The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Friday, July 14, 2017

Horrific Cruelty

There are political movements to push the federal minimum hourly wage to $15. Raising the minimum wage has popular support among Americans. Their reasons include fighting poverty, preventing worker exploitation and providing a living wage. For the most part, the intentions behind the support for raising the minimum wage are decent. But when we evaluate public policy, the effect of the policy is far more important than intentions. So let’s examine the effects of increases in minimum wages.

The average wage for a cashier is around $10 an hour, about $21,000 a year. That’s no great shakes, but it’s an honest job for full- or part-time workers and retirees wanting to earn some extra cash. In anticipation of a $15-an-hour wage becoming federal law, many firms are beginning the automation process to economize on their labor usage.

Panera Bread, a counter-serve cafe chain, anticipates replacing most of its cashiers with kiosks. McDonald’s is rolling out self-service kiosks that allow customers to order and pay for their food without ever having to interact with a human. Momentum Machines has developed a meat-flipping robot, which can turn out 360 hamburgers an hour. These and other measures are direct responses to rising labor costs and expectations of higher minimum wages.

Here’s my question to supporters of higher minimum wages: How compassionate is it to create legislation that destroys an earning opportunity? Again, making $21,000 a year as a cashier is no great shakes, but it’s better than going on welfare, needing unemployment compensation or idleness. Why would anybody work for $21,000 a year if he had a higher-paying alternative? Obviously, the $21,000-a-year job is his best-known opportunity. How compassionate is it to call for a government policy that destroys a person’s best opportunity? I say it’s cruel.



Anonymous said...

well even if they dont pass $15 an hour now the move to automation will continue as a way to increase profits

of course there will be new jobs in making the automation machines, servicing them, ect.

these jobs will require more skill, require fewer people, and be in a diff location that the jobs the automation will replace though

Anonymous said...

Come on $21K a year IS welfare. AFTER taxes (to include MD), you are looking at take home about $12K (figuring 40% fed/state/local taxes and maybe a $1 for retirement..hahaha)


$15 dollars an hour is a great idea if every job was a gov't job....but its not. The last time I checked, private industry drives the train and they make the decisions. Without speaking and just doing, they do not like $15 an hour for min-wage - hence KIOSKs!

Thanks Feds/locals for mandating a $15 min wage...thanks for making private industry taking the jobs away so they can still have their nut!

Until the word GREED is removed from our brains, it will ALWAYS be like this!

Anonymous said...

This whole thing was not well thought out by its champions. Changing (apparently blindly) one facet of a very complex mix of social and economic factors is a knee jerk reaction to the issue, one that legislators are quick to use, that being "Throw more money at it"; and it's even better when it's somebody else's money.

Anonymous said...

Best part is those that have worked years to get to 15 an hour will demand differential raises, all incomes go up, as does the cost of living. Entire cycle repeats itself without benefit

Anonymous said...

Why not make it $20.00 an hr? They still will not work when they get from $30,000 - $60,000 on public assistance and have to pay no housing, no food bill, eat food that I can't afford, energy drinks, alcohol, no utilities, free Obama IPhones, no healthcare, drive around in expensive vehicles, vehicles with expensive tires and wheels, 60 in TV, expensive in style clothing I cannot afford to name a few. Would you go to work with all these benefits handed over to you for sitting around on your ass?

Anonymous said...

"I was just in France, in Argentina, Israel, Ireland we met with the Prime Minister of India and China it's amazing to me that every single one of those countries understands that practical policies to promote business growth is good for the average citizens of those countries for jobs and wages and somehow this great American free enterprise system we no longer get it." Jamie Dimon

Anonymous said...

In 2020 the average value item is $3.And,if it makes anyone feel better Trump got re elected by a landslide.North Korea was apparently starved out because we hardly ever hear from them anymore, and the WW3 that everyone predicted never happened because of Trumps diplomatic skills to avert.Locally we have a Cici's Pizza and a new Cracker Barrel.Foreclosures are still the hot item for home buyers and those poor people who paid way too much for their homes are basically stuck with them unless they decide to let them be foreclosed on.The buyers market has never been better in homebuying history.I don't like driving around circles,but that seems to be the "in" thing.

Anonymous said...

Higher mandated minimum wages incentivize research, development and installation of kiosks, robo-clerks, etc. Once installed the replaced jobs won't come back, and where will the low/marginally skilled workers displaced find subsequent employment? (Hint: Seen any bank ATMs being replaced by more tellers?)

There are definitely wage disparities across jobs and society; most result from relative lack of training and/or education. You don't need a law degree to pull chickens apart or take orders for fries but those who fail to prepare for a more challenging and better paying future will find their options severely limited. That won't change!

Anonymous said...

Probably part of the plan. This will only make more people dependent on government assistance

Anonymous said...

minimum wage is meant as a starting point

if you have been at a job and still making min wage, well there is a problem, and its most likely you

dont like the pay? get another job that pays more

Anonymous said...

Visit the State Employees' Credit Union. Tellers gone. Kiosks only. Missing that personal touch. I do it all on the internet instead.

Anonymous said...

So you're attacking people getting fair wages because...automation's going to replace the job anyway?

Maybe the simple solution is not allowing that level of automation? Maybe give companies a tax break for hiring real employees, or they pay a fine for having too much automation?

That's like not taking medicine when you're sick because you're going to die of old age anyway.

Anonymous said...

1230 - 20th Century thinking and we're 17 years into the 21st Century.

Thanks but no thanks. Hope the DEMS are happy since their way of thinking....well.............we are in a craze aren't we!

Anonymous said...

The stupidity of this area continues to astound me.