On Thursday, December 5, there will be protests in more than a hundred cities across the nation directed at fast food chains, demanding an increase of the minimum wage to $15.00. Those who may be interviewed for radio and television will talk of receiving “a living wage.”
In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Obama called for an increase in the $7.25 minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. It should come as no surprise that one of the President’s most active supports has been the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It was identified on the liberal website, Salon.com, as “a key player” behind the strikes.
Don’t expect the mainstream media to ask who’s behind the strikes or, if informed, ask what their agenda is. The reporting will be mostly people with sad stories. You are not likely to hear about the National Employment Law Project, a liberal activist group that, since 2000, has received more than $1 million from George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.
When the government cracked down on ACORN, community organizers with whom Obama was associated, one of its reorganized groups became the New York Communities for Change (NYCC). The director of NYCC is also the director of Fast Food Forward, a group that advocates for raising the minimum wage. What emerges is a network of Leftist organizations and unions who have their own agenda, the fundamental transformation of America.
Being poor is hell, but being unemployed is even worse…unless you are receiving government benefits from free cell phones to food stamps, disability insurance, et cetera. Across the nation, fast food chains provide employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands, but most especially as an entry-level job for the young.
The concept of minimum wage laws began back in 1938 when the Great Depression was raging (not unlike today). The Fair Labor Standards Act set the minimum wage at $.25 cents per hour. After a succession of increases, it reached $5.15 in 1997 and is currently $7.25 an hour.
Being conservative, I have some real problems with the government setting such requirements because there are often unintended consequences. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics has a section devoted to the minimum wage, noting that, while it can and does set wages, it cannot guarantee a job. Indeed, “several decades of studies using aggregate time-series data from a variety of countries have found that minimum wage laws reduce employment.”
The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, notes that “The problem with minimum-wage increases is that they reduce access to these entry-level jobs. It is a basic tenet of economics that when the price of something rises, people buy less of it.” Liberals seem incapable of understanding this. They are all about “fairness” in a world that was never fair. Equality before the law is not the same as equality of who your parents are, where you live, the education you received, or whether you possess the skills to secure a higher wage than others.
So, while you watch the TV coverage of the protesters, keep in mind that they are demanding a wage increase that will actually reduce the number of jobs available as businesses, mostly small to medium in size, decide to lay off workers or just not hire more through automation.