By: Sheryl Young
If you’re among the folks marching the streets with pickets signs and bullhorns demanding a $15 per hour federal minimum wage, I can only assume you’re a Common Core math student. Or maybe you’re just too young to remember how many times strikes and campaigns for higher wages actually resulted in higher wages. Yes, initially this would look like a good thing. Companies were forced to give their employees a higher wage in order to continue business and keep workers on the floor. But, soon those higher wages resulted in employee layoffs and terminations because the companies couldn’t afford to pay everyone a higher wage. American Airlines once laid off 5,000 employees during a 1980s strike for higher wages. And when the company was back on its feet, guess what happened? They hired a lot of different people. They didn’t want the troublemakers to come back. They hired people who were glad to have any job at all, people who were wiling to work for lower pay.
And let’s not forget about the auto industry either. In nearly every autoworker strike, the employees often accomplished their goal of being given a higher wage in the end — even after being on strike for months and losing their wages completely. And where are many of those car manufacturers? Well, you may have to move to Mexico to work for General Motors now because they’ve moved most of their operations there from the United States. Visit one of those GM plants and you’ll find out they made this decision because they can pay their workers pennies on the dollar. And the workers would be happy with it. (NOT!) They’re all trying to come here! So, what did they even really accomplish?
Not only that, but the price of goods always skyrockets when companies must pay higher salaries, and the people still employed at the higher wage (if they’re lucky enough to be) are sometimes the same people that end up having to pay the higher price for those goods. Should it come as a surprise that after multiple auto strikes for higher wages, we have prices on cars for which people must go into debt for longer than the life of the car itself? Will it come as any surprise that when people flipping burgers are getting $15 an hour, paying for a Big Mac — without fries or a Coke — will require winning the Las Vegas lottery? It’s going to be about $12 or $15 for that burger — plain, by itself. So, thank you very much. If you work at a fast food joint, will you still be able to eat there even if you’re getting a 10 percent employee discount? When people can’t afford to pay for the price of goods and when it gets too expensive to manufacture those goods, the company can’t afford to pay the workers. This is just simple common sense and Economics 101, neither of which our schools are teaching these days.
So, for those of you who still aren’t getting it, I’ll put this in list-form. Here’s what $15 per hour minimum wage might get you (on a scale of bad to worse):
You know who they are — the ones who are still paying for their own phones, cable, computers, kids’ college and medical bills and working their butts off just to keep afloat because the soakers and illegal aliens are reaping the benefits. So, while you sit at home wondering how much more mediocre you can become, you are taking food out of other people’s mouths. But, I suppose that doesn’t bother you.
I hope I don’t need to close that list by saying it doesn’t apply to the physically or mentally challenged, or the really needy or desperate folks who simply try to provide for their families and sincerely have no other outlets or opportunities. On the other hand, it’s usually these very people who DO try to improve, risking everything to make themselves better and better. They aren’t sound-bite entitlement believers who think the government and “rich” people owe them everything. Of course, the fact that I’ve added this paragraph won’t keep the bleeding-heart liberals from criticizing me.
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