Last Thursday, several fast food restaurants across 50 states were forced to close because their employees walked out and protested for higher wages. These valiant revolutionaries have coined the term “Strike for 15!”
The protesters seek to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which would be a significant pay raise from the average current hourly rate of $7.65 or about $15,000 a year.
Julio Wilson, a Little Caesars employee in Raleigh, N.C. said, “I know I’m risking my job, but it’s my right to fight for what I deserve.”
Is making more than most of the 3 million elementary and middle school teachers, all who hold teaching certificates or at the very least bachelor’s degrees, make in a year a constitutional right?
Should corporations and the general public reward the unskilled labor force who did not choose to invest in higher education or other trade-based skills?
The answer is a definite and unequivocal no.
Time and time again I read articles about how evil corporations are destroying America and hurting the little man. Money-grubbing corporate giants such as Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Exxon Mobil are continually portrayed as soulless behemoths that delight in running mom-and-pop stores out of business, all while paying well below the federal minimum wage.
The truth of the matter is corporations should not have to pay what we “deserve” or what we “need.” They should have to pay how much our labor is worth.
Let’s pretend this scenario plays out and McDonald’s raises its minimum starting pay to $15 an hour. If you were running a business and had to start paying your 16 employees twice as much, you would more than likely eventually cut down to only eight employees.
Because of the beauty of federal tax code, employers are required to match their employees’ Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as Federal Insurance Contribution Act taxes, which roughly translates to 13 percent of every employee’s salary.
Because of this increased cost, McDonald’s would have to increase its prices to make up for the increase in payroll taxes. This would directly affect low-income household’s expenditures because they are more frequent consumers at fast food restaurants.
The last problem in our little scenario is the fact that economics and rational behavior exists. If we increase the supply of money, the only result will be an increase in prices. If everyone in a low-income neighborhood was making twice as much as they were before rent, the prices of commodities and services would also increase. If you don’t believe me, try moving to New York City or Chicago on the average Phoenix salary.
My father is an immigrant from Mexico and neither of my parents graduated from college. They often worked 50- to 60-hour weeks to provide for my brothers and sisters. Because of their lack of entitlement and belief in education and hard work, I am where I am today.
Instead of demanding a higher salary because they thought they deserved it, they took on two or three jobs at a time and worked hard to get where they are today.
The solution to poverty is not in social programs or charity. It is in hard work and resilience.
Tell Josh what you think of increasing the minimum wage at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @_joshgonzalez