Tuesday, June 7, 2016
The Inexorable Push to Increase the Min-Wage...
So lemme' see here. Obama is seven and one-half years into "fundamentally transforming America;" good, middle-class jobs have disappeared; 93+ million out of the work force, a forty-plus year high; min-wage jobs which used to be a training ground for pimply-faced teenagers who needed a few extra bucks to buy video games or put gas in the family truckster are occupied by ex-middle-class, middle-aged workers who have been displaced by creeping socialism; and now the unions are picketing MickeyD's in an effort to browbeat this fast-food giant into getting behind the bump to $15 an hour. *
And the unions, most particularly the Service Employees international Union (SEIU), which represents mostly the maids who make up your bed at the Holiday Inn and janitors at the local high school, really need them to get that raise so they sign them up as members, collect their monthly dues and continue taking their first-class vacations to Bermuda.
The unions, you see, are at an all-time low in terms of membership. From a high of nearly 50% of the American workforce at the end of World War Part Deux, they are now at around 6% of all private-sector jobs. And falling. They are looking for a new source of dues-paying members like a Timber Wolf looks for a baby goat. Over the past few years they have invested...are you ready for it?...more than fifty million of their members' dues dollars in trying to influence min-wage payers to adopt a more than doubling of the pay rate. From an average of about $7.65/hour nationwide right now, they want it to jump, over night, to $15.00! Whaaaaaat?
They are lobbying Congress. One has to ask why, given that what a private-sector business pays its at-will private-sector employees should be their bizz and their bizz alone. It shouldn't be the Federal Gummint's! Or even a state Gummint's! Hey, you bozos, let the free market work its magic!
Yet, there they are, banging their drums, waving their signs and demanding, demanding that min-wages be doubled. Is this going to happen? Only in commie pinko dumbass liberal weenie states like Taxifornia, where I happen to still reside, although I wish I could convince Mrs. Chuckmeister to leave it behind (notagonnahappen with the kids and the grandkids still here!). And in New York, and likely New Jersey, and probably Connecctticuttt, or however that weenie state is spelled. Red-blooded "red" states, like Texas, which has produced almost 90% of all private-sector jobs in the past 10 years, is having none of it. And neither is Utah, or Arizona, or Kansas, or Montana, or the Dakotas, or Oklahoma, or Florida, etc., etc. They leave what a bizz pays its workers to the bizz-zes. As they should.
Why, I ask rhetorically, do the lefty weenies somehow feel it's any business of theirs to decide, unilaterally, that the Korean grocer down the street, or the Mexican family that owns and operates a local restaurant, or the lumber yard or gas station or launderette, or private bizz of any kind, must hike their workers' pay? In effect, pick a businessman's pocket? Pick it so as to redistribute the forcibly extricated "wealth" to new union members, and thus, likely to new Democrat voters?
It's simple, in my opinion. It's because they just cannot STAND it that anyone, anywhere is left to their own devices about anything! As I often say, the Left wants you to have your own opinion...so long as it's theirs! Lefties don't want you to decide where to live or to work or play, or whether or not to have kids or how many, or how they should be educated. They want to be involved in every aspect of your life, for one simple reason: They think you're too damn stupid to make such decisions for yourself. Because if you did, you might decide to come down on the side of reason, and self-determination, and self-reliance, and self-actualization, and...wait for it...freedom. Sad.
The Left will tell you that such a major bump in the min-wage is good, because the newly-found wealth thus "created," actually stolen, will result in the newly well-paid being able to buy more stuff, thus boosting the economy for everyone.
Of course, what they fail to realize, or maybe actually already know but simply choose not to admit or to care, is that the Korean grocer or the Mexican restaurant family are not rich; they are probably teetering on the edge of insolvency month-by-month. But the Left believes that everybody, everybody, who is a business owner is a millionaire or a billionaire. And that simply taking a "small portion" of their undoubtedly gargantuan earnings won't hurt them so very much while helping the Great Unwashed so very much.
And that it's their right, nay their obligation, to be a social justice warriors. It's their "right," even though the result might cause major disruption in the economy as a whole. But hey, screw them! They deserve it. They chose to start a business and get rich, so the Lefties will make it their cause celibre to just take their money and play Robin Hood. After all, they're nameless, faceless bureaucrats who can hide behind legislation in the face of any outraged backlash. It's not like the newly-poor businessmen will hunt them down and exact revenge, right?
Hey Lefties! If a fast-food franchisee is barely eeking out a 5% or 6% profit on his sales, which is the average, doubling his Number One expense, which is labor, could very well put him out of business unless he increases his prices. And if he increases his prices his sales would most likely plummet. And plummeting sales would put him out of business. He's in a no-win situation.
So he has no choice but to find other alternatives to hiring either pimply-faced teenagers or displaced middle-class workers at more than they're worth for the job that they do, and go out of business in the process. He'll look to opening fewer hours, which would hurt sales, or even investing in high-tech mechanized robotic labor to do the job. Wendy's, Burger King, McDonalds, Carl's Jr. and KFC have already announced they'll move to non-human answers to lower their need for high-priced human labor. A robot to take your order could cost as little as $35,000, and pay for itself within a short period. Applebee's is already using I-Pad ordering with no waitresses involved. Buh bye jobs! A robot burger-cooker can make 250 an hour, error-free, at an investment of about $250k, with a pay-back of just over a year. And need no days off or time off or sick days. Which means the SEIU's chancy effort to force businesses to knuckle under will no doubt backfire. It serves them right.
What about the newly-rich min-wage recipients? How would such a "windfall" effect their lives? At $15.00 an hour, should a worker work 40 hours a week, which is highly doubtful under current Obamacare rules, he/she would earn just about $31,000 a year. And at that rate, he/she would earn too much for many aid programs, could no longer qualify for food stamps, might then owe income taxes, and would surely have to pay union dues. The result? They'd likely be worse off then now. But don't try to tell them that. They probably won't believe you.
Oh, and just so we have something to compare that to, the starting salary for an enlisted solider in the military is just about $18,000 a year. So a burger-flipper makes $31,000 and one of our finest, who could be dodging bullets, makes $18,000. See anything wrong with this picture?
And how should we help grow these people out of the minimum wage doldrums? Just like we have forever. They should get an education, or get some specialized training, or sign up for an internship so they can get some on-the-job training. Then, and ONLY then, will they get their chance at the American Dream. Remember, here in America you're entitled to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." You ARE NOT entitled to happiness. Just the pursuit thereof...
in the final analysis, I've done a little research on this subject and can tell you that a doubling of the min-wage would cost the average McDonald's more than $100,000 per year. And that's just about what such a franchisee makes. The Left doesn't care. Predictably, the franchisee does. One MickeyD's franchisee I spoke to told me a burger/fry/Coke combo, which now costs about $5.50, will soon have to go to $8.50 -$9.00, or even more, if this min-wage hysteria continues. Think it will affect sales? I do.
So how's it working? Santa Monica has already voted to require all bizz to pay $15/hour. And they've lost more than 10% of all their small businesses, and most of the remainder have indicated they will cut back on hours and hiring. The Sea-Tac Airport, which serves Seattle-Tacoma, WA, has done the same. They've lost more than a quarter of their businesses and many companies that had planned to open there have decided not to do so. San Francisco, predictably the most business-unfriendly city in the U.S., and Berkeley, just across the Bay, did the same. With the same result. They're losing businesses by the score. There are many other early examples, but hey, you get the idea. It seems, however, that the Progressive social engineers just don't care.
If you were a small bizz owner, and were facing this onslaught on your profitability, which has, and will, drive all success, all hiring, all job creation and all stability in our economy, what would you do?
* NOTE: The Chuckmeister is a highly-trained and -experienced, real honest--to-God economist, and an entrepreneur with more than 40 years' of bizz formation, operation and management experience, so he really knows what he's talking about. Although, that's not absolutely necessary for him to offer up his very valuable opinions. Never has been, never will be...