Give Me Comfort or Give me…

Matt Walsh had a piece yesterday that was truly brilliant.

It was aimed right at the hearts and minds of the $15/hr whiner crowd.

I want to address this to my generation and younger. The dreaded Youth of America. My fellow Young People. I think I’m still a member of this club, at least for a little while longer. These days childhood seems to extend for many people into their late 30s, so I guess if you use the Extended Adolescence scale, I’m only about 12 or so.

Thirty is the new 13, as they say.

Just trying having a rational discussion with a Liberal, you’ll be lucky if they act like a 3 year old.

In any case, I’m not sure what exactly prompted it – might be a couple of Tweets I sent out about minimum wage this week, or maybe this person stumbled upon an old article of mine — but I received a dire and depressing message yesterday. I’ll show you, just because it makes for an excellent learning opportunity:

Dear Matt, you are uninformed about the minimum wage. I’m NOT saying anyone should just HAND me a six figure income but I DO have the right to live a decent, comfortable life and not go hungry. I am 19 and supporting myself on a minimum wage job and it is not easy. 15 dollar minimum wage would be enough at least that I could be comfortable. I wish you didn’t see life through your privileged lense, then you might understand…

-Jon

Wow. Jon’s email consists of only five sentences, yet still he managed to cram in the word “comfort” twice (and “privilege” once, for good measure). He wants comfort, he says. He has a right to it. And those of us who oppose an increased minimum wage, thus standing in the way of his comfort, are privileged. This is the cartoon world he’s been indoctrinated into; this weird, mystical realm where comfort is owed to him, but evil privileged folks prowl about looking to steal it away. That’s essentially the social theory they teach in college, I’m told.

You have no shot. The privileged have taken everything so you got nothing. So vote for a Democrat to have government take it for you! 🙂

The price: Your soul. Your Pride.  And sense of self-motivation or worth.

It’s terrible to see a young guy already so bored, distracted, and unambitious that obtaining “a comfortable life” has become his objective. And not even an objective he’ll pursue on his own, but one he wants the government to deliver effortlessly to him, like a candy gram left on his doorstep by a secret admirer. It’s a heart wrenching spectacle to behold, but not remarkable. It’s certainly nothing I haven’t heard or read a thousand times before. Still, it made me reflect, not on the effects of a federal $15 minimum wage — we don’t have to speculate about that anymore, we’ve already seen how it destroys businesses in real life — but on the tragedy of so many millennials, millions in my generation, wasting their early life overcome with a fatal obsession over, and desire for, this elusive comfort.

“Everyone deserves a comfortable life”? Is that really going to be our generation’s rallying cry? Is this our revolution? “Give me comfort!” Our ancestors demanded liberty or death, but we’ve slightly modified the slogan, it seems.

A Pew survey found that half of minimum wage workers are between 16 and 24 years old, and another 22 percent are 25 to 34. Then there are the workers near minimum wage (which means they’d also see a massive bump in pay if the federal minimum were increased to $15), and half of them are under 30. This is why I weep over the “fight for 15″ movement. Most of these people are young — their whole lives in front of them, a billion potential paths they could walk, an infinite number of opportunities — yet this is their fight? Fifteen bucks an hour wrapping burritos at Chipotle? That’s all they’re after? Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying they want too much. I’m saying precisely that they don’t want enough.

Indeed, an increased minimum wage will certainly make many of them comfortable — especially in the parts of the country where 1$5 an hour really translates to $19 or $20 – and that’s exactly the problem. My great fear is not that an enormously inflated minimum wage will unravel the economy, although it surely will, but that it might actually succeed in its goal of making a bunch of 20-something fry cooks “comfortable” in their jobs. This would be a profound catastrophe because these jobs are not supposed to make people comfortable; nobody is supposed to do them for years and years on end. You’re supposed to get in and get out. Move in and move one. You’re meant to use it as a platform on your way to something better, but the platform is not meant to be a comfortable place to set up camp and hang out for a few decades.

Comfort: a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety.

As the young generation, we are simply not at the point in our lives where we should be striving for “ease and satisfaction.” Least of all should we be looking to derive ease and satisfaction from wearing name tags and microwaving Big Macs all day. These kinds of jobs are tiring and tedious and demeaning and they pay like crap, and that’s the point. They’re not comfortable, and they shouldn’t be.

Besides, a “comfortable life” is by no means a human right, nor is it a need. Comfort, for one thing, is subjective. I’m sure wide swaths of humanity would consider every American, even our poor ones, comfortable. A roof over their head and safe food to eat are comforts to billions. Add in air conditioning, Internet, cell phone, TV, car, and running water, and by their standards you’ve reached the pinnacle of human luxury.

When we say we have a right to a comfortable life, whose idea of comfort are we working with? The Ethiopian version or the lazy, pampered, materialistic American consumer version? And where is the comfort equilibrium? Once we all have apartments, cable, NetFlix, Wi-Fi, stocked refrigerators, and consoles with at least four video games? Is that when comfort will be achieved? But what happens when everyone realizes that standard of comfort? What if my greedy neighbor then goes out and gets another video game, and a faster Wi-Fi connection, and better food? Now, compared to him, I’m less comfortable. Should he be forced to give me some of his stuff to compensate? But what if that makes me more comfortable than him? Do I give it back? Do we just keep up this tug of war until we all fall dead in our comfortable houses and are buried in our comfortable coffins under six feet of comfortable dirt?

REDISTRIBUTION WEALTH IS AN IMPERATIVE! 🙂

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” goes the old Chinese proverb.

And for Liberals it feels good to give the poor a fish, or even better the “rich” person’s fish. Or a “free” or “cheaper” fish that looks like the “rich” person’s fish.

Problem is, then they don’t know how to fish. And if they never learned how to fish to begin with, then you have a person dependent on you for their fish.

Which, for Democrats, works for them. That’s what they like. They can control you, you are their slave if you can’t or won’t fish and they give it to you.

And you demand more! More Comfort! They are wealthy, they can afford it! 🙂

In this photo taken, Aug. 1, 2013, demonstrators protesting what they say are low wages and improper treatment for fast-food workers march in downtown Seattle.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Have we thought this through? Of course not, but you can’t totally blame us. We live, after all, in the era of birth control mandates, Obama phones, free-speech zones, trigger warnings, and anti-discrimination ordinances. We are told every day that we have the right to feel comfortable, or at least to not be exposed to any ideas or circumstances that would make us uncomfortable. We’re just following the cultural cues, and listening to the voices that tell us our aim in life should be the avoidance of physical and emotional discomfort, at whatever cost. But the voices are wrong, and they’re leading us far, far astray.

Comfort is not a right or a need or even an appropriate desire at this stage. Sure, we can think about comfort when we’re shopping for jeans or sweaters or beds, but comfort shouldn’t be our entire goal in life right now. A comfortable lifestyle is for the old and the retired, not the young and the hungry.

“Give me $15 an hour so I can be comfortable!” What a weak and timid and disappointing banner to march under. We’ve got a world to conquer, for God’s sake. We’re not patients in hospice care. Now is the time to be uncomfortable.

Let’s look again at Jon’s case, for example. He’s supporting himself, he says, which is great. But he used the word “job,” singular, which tells me he only has one. Why? Why not get a second or a third? Instead of waiting for the government to force his employer to pay him about double what he’s making, he could go out and do it himself. Two jobs equals double the income. I worked three at one point, just as many people have. I worked from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. some days; that’s 16 hours from afternoon to late morning. It was painful and uncomfortable and exhausting. It was awesome.

A while ago, the last time I wrote about the minimum wage, I heard from a guy who told me he’s 22, single, living alone, and he works four jobs. Two full time, one part time, and one that’s more of a freelance gig he does in his spare time (whenever that is). How is it that some people complain they can’t survive on minimum wage, they can’t find a better job, they can’t find a second job, meanwhile that dude is out there with four of them? And, no, I assume he doesn’t want to live like that forever, but he’s living like that now so he won’t have to do it forever. He’s not worried about being comfortable.

So, a minimum wage hike? You’re setting your sights too low, my friends. Here you are, complaining that the government won’t force your employer to give you $15  an hour, when you could be putting a plan in place to make 10 times that amount in the next five years. Better yet, you could be figuring out what your passions are and devising a way to make a career out of them, regardless of the money.

I think you should be chasing something bigger. We all should. Truth, beauty, fulfillment, love, success. Not comfort. And while you hunt for this larger game, what’s the worst that could happen? You eat one meal a day? You go to bed hungry sometimes? You have to cut off the AC to save money? You end up pawning half your possessions to pay the bills? I’ve been there. It’s not that bad. It’s good, actually. It motivates you. It drives you. It teaches you to scrap by and survive and do what it takes.

Why worry about getting a raise at your crappy minimum wage job? You aren’t planning on being there forever, are you? You don’t think of minimum wage employment as a 30-year career option, do you? Right, I hope not. Forget, then, about asking the government to tell your employer to make you comfortable. Comfort is just about the worst thing that could happen to you right now, or to any of us.

Here’s what I can assure you: Minimum wage won’t kill you. You’re not going to die. I mean, you will die eventually, maybe soon for all I know, maybe tomorrow or an hour from now, but it won’t be from lack of income. The coroner report isn’t going to list “minimum wage” as cause of death, I promise you.

So drop this “comfortable” thing, OK? Remove the word from your vocabulary completely. In fact, take out a paper bag, shout “I have the right to live a comfortable life!” into it, tie it shut so the words are trapped in there, then douse it in gasoline and throw it into a volcano. Murder that awful, hideous sentence with terrific violence. Ask for more out of life, and listen to the answer.

Life might not offer you comfort, especially while you’re still working the late shift at Taco Bell, but there’s the potential for something so much better, as long as you’re willing to go out and get it.

I wish I had been that smart in my early years.
But I have little sympathy for the “comfort police”.
I got into big debt because of my own issues and trusting other people.
I didn’t cry to the government or blame “privilege”.
I had 2 jobs. I got up at 4am. I had a nap in the afternoon for an hour. I went to bed at 1:30am! Monday-Friday for  28 months straight.
Now’s that’s not comfortable.
But it it had to be done. No whining. No no crying. Just do it.
Just hard work.
Now, 10 years later I had a house. A good paying job and I still work hard just not that hard.
So suck it up. Turn off your internet. Turn of the Cable with HBO Turn off your cell phone. How many 100’s of dollars is that a month?
Do what has to be done.
It won’t be easy.
But 10 years from now, you’ll thank us all.

That is, unless 10 years from now you’re still flipping burgers and complaining that $15/hr are “slave wages” and that no one can live “comfortably” on that!! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail
Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson
Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

McMinimum

Let’s get one thing straight. We live in America. A country built on free enterprise and capitalism. If you have a good idea and the the drive to see it through to completion.

Just because you make minimum wage doesn’t mean you HAVE to make minimum wage.

America wasn’t built on the backs of men and women who whined about not having enough until they got it.

It was built by men and women who demanded this life give them more than what it had originally allotted them, and they didn’t give up until they got it.

mcdonaldskiosk

What this mass protest does show is that if enough people get together and yell and complain, they probably will have their demands met by a country that continues to cater to those who complain when they don’t get their way instead of actually finding something better.

What ever happened to making the most of yourself and working hard for something more than a job flipping burgers? I personally thank McDonald’s for replacing these people. Maybe now they will strive to do more with their life.

I read an article on TheBlaze a few weeks ago with the title, “Fast Food Workers: You Don’t Deserve $15 an Hour to Flip Burgers, and That’s OK”. this writer is 100% right.

Here’s an important quote from the writer…

“You think the jobs I had when I was 16 should have provided me with the comfortable living I just established in my late 20s? Frankly, I think you’re delusional.

To understand how delusional, consider that a $15 an hour full-time salary would put you in the same ballpark as biologists, auto mechanics, biochemists, teachers, geologists, roofers and bank tellers.”

This kind of wage hike for an entry level food job just adds fuel to the entitlement mentality that is increasingly rising in our nation.

But all they wanted was $15 per hour?

Until 5-10 years from now when $15/hr will be “slave wages” that is…

Hillary Clinton Declines To Support A National $15 Minimum Wage

Clinton says she supports raising the national minimum wage, but adds that “what you can do in L.A. or in New York may not work in other places.”

How hilarious is that? Mrs. “One of you” Populist (who said basically the opposite once already).

If raising the minimum wage were cost-free, why stop at $10 or $15 an hour? Why not go straight to $25 an hour, the average hourly wage? That might be considered fair, because no one would have to earn less than today’s average.

The answer, of course, is because some people are displaced at any minimum wage. It is obvious to the general public that increasing the minimum wage to $25 an hour would displace workers. It is less obvious when amounts are smaller. But when the minimum wage is raised, employers hire higher-skilled people, or switch to different forms of technology such as placing orders through touch screens.

Forbes:

As we keep trying to point out to people there really isn’t anything even remotely resembling a free lunch when it comes to the discussion of wages and labor. Meaning that just because well meaning liberals wave their magic wand and decree that wages will rise there will indeed be countervailing effects. And in San Francisco, where the minimum wage was recently raised we did indeed see that comic book shop insisting that it just couldn’t survive. And now we’ve another tale, this time from Chipotle. Beef prices have been rising around the country so they’ve raised the prices, around the country, of their beef products. Wages in San Francisco have been rising strongly so they’ve raised the prices of all their products in San Francisco strongly. There really is no free lunch. A rise in wages will come out of either less labor being employed, lower profit margins (and fast food doesn’t have those wide enough to take the strain) or price increases to consumers.

And it’s that last which is happening as Mark Perry points out:

• In our weekly survey of ten of Chipotle’s markets, we found the company implemented price increases in half of the surveyed markets this week—San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Orlando. In most markets, the price increases have been limited to beef and average about 4% on barbacoa and steak, toward the lower end of management’s expectation for a 4% to 6% price increase on beef.

• San Francisco, however, saw across-the-board price increases averaging over 10%, including 10% increases on chicken, carnitas (pork), sofritas (tofu), and vegetarian entrees along with a 14% increase on steak and barbacoa. We believe the outsized San Francisco price hike was likely because of increased minimum wages (which rose by 14% from $10.74 per hour to $12.25 on May 1) as well as scheduled minimum wage increases in future years (to $13 next year, $14 in 2017, and $15 in 2018).

A rough guide to the finances of the fast food industry is as follows. 30% goes on wages, 30% of revenues goes on ingredients and the other 40% is everything else. Rents, advertising, capital costs and, of course, profits. Those profits are pretty low. 5% of revenues isn’t an out of order estimation of the net profit margins in the business (and, of course, that’s an average, as some locations and some whole chains lose money).

So, if we by legislative fiat raise the price of one of those inputs then something, somewhere, has to give. Those profit margins are already pretty thin and so they’re not going to be where that extra cost comes from. More than that if we reduce the returns to capital in a particular line of business then less capital will be invested in that line of business in the future. This means fewer jobs in that line of business: This is one of the ways that a rise in the minimum wage destroys jobs. Fewer will be created in the future than would have been in the absence of the rise in the minimum wage.

It’s possible that employers will be encouraged to deploy their labor in a more productive manner as a result of the price increase. This is the same statement as fewer jobs will be created. For if I go and raise labor productivity then by definition I need less labor for any given level of output. Or of course employers could just automate the process a little more and that also means fewer jobs.

So, if employers either economize on labor or profits, there will be job losses: the minimum wage rise does reduce employment.

Or there is this final method: raise prices. Which also causes job losses: for the more money that consumers are spending on reasonably priced Mexican food (although now less reasonably priced Mexican food than it used to be) the less they have available to spend on other things. We might think that there could be an interesting overlap between those who consume reasonably priced Mexican food and those who frequent comic book shops for example. If the food now costs more then there might well be less being spent in the comic book shop: again, we see reductions in the number of jobs.

And just to head off at the pass one of the more insane points that people try to make. That if the workers at Chipotle are now making more money then they’ll spend more at Chipotle, and the company’s profits will rise! This doesn’t even pass the basic math test, let alone any economic one. For note above the split in revenues. About 30% of revenue is spent upon labor. The other 70% is spent upon other things, including that 30% or so on food ingredients. So, if Chipotle raises wages by $100 (just as an example) and all of those wages are then spent in the same store, it is impossible for profits to rise. Think about it for a moment: the wage bill has just gone up by $100. Revenues have just gone up by $100. But the food bill has also gone up by $30. So, the increase in costs is $130 (even in the very best, best, case) while revenues have gone up by $100. This is known to the cognoscenti as a loss, not an increase in profit.

There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Only lunches of variable cost. And if we increase the cost of one of the major inputs into such lunches then something else will give. Here, as a result of the rise in the minimum wage Chipotle has raised prices in that specific location where the minimum wage rise occurred.

This doesn’t help minimum wage earners: some unknown but knowable reduction in sales of reasonably priced Mexican food will take place as a result of this price rise. Demand curves really do slope downwards. Thus some unknown but knowable number of people will not be employed to produce said food.

As we’ve been saying all along: a rise in the minimum wage really does destroy jobs.

Finding the effects of raising the minimum wage is challenging, because 97 percent of American workers now make above the minimum wage—not because it is the law, but because employers have to pay higher compensation packages to retain workers. That is one reason that some academic studies do not find major negative effects of minimum-wage increases.

Those who would be harmed by increasing the minimum wage are young people. Half of minimum-wage workers are under 25, and 24 percent are teens. This group’s unemployment rate is already higher than the 5.3 percent overall rate. The teen unemployment rate is 18 percent, and the African-American teen unemployment rate is 32 percent. The youth unemployment rate is 10 percent. (Federalist)

But the Left will continue with their class warfare because that suits THEIR Agenda, so what if you get hurt in the process, like that matters. The end justifies the means, remember. 🙂

I’ll give you $15/hr

For all those narcissistic fast food workers who think emotionally and not logically and have bought the class warfare BS hook, line, and SUCKER…I present YOUR FUTURE…

A company called Momentum Machines has built a robot that could radically change the fast-food industry and have some line cooks looking for new jobs.

The company’s robot can “slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.” The robot is “more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.” That’s one burger every 10 seconds.

The next generation of the device will offer “custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.” 

Momentum Machines cofounder Alexandros Vardakostas told Xconomy his “device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.” Indeed, marketing copy on the company’s site reads that their automaton “does everything employees can do, except better.”

This directly raises a question that a lot of smart people have contemplated: Will robots steal our jobs? Opinion is divided of course. Here’s what Momentum Machines has to say on the topic:

The issue of machines and job displacement has been around for centuries and economists generally accept that technology like ours actually causes an increase in employment. The three factors that contribute to this are 1. the company that makes the robots must hire new employees, 2. the restaurant that uses our robots can expand their frontiers of production which requires hiring more people, and 3. the general public saves money on the reduced cost of our burgers. This saved money can then be spent on the rest of the economy.

If we are to undertake the lofty ambition of changing the nature of work by way of robots, the fast-food industry seems like a good place to start, considering its inherently repetitive tasks and minimal skill requirements. Any roboticist worth his or her salt jumps at tasks described as repetitive and easy — perfect undertakings for a robot.

Here’s a schematic of what the burger-bot looks like and how it works. It occupies 24 square feet, so it’s much smaller than most assembly-line fast-food operations. It boasts “gourmet cooking methods never before used in a fast food restaurant” and will even deposit your completed burger into a bag. It’s a veritable Gutenberg printing press for hamburgers.

burger robot diagram

If you think your Liberal “mad” cry baby skills are up to it that is…. 🙂

 

McJob

McDonald’s Replacing Cashiers With Machines?

“Would you like fries with that?” may soon be a long forgotten relic of American pop culture.

mcdonalds

McDonald’s employees who picketed for a better living wage (whatever that means) may come to regret that decision. According to a Redditor, a McDonald’s in Illinois replaced their cashiers with machines.  The machines appear to be the cousins of the ones found in grocery stores, big box stores, and CVS that allow customers to complete transactions.

How cost effective is replacing an organic employee with a mechanized one? According to an economic blog, and unsurprisingly, the machines likely come out on top in terms of pricing:

  • For a location open 24 hours: The cost of human cashiers, not counting benefits, $15/hour * 24 hours * 365 days/year = $131,400

  • For a location open 6AM to Midnight:  $15/hour * 18 hours * 365 = $98,550.

  • For the machine to be cost effective, all it needs to do is cost less than $100,000 a year to buy and maintain.

Who could’ve possibly seen this coming? Forbes. They predicted this exact scenario last July.

A recent article at the Huffington Post makes the claim that if McDonald’s MCD +0.26% doubled its employees salaries it would only cause the price of a Big Mac to go up by 68 cents. The implication here is that 68 cents isn’t much money, so they should do it. There’s a few things missing from this.

One is that the article itself alleges that doubling wages would lead to a 17% increase in costs. And I guess this is obviously supposed to seem like a small amount? It doesn’t look that way to me. What do people expect will happen when prices go up 17%? If McDonald’s could raise its prices by that much without lowering demand they would. No, what would happen is people would shop at those stores less, there would be less profit and less McDonald’s stores to hire workers.

Doubling of labor costs will simply increase a fast food restaurant’s incentives to adopt technology like this. And if fast food wages doubled everywhere it would spur the development of these technologies even faster.

This is all basic economics, really. As costs of labor increase the added cost must be offset. In order to satisfy operating costs, produce a product consumers want to purchase, and still turn a profit, it’s perfectly reasonable for a company like McDonald’s to look for cost-cutting alternatives. As Forbes pointed out, the added pressure to increase wages only serves to expedite technological solutions.

McDonald’s has already installed kiosks to replace human cashiers in about 7,000 of its stores in higher-minimum-wage Europe. So it seems inevitable that technology will make its way into the kitchen as well.

But cooks are safe from the machination of American fast food, right?

Not if companies like Momentum Machines has anything to do with it. “Our technology will democratize access to high quality food making it available to the masses,” their site claims. They also claim their burger making machines can, “do everything employees do except better” and that the machines reap such large labor savings, restaurants will be able to afford twice as fancy ingredients. Tempting little proposition they have there.

“Would you like fries with that?” may soon be a long forgotten relic of American pop culture. And all because it makes good economic sense.

Naturally, the Left will interpret this as “class warfare” and a “war on the poor” rather than see the obvious.

Update (WAJ): Prof. Reynolds notes that Robot makers must be loving the recent NLRB ruling, as well, which held McDonald’s parent corporation liable for franchisee employment practices. Can a kiosk file an employment grievance? (LI)

ATLANTA – Outrage is growing against federal restrictions on school bake sales and fundraisers.

“We don’t have enough teachers in our classrooms and now we are expected to hire some type of food police to monitor whether we are having bake sales or not. That is just asinine,” John Barge, Georgia state school superintendent tells WSB-TV.

We are from the Government and we are hear to help you. We are from a Union, we are here to Help you… 🙂

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-12/meet-smart-restaurant-minimum-wage-crushing-burger-flipping-robot

The Madness

Minimum wage madness

Political crusades for raising the minimum wage are back again. Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more “compassionate” towards “the poor.” But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws.

Because they don’t care. They are self-righteous, ego maniacal and have enough narcissism to rival the Gods themselves and anyone who would dare to challenge them must be a very evil Devil.

And since they have the all the “compassion” and it “feels so good” that anything else must be bad.

Like the Truth.

One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired.

Or race the price of labor and not expect the price of the goods to go up because after all that just “Corporate Greed” and “profiteering”. 🙂

When you turn from economic principles to hard facts, the case against minimum wage laws is even stronger. Countries with minimum wage laws almost invariably have higher rates of unemployment than countries without minimum wage laws.

Norway has a 3% unemployment and no minimum wage, by the way.

Most nations today have minimum wage laws, but they have not always had them. Unemployment rates have been very much lower in places and times when there were no minimum wage laws.

Switzerland is one of the few modern nations without a minimum wage law. In 2003, “The Economist” magazine reported: “Switzerland’s unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9 percent in February.” In February of this year, Switzerland’s unemployment rate was 3.1 percent. A recent issue of “The Economist” showed Switzerland’s unemployment rate as 2.1 percent.

Most Americans today have never seen unemployment rates that low. However, there was a time when there was no federal minimum wage law in the United States.

For a good portion of it there was no welfare either.

The last time was during the Coolidge administration, when the annual unemployment rate got as low as 1.8 percent. When Hong Kong was a British colony, it had no minimum wage law. In 1991 its unemployment rate was under 2 percent.

As for being “compassionate” toward “the poor,” this assumes that there is some enduring class of Americans who are poor in some meaningful sense, and that there is something compassionate about reducing their chances of getting a job.

Well, Liberal doe need dependents and the fearfully ignorant to vote for them. “Vote for Me, the other guys Rich” doesn’t quite work otherwise.

Most Americans living below the government-set poverty line have a washer and/or a dryer, as well as a computer. More than 80 percent have air conditioning. More than 80 percent also have both a landline and a cell phone. Nearly all have television and a refrigerator. Most Americans living below the official poverty line also own a motor vehicle and have more living space than the average European — not Europeans in poverty, the average European.

In a worldwide sense Americans are 1%ers. How evil are we. 🙂

Why then are they called “poor”? Because government bureaucrats create the official definition of poverty, and they do so in ways that provide a political rationale for the welfare state — and, not incidentally, for the bureaucrats’ own jobs.

Most people in the lower income brackets are not an enduring class. Most working people in the bottom 20 percent in income at a given time do not stay there over time. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain behind in the bottom 20 percent.

There is nothing mysterious about the fact that most people start off in entry level jobs that pay much less than they will earn after they get some work experience. But, when minimum wage levels are set without regard to their initial productivity, young people are disproportionately unemployed — priced out of jobs.

$15/hr flipping burgers at McDonalds will only make less jobs. And would make that “Value Meal” $5 instead of 1 or 2. 🙂

In European welfare states where minimum wages, and mandated job benefits to be paid for by employers, are more generous than in the United States, unemployment rates for younger workers are often 20 percent or higher, even when there is no recession.

Unemployed young people lose not only the pay they could have earned but, at least equally important, the work experience that would enable them to earn higher rates of pay later on.

Minorities, like young people, can also be priced out of jobs. In the United States, the last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate — 1930 — was also the last year when there was no federal minimum wage law. Inflation in the 1940s raised the pay of even unskilled workers above the minimum wage set in 1938. Economically, it was the same as if there were no minimum wage law by the late 1940s.

Relative to inflation the minimum wage in 1963 is the same as it is now.

In 1948 the unemployment rate of black 16-year-old and 17-year-old males was 9.4 percent. This was a fraction of what it would become in even the most prosperous years from 1958 on, as the minimum wage was raised repeatedly to keep up with inflation.

Some “compassion” for “the poor”!

A survey of American economists found that 90 percent of them regarded minimum wage laws as increasing the rate of unemployment among low-skilled workers. Inexperience is often the problem. Only about 2 percent of Americans over the age of 24 earned the minimum wage.

Advocates of minimum wage laws usually base their support of such laws on their estimate of how much a worker “needs” in order to have “a living wage” — or on some other criterion that pays little or no attention to the worker’s skill level, experience or general productivity. So it is hardly surprising that minimum wage laws set wages that price many a young worker out of a job.

Because it’s all about “feelings” and not reality. Emotion, not logic. And a base of sticking it to “corporate greed” and the liberal genetic necessity, Class Warfare.

What is surprising is that, despite an accumulation of evidence over the years of the devastating effects of minimum wage laws on black teenage unemployment rates, members of the Congressional Black Caucus continue to vote for such laws.

Because it’s about THEM, not the people they are “advocating for” and they stay where they are by “advocating”.

Once, years ago, during a confidential discussion with a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, I asked how they could possibly vote for minimum wage laws.

The answer I got was that members of the Black Caucus were part of a political coalition and, as such, they were expected to vote for things that other members of that coalition wanted, such as minimum wage laws, in order that other members of the coalition would vote for things that the Black Caucus wanted.

Quid Pro Quo! 🙂

You grease my skids I’ll grease yours!

When I asked what could the black members of Congress possibly get in return for supporting minimum wage laws that would be worth sacrificing whole generations of young blacks to huge rates of unemployment, the discussion quickly ended. I may have been vehement when I asked that question.

They got POWER.

The same question could be asked of black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, who have taken the side of the teachers’ unions, who oppose vouchers or charter schools that allow black parents (among others) to take their children out of failing public schools.

Minimum wage laws can even affect the level of racial discrimination. In an earlier era, when racial discrimination was both legally and socially accepted, minimum wage laws were often used openly to price minorities out of the job market.

In 1925, a minimum wage law was passed in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with the intent and effect of pricing Japanese immigrants out of jobs in the lumbering industry.

A well regarded Harvard professor of that era referred approvingly to Australia’s minimum wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese” who were willing to work for less.

In South Africa during the era of apartheid, white labor unions urged that a minimum wage law be applied to all races, to keep black workers from taking jobs away from white unionized workers by working for less than the union pay scale.

Some supporters of the first federal minimum wage law in the United States — the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — used exactly the same rationale, citing the fact that Southern construction companies, using non-union black workers, were able to come north and under-bid construction companies using unionized white labor.

These supporters of minimum wage laws understood long ago something that today’s supporters of such laws seem not to have bothered to think through. People whose wages are raised by law do not necessarily benefit, because they are often less likely to be hired at the imposed minimum wage rate.

Labor unions have been supporters of minimum wage laws in countries around the world, since these laws price non-union workers out of jobs, leaving more jobs for union members.

People who are content to advocate policies that sound good, whether for political reasons or just to feel good about themselves, often do not bother to think through the consequences beforehand or to check the results afterwards.

Why would they, it either feels good and gives them a sense of moral superiority or it gives them power. Why bother with worrying about consequences. That’s someone’s fault.

If they thought things through, how could they have imagined that having large numbers of idle teenage boys hanging out on the streets together would be good for any community — especially in places where most of these youngsters were raised by single mothers, another unintended consequence, in this case, of well-meaning welfare policies?

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Because of Narcissism.

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne
Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Minimum Reality

“You can’t have the same number of job opportunities in the restaurant industry and have a $15 minimum wage. These things can’t co-exist,” said Employment Policies Institute worforce scholar Michael Saltsman, whose think tank ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal depicting a robot making pancakes with the title, “Why Robots Could Soon Replace Fast Food Workers Demanding a Higher Minimum Wage.” (DC)

Neil Boortz: Mr. Activist guy had the idea that if McDonalds would just pay these workers $15.00 an hour plus health insurance and all of the other benefits then the world would be a better place and the workers would not have to rely on the government for all of these welfare services and everyone would be better off. Nobody asked him how much a Big Meal would cost if the people preparing that culinary delight were paid $15.00 an hour plus benefits. Right now you can get a Big Meal for about $7.25 The person preparing that meal is probably making minimum wage. Boost the wage by about $6.00 per hour and what is the new cost for a Big Meal? $8.50? $10.00? More? Can all of the McDonald’s customers afford this price increase? Or do they go to other, cheaper fast food restaurants? Can McDonalds maintain their profit margin and employment level with lost sales? If not, how many $15 an hour workers do they lay off? Perhaps they would just close some stores in low-income areas altogether.

How about this question for the organizer: “Hey, sport. Tell me something. What obligation does McDonalds have to pay a worker more than that worker is worth? Are you telling me that an employer should hire someone just to pay them more than the wealth they can produce for the company out of some sense of social obligation? How long do you stay in business doing that?” Organizer dude probably would have come across with some statement about “social responsibility.” Well, guess what? If employers start to determine wages on what the employee wants instead of what that employee produces we will see a lot of boarded businesses and many more unemployed government-educated functionally illiterate Democrat voters. Wait! …… What?

Where DO mindless people like this come from? Oh yeah. Government schools. Almost forgot.

And SEIU, Obama Union thugs, masquerading as “employees” picketing McDonalds and the like in New York. Buig surprise there.

You made a point of saying that McDonalds should pay you enough to support your family. Fine. Then answer MY question. What about YOUR responsibilities? Did you not understand that you lacked the skills, job history and education necessary to make more than a minimum wage and that; therefore, you might not be in a position to shoulder the cost of an additional member of your household? Or is it your belief that all you have to do is download a child and it automatically becomes someone else’s responsibility to cover the costs? I think a valid case can be made for the proposition that one of the greatest social wrongs a person can commit is to have a baby they simply cannot afford to raise.

Personal accountability and responsibility is dying. Long live the Democrat welfare state.

NY Times: A half-century ago, the marchers called on Congress to increase the minimum wage from $1.15 an hour to $2 “so that men may live in dignity,” in the words of Bayard Rustin, one of the chief organizers of the march. Today, the fast-food workers also seek a raise, from the $9 an hour that most of them make to $15.00 an hour. That’s not much different from what the marchers wanted in 1963; adjusted for inflation, $2 then is $13.39 an hour today.

But what they aren’t saying is, that the minimum wage in 1963 was almost exactly what it is today, based on inflation because in 1963 it was $1.25, and now at $7-$8 with inflation is about the same amount and level. No real change. It’s still MINIMUM for a reason. So by using $2 they are being dishonest. Gee, what a shocker that is!

The skill set hasn’t improved, so the job’s wages haven’t either.

Forbes:

The strikers are targeting their employers — profitable companies like McDonald’s, Yum Brands (which includes Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC) and Wendy’s.

Almost none of the fast food workers are employees of those companies. For the way the industry works is that the main company contracts with franchisees who run the actual stores. The employees are then the employees of those franchises.  THE SMALL BUSINESS MAN! There is no employment contract at all between the worker and those large companies: and those companies cannot determine the wages the workers get either. To get that sort of thing wrong in an editorial in the NYT is near unforgiveable. What’s worse though is that they’ve entirely failed to understand the economic points being made in this debate.

Media Matters can help us out here though through their own refusal to understand what is actually being said:

Contrary to industry officials’ claims, economic studies have concluded that raising the minimum wage has no effect on employment.

No, that’s not what economic studies have concluded. Rather, they have concluded this:

In a Center for Economy and Policy Research report titled “Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?” senior economist John Schmitt determined that there is “little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.”

“Minimum wages have no effect on employment” and “modest increases have little effect” are just not the same statement. And do note that the current demand is for a more than doubling of the minimum wage: something that we cannot describe as modest.

Syracuse.com commentor: Here is the point of view of any successful businessman. If you artificially force me to pay more for a worker than his job is worth, I will either shut down the business, figure out how to do the job with fewer workers, outsource it to lower my costs (for benefits, like health care), or figure out how to automate it. Fast food work is vulnerable to any or all of these solutions. What good is a mandatory higher wage for a job if the job no longer exists?

But reality doesn’t play into the Class warfare rhetoric and hype of the Left.

One liberal even called the Minimum Wage, “slave labor” so rational thought is not present on the Left.

We witnessed it between 2007 and 2009, when the federal minimum wage rose 41 percent and had a disastrous effect on youth employment. The joblessness rate for 16-19 year olds increased by 10 percentage points from 16 percent in 2007, to more than 26 percent in 2009. While some politicians claim that workers benefitted from the minimum wage hike, if you were to ask the 8.8 million workers who lost their jobs during the economic recession, I bet you’d get a different answer. It’s no secret that when you raise the cost of doing business, or in this case hiring workers, business owners have to find a way to trim their expenses and meet their bottom line. (Steve Cruz)

But the Let’s Agenda is deaf to reality. After all, if at first you fail, fail, fail again, because it  is obviously someone else’s fault for your failure! 🙂

Government Help

Labor Day

Economic Illiteracy: With last week’s one-day strike, fast-food workers sent a clear message: They want the minimum wage raised from $7.25 an hour to $15. But they should be careful what they wish for; they just might get it.

It isn’t hard to see what a doubling of the minimum wage would do in an industry that pays out an estimated 70% of revenue to workers: Hundreds of thousands would lose their jobs overnight.

They don’t see that. They are blind to it. All they see are people, specifically CEOs who make “millions” and bosses who get “rich” so they want their “fair” share of it. They have no understanding of economics. They understand things on child’s level- They want that toy and they want it now! And if they don’t get it they will cry and bawl until someone gives in.

And when the McDonald hamburger now cost $10.00 because of the labor cost increases and the restaurant they are working at goes down in flames, they will still blame “the CEOs” for being too greedy.

It’s what I have called “Unenlightened Narcissism” and the real problem is that THEY DON’T WANT TO BE ENLIGHTENED!

They will resist any attempt to enlighten them as trying to corrupt or trick them.

So I say just fire their asses and move on. You can’t save everyone from themselves.

The average fast-food employee makes $8.94 an hour, according to the National Employment Law Project. Unions and workers want to boost that to $15 an hour. Fine, except most who now earn $9 an hour are young with little education and few skills. To be blunt, they’re not worth the extra money. They’ll be fired.

So who will do their jobs, you ask. A more apt question is what will do their jobs. Because they may go to robots. Or computers. Don’t laugh. When labor costs rise, technological substitutions suddenly make economic sense.

It’s already happening in Europe, where it costs a lot to hire a worker, McDonald’s has installed 7,000 new ATM-style machines that take orders and payments. No muss, no fuss, no arguments, no misunderstandings — and no minimum wage at all. Just a one-time cost for the machine, plus maintenance.

To the point:

With a beep, a buzz and a whir — and maybe even a little sizzle — the world’s first fully-automatic hamburger machine can prepare, cook and serve a perfect custom-made burger without a single human hand being involved.

A San Francisco startup is taking the Silicon Valley attitude into the fast food market and hoping to revolutionize what they call “the most labour intensive industry in the country.”

Featuring glass tubes filled with lettuce and tomatoes, a meat-grinder, bun slicer, oven and bagger, the alpha machine is part Rube Goldberg, part Jetsons and promises to be the first step in burger evolution since McDonald’s proliferated around the world.

It can produce a custom-made, freshly ground burger, baked to order at a rate of 400 per hour. The machine will add the requested toppings, slicing tomatoes directly onto the burger, and pop out a neatly-wrapped sandwich ready for human consumption.

The makers, Momentum Machines, claim that their invention “does everything employees can do except better.”

The oven employs “gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast-food restaurant, giving the patty the perfect char but keeping in all the juices,” according their website.

“It’s more consistent, more sanitary,” and the company claims, “the labour savings allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients.”

Momentum is planning on demonstrating their invention in a soon to be opened restaurant in San Francisco before franchising it out to any restaurant, convenience store, food truck — or potentially even vending machine — that wants it.

As for all those grill tenders and line cooks made obsolete by the contraption, Momentum offers discounted technical training and says that the money saved on labour will be recycled into restaurant expansion and new job creation.

Plus, according to the website, “the general public saves money on the reduced cost of our burgers. This saved money can then be spent on the rest of the economy.”

It’s a delicious win-win. (The Star)

As ObamaCare raises the cost of labor for fast-food chains, and with talk of a doubling of wages, look for the same equipment to be used here too. And it won’t just be ATMs.

Momentum Machines, a San Francisco-based high-tech company, has created the Alpha, a robot that can make up to 360 hamburgers in an hour — and pays for itself in a year.

(see above) 🙂

Left-wing talking heads in the media counter that McDonald’s or Burger King or Taco Bell or whoever could simply take money “out of profits.” But this defies all understanding of economics.

But it fits with the narcissism of the Left and it also is perfect bait for the unenlightened.

First, 80% of McDonald’s outlets are franchises, owned by a person who pays royalties for the right to run a burger restaurant. These people do not have massive profit margins. If costs rise, they’ll fire people.

But the Left doesn’t care about that. It’s relevant to the Agenda.

Besides, they’ll view mass layoffs as a a sign of “corporate greed”. At least that’s what they will tell the unenlightened en masse.

Even if you did shrink profits, who would that hurt? The middle class, that’s who. Their 401(k)s and IRAs are loaded to the gunwales with fast-food shares. And when they go out to eat, they’ll pay higher prices.

But that will be corporations fault, according to the Left. 🙂

Workers need to get real: If you’re not worth $15 an hour, a robot may take your place. And it won’t strike. (IBD)

But reality is the last thing the Left can contemplate. Fear, Hatred, anxiety, stress, these are the things that make most Liberal “leaders” happy.

A stressed out, economically tapped out, hate-filled constituency will Vote for them and demand more control, time and again,  and they will fill their kids with the same hatred and fear!

What could be better! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 

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