Want robots at McDonald’s? Hike the minimum wage

A reader in the US writes:

It’s been an interesting debate here with the usual rough and tumble of different layers of government, it’s a struggle to get the minimum wage to $10.25 an hour which is outraging groups on both sides.

Unlike back home the media provide both sides and then leave it to the viewer to decide. They will have the hard working fast food worker putting across their reasoned position then the small business owner who will have to let a staff member go if the wages are hiked. There is no screaming from a Helen Kelly and neither would the business community have someone as hopeless as the guy from BuisinessNZ either backing their argument.

It’s a compelling argument that if the minimum wage is too high someone won’t get the opportunity of that entry level job which allows them to gain skills and experience that allows them to move ahead. You get a real life view of what would happen if you pass that tipping point of pricing young people out of the labour market and it’s called 50% unemployment and a lost generation in Europe, compare that to the USA where young people in service industry jobs are generally happy to help and happy in life.

If you find yourself at 40 still on the same wage as your 25 year old boss it shouldn’t be up to the government to give you that pay rise…in fact that very same caring leftie government is a threat to you as they will price you out of a job which could end up being a terminal situation.

Which is very interesting when you look at the comments of US billionaire Sam Zell:

Federal and state efforts to increase the minimum wage are misguided and pose serious risks to the economy and the job market, billionaire Sam Zell told CNBC on Wednesday.

“The tinkering with the minimum wage is a very dangerous game,” the chairman of Equity Group Investments said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “You start talking about a $13 or a $15 minimum wage, and you’re going to have robots that are operating McDonald’s.”

“If you double the cost, there’s no question that everybody will figure out ways to use less people,” Zell argued. “I think minimum wages have always been a poor substitute for economic policy.”

The training experience and discipline gained from entry-level jobs at McDonald’s or other service companies provide value to workers beyond just the wage they receive, he added.

There is a point at which employers will automate rather than employ…take forestry for example. Around the world cutting gangs are down to two or three people with a lot of expensive equipment automating the job. Here we have much bigger cutting gangs, and it is largely manual process. Forestry bosses I have spoken to though are near the tipping point of moving to the automation solutions because of increasingly silly demands from unions.

PLaces like McDonalds are vastly different today than they were just 10 years ago. Automation is a distinct possibility.

 


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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