Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just Say No to Big Macs on Thursday

Tomorrow, Thursday August 29th,is a national day of protest of the minimum wage - also known as starvation wages - and will even be celebrated in Texas as thousands of fast food workers develop simultaneous cases of influenza.
Minimum wage workers are demanding a national raise in the minimum wage from the present $7.25 per hour to $15.
And the time has come. The time is right.
Case in point: McDonald's, the iconic fast food chain that employs hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers through its franchises showed a net profit of $6.81 billion in 2012. That's NET profit. And that is an 11% rise over the previous year.
Astounding when you consider that we are just recovering from a colossal economic meltdown. Well, if you believe this article, the meltdown is feeding into the profit increase. Economically strapped families are still eating out, but spending more money on Big Macs than T-bones. Profits are up at McDonalds because times are hard.
So they can afford to slide a few more bucks over to their franchisees so they in turn can pay their employees a living wage, can't they?
As has occurred in the past, every time talk of raising the minimum wage is bandied about, businessmen are tearing their clothes decrying the loss of jobs and shuttering of businesses that will surely result should a new minimum wage go into effect.
But as I indicated above, the time is right. The time is right because this time, using proper economic modeling that factor out trends that were already there, economists now see that contrary to popular belief, raising the minimum wage does no such thing. We have all sorts of data now for every minimum wage hikes in history, and guess what: all that stuff that businessmen are warning us about has never happened.
From an article in Bloomberg News from April of last year:
"[A] wave of new economic research is disproving those arguments about job losses and youth employment. Previous studies tended not to control for regional economic trends that were already affecting employment levels, such as a manufacturing-dependent state that was shedding jobs. The new research looks at micro-level employment patterns for a more accurate employment picture. The studies find minimum-wage increases even provide an economic boost, albeit a small one, as strapped workers immediately spend their raises."
I like how this quote parallels the McDonalds story how their profits go up in an economic downturn because one could argue that McDonalds faces reduced profits when it pays its employees a living wage, so people can go back to having T-bone steaks.
If I were McDonalds, I would be considering some menu changes when the minimum wage does go up, as it inevitably will. They might have to consider selling better/higher quality nutritious food instead of chicken feet and pig snouts.
Heck. Maybe even I might spend a few bucks at a McDonalds again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Curious to know what you think a fair profit for McDonalds would be?