Politics of Fast Food Wages, Part V: What Happens at $15/Hour?

Some think that $15/hour minimum wage means everyone earning less than that will receive $15/hour.  The raise will be taken from salary of greedy executives.  Redistribution, that simple.

No it isn’t.

Here’s what happens.  Most who don’t produce at least $15/hour of value will be fired.  Laid off.  Whatever.  They don’t get to work.  In other words, the unemployment rate would go up, way up in poor communities.  Businesses will either downsize operations or search for workflow process improvements so business can run with fewer employees.  Those with no work experience — teenagers — won’t be given a chance.  And for many teens, paid employment is the FIRST TIME they’re asked to be responsible, to be self-reflective, to finally GROW UP.  The last recession left us with a bunch of 20 year olds who act like 15 year olds because they couldn’t find a job when they were 15.  Even at $9.19/hour businesses are reluctant to hire inexperienced workers because it costs so much to train them.  Most start off producing negative value. Most teens should be paying businesses for an opportunity to work, because their fuck ups are financially and emotionally draining.

What happens at Alive Juice Bar?  I reduce hours and lay off those who don’t produce $15/hour. I work more hours.  It’ll be even more difficult to grow into a national chain that challenges competing fast food establishments on price and nutrition. Which means fewer options for consumers, more unemployment, and business owner has less time to spend with family. Few win.  Similar will happen at other small businesses.

(Summary of parts I-IV).

Myth: Most business owners are wealthy, like top 1 percent, and can afford to pay employees more.
Fact: Most businesses fail, sometimes leaving owners destitute and  homeless. Established businesses typically provide owner what most would consider a modest income.  Those who become part of the 1% typically do so after 20 years of 80-100 hour work weeks.

Myth: Business owners always pay themselves the most
Fact: Most business owners pay themselves the least, if at all, when they start.  This is true for most Silicon Valley start-ups, restaurants, banks.  Business owners will also pay themselves less than minimum wage.  Like $25,000 a year while working 15 hour days 365. It can take years before business owner makes $15 an hour (typically 60-120 hours per week).

Myth: You need a college degree to become part of the 1%, or the aspirational 14%. Everyone else works dead-end jobs.
Fact: Most degrees are worthless. You don’t need a college degree to become CEO of Microsoft.  Or McDonald’s.  Or Costco.  Or Apple.  Or Goldman Sachs.  People (who don’t know how to read statistics) have been tricked into thinking they need a degree to live well.  Good employers look for grit, ambition, and leadership.  And if you have the wrong degree, employer will think you spent four years extending your adolescence by binge drinking, getting high, and engaging in promiscuous sex.

Myth: One can’t live a so-called middle-class life on current minimum wage.
Fact: That’s assuming 40 hours a week.  Someone making just over minimum wage, $10/hour, can make 40k a year if she works 80 hours a week (two jobs).  The medical doctor doing his five year internship makes $60,000 a year working 100 hours a week and has to pay down $400,000 in debt.  The post-doc at a prominent UW medical lab makes $40,000 a year working 80 hours a week.  Just another perspective.

Myth: Those making minimum wage are underpaid.
Fact: Some are, but most are overpaid because most of them need to be managed.  Those who are reliable will be given raises. Those who don’t need to be managed are quickly promoted and given raises.  Those who can manage…you get the idea. Anyway, I would argue that it’s middle management that’s underpaid.  They don’t get the stock options that executives get and only get paid a bit more than staff they manage.  Each staff employee is responsible for one section.  Manager is responsible for every section.  Consider how much more value a good manager produces in comparison to average staff member.

Final section will be on How to Calculate One’s Labor Value.  Everyone should know how to negotiate one’s own wages.  There’s no reason the government needs to be involved in an exchange, a contract between two private parties.  What next, the government is going to tell people how often they should be fucking because someone decides that sex is a human right?


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