As the argument goes, they deserve a better wage than all of those rich, corporate, fat-cat CEOs of the nation’s fast food and restaurant industries are willing to pay. They should share their profits with those who have to slave away making those profits possible, no?
“Profit sharing” is one, very important matter that merits discussion. But, increasing the minimum wage is an entirely different, much more complex matter that, for one reason or another, liberals don’t seem “to get.”
The former reflects a decision—perhaps a decision of conscience—to distribute freely to others out of one’s largess. As St. Pope John Paul II described this moral imperative, profits don’t come from nowhere. Except in a world of robots, there would be no profits without those laborers. Those who contribute their labor that makes those profits possible deserve what he called “a living wage.” That said, St. Pope John Paul II also noted that without the capital provided by venture capitalists, business owners, and entrepreneurs, there would be no businesses to provide much-needed jobs. They risked their $$$s and are entitled to a “just profit.” But, even more substantively, all of this comes from God. It is this moral perspective that should frame and inform decision making.
The latter is a political ploy—an income distribution scheme through an “indirect consumption tax”—that compels consumers to pay higher prices for the products of the hands of minimum wage laborers. As this increased cost is passed along to consumers, one outcome can be fewer jobs, meaning no income at all for minimum wage earners. Another outcome can be little or no business expansion, thereby not increasing the number of jobs that would otherwise be available to minimum wage workers.
According to an article from The Street:
- In February 2015, New York approved an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers in the hospitality industry to $7.50 from $5 beginning on January 1, 2016.
- In May 2015, San Francisco joined Oakland in having the nation’s highest minimum wage @ $12.25/hour. In 2018, San Francisco’s minimum wage will be $15/hour.
- In July 2015, New York State's wage board recommended incrementally raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15/hour, setting the stage for a pay hike for workers in the restaurant industry.
One impact of these hikes is increased prices of 10% at Chipotle in San Francisco and 7% at Chipotle in Oakland. Nationally, Chipotle is expected to raise prices later this year in the range of 4% to 6%, as is Applebee’s. McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts are poised to raise their prices substantially and possibly scale back expansion plans.
Then, too, all of this is compounded by inflation which squeezes profits, that is, if prices aren’t raised. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price/pound of ground beef in June 2015 was $4.22. That’s a 76% increase from June 2010 (or 6.6%/year), some of which is due to droughts in Texas, California and other cattle-producing areas have hindered the development of livestock.
Given all of those pressures upon the fast food and restaurant industries, should anyone be surprised to see tablet technology now replacing human workers? The Motley Monk experienced this himself at a local restaurant last spring. One waitress and one bus boy worked about 25 tables as customers reviewed the menu and placed orders via tablets. It was all very interesting to experience. But, there normally would be two waitresses and two bus boys. That’s a lot of labor cost savings...meaning lost jobs!
That’s the lesson liberals just don’t get due to their lust to socialize the marketplace. In the end, the economic realities associated with increases to the minimum wage will trump compassion. Moreover, all of those rich, corporate, fat-cat CEOs will continue to be rich, corporate, fat-cat CEOs. Given these economic facts, perhaps all liberals really care about is their ideology not its outcomes that negatively impact the lives of those about whom they are so “concerned.”
The place to begin is with St. Pope John Paul II’s teaching about work which introduces fundamental Judaeo-Christian morality into the decision-making process.
Let the discussion begin...
To read The Street article, click on the following link: