Minimum Wage Protest Illustrates Economic Ignorance

It isn't surprising to anyone with a modicum of economic sense that the nationwide 'protest' about fast-food wages is both misguided and 'much ado about nothing.

The level of economic ignorance about what jobs are worth is appalling. Do these 'protesters', mainly members of the SEIU who don't even work in the fast food industry, really think that by raising the minimum wage will somehow lift people out of poverty? Do they really fail to understand that if they got their wishes and minimum wage was raised to $15/hour for what is in reality unskilled labor will result in a lot of those fast-food workers ending up on the unemployment line when they are replaced by computers and industrial robots. Think it won't happen? Ask some of the folks in counties like France what happened to them when minimum wage was raised to artificially high levels along with draconian labor laws: they were replaced by ordering kiosks and automated kitchens. Fast-food restaurants that had employed full crews of 10 to 30 people were able to reduce the number of workers to just a few to oversee the restaurant, deliver the food to the customer, and keep the place clean. All the rest ended up without jobs.

With the increasingly sophisticated levels of automation becoming available at lower costs, why wouldn't franchise owners replace human employees with machines that won't demand raises, won't call in sick, and won't goldbrick?

On one of the TV news reports I heard one union leader state that the increased wages were needed in order for the workers to support their families and that the traditional fast-food workers, meaning teens, were a minority when it came to employment by fast-food joints. But that statement showed this union goon's lack of understanding about economics. The reason the number of teens employed in fast-food has been dropping is that they've been priced out of the market. No one will hire an in experienced teen with little or no work history for the wages they now have to pay. And the older workers they do hire are a better bet. But, and this is a big but, the work they're doing is still unskilled and isn't worth the kind of wages many are demanding.

One of the other side effects if either Congress or President Obama raises the minimum wage while we're still in the depths of the recession? Prices will rise which in turn means that even less people will patronize fast food joints. How many such places will end up becoming unprofitable and will close their doors? How many people will end up on the unemployment line because of that little unintended consequence?

Too many.