, adding accessories like salt, pepper, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, fries and ketchup and a 32 oz. soft drink with extra ice along the way. You may think it’s all trivial and tedious when you’re 20 years old and doing it, but these are all skills you will lean on throughout the rest of your life.

When the government artificially sets prices on these jobs that are so high that businesses can’t remain profitable with their current work force, many of these jobs start to disappear, and many young people lose their means of learning these important life skills. Millions of teenagers and college students aren’t lucky as I was and my grandkids are to have two parents to help them learn such skills, and the lack of job opportunities can hinder their abilities to make an adequate living as they progress through life.

I’m all for paying people more money, and many companies have commendably moved to a $15 minimum wage voluntarily in recent years. Other companies that can only remain profitable at lower wage levels haven’t done that, which is how a free market system should work. When those companies are forced by the government to pay more for their workers, they will either adapt by cutting some of their jobs or go out of business entirely, taking all of their jobs with them.

That’s the point of that picture. It has literally nothing to do with demeaning poor people, and everything to do with wanting as many people as possible to have the jobs where they will develop the skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever before. Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge. It’s the tool I use to help keep up with all the day’s events, and it should be your tool, too.

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rlo

As a teen, I lived in rural Missouri farm coutnry. Hauled hay for 3 cents per bale. Eventually had my own crew and got 10 cents a bale and 3 cents for my two helpers. First job out of HS was working for a brick layer for $3 hour. Next was manfacturing job, $3.50 an hour. Moved to another city and got job for $7 hour. Went to school, received Associates degree and moved to bigger city and got job for $12 hour. Point is, minimum wage is starting point or supplemental income. Up to you to get experience and keep moving up the ladder. Should not expect to be given existence, would rather earn. Kids are being taught opposite these days. Everything is a right except for you non-complying thoughts.

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Gregg

Other points:

Companies that can’t afford to automate, take a mom-and-pop restaurant for example, will have to charge $15.00 for a hamburger, they won’t be able to compete, and many of these small business will go out of business.

That is the plan.

With the ensuing massive inflation caused by artificially inflating the cost of doing business and the resulting devaluing of the US dollar, our savings will become worthless and more gubmint dependency will result. Foreign imports made with slave labor won’t be “cheap” either as our dollar will be diminished.

That is the plan.

There will be no incentive to save for a long term or even a short term “rainy day” or retirement or be a responsible member of society and certainly no ability or incentive to grow as an individual especially after the donkeys raise taxes to the point where there is no reason (actually successful people will be punished under this system of communism) to bust one’s hump when it will get you nowhere.

That is the plan

When the inflation sets in, $15.00 per hour will become worthless and soon it will be $25.00, $50.00, $100.00…

That is the plan

As you stated, many of these entry level jobs will just go away to technology, but others, like lifeguards and interns, will not be offered causing a diminishing of quality of life for all.

That is the plan

The dubious benefit of a “minimum wage” has always been fraught with the potential for huge negatives and increasing it arbitrarily to buy votes will kill the real life learning that you describe making us a less capable and resilient society ever more dependent upon whatever meager subsistence level the gubmint may provide.

That is the plan

And finally, most of the jobs you described are low skill ENTRY-LEVEL positions that were and are never supposed to be a career in and of themselves, but a pathway to learning and advancement.

If one has to depend upon government mandates to get a raise, they are one sorry individual.

Rustynail

South Africa used the minimum wage to specifically keep young unskilled blacks out of their labor pool. That same thing happens here!

Jay Whitcraft

there are at least 2 things that these fools don’t understand. 1. Any business has “X” dollars to spend on labor costs. Using my local Walmart as an example, when they are forced to raise wages, the only way to stay in the “X” number is to cut jobs so the cost stays the same for the company.
2 the people who lost jobs that were making say $11/hour won’t be buying things now that they are unemployed.
that is addition to all the things that Dave pointed out.
Contrast that with what happened at our local Walmart when Trumps tax cuts went through, everyone got a raise ( I asked some employees) because another cost to the company went down and they shared that benefit with the employees who worked there. Jay

Silas

And those that will put this law on slojo’s desk will not one damn whit about it. And when folks start stealing to survive they’ll wonder where why the crime rate is spiking.

Mensa Graham

I can remember what a $3.75 minimum wage was. How long does anyone who can think believes $15 will mean anything? Minimum wage should set (if people insist on $15 do it) but it should also be adjusted yearly to keep up with inflation.

Gregg

That supposedly what the reason for all the federal and state mandated increases were over the years; now the minimum wage increases will be a main driver of inflation.

Brandon J Stover

Out here in Seattle when fools backed the socialist voicing 15 now a few years ago and passed that wage increase, I thought people would learn another lesson on how destructive it is. I watched it before my eyes and how frustrated people in my grocery store got when baggers made as much as cashiers by doing half the work. I thought they’d realize the cause… I’ve since asked people what they think of a federal min wage citing how terrible it was for Seattle as a direct example they would relate to. Surprisingly they would argue it wasn’t destructive, and so i’d ask if it achieved a single goal it was meant for. They’d say no. I would then ask, ‘so if it didn’t work locally why would it work nationally?’ One answer I remember: “I’m not an economist, but just because it may not have worked locally doesnt mean it won’t work nationally.”

Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. – I forget who said it, probably Einstein.

Sadly, most of our electorate is insane by voting for Biden after the terrible 08-16 span. Welcome to our society where history, evidence, and facts don’t matter.

Rob

working conditions aside, that is what happened in the farming industry. The expensive machinery suddenly became economical when wages were forced to be higher than market.

Also, I bet I could name most of the places you worked. The mini-golf was one of my favorites.

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