The minimum wage has been under fire lately, most recently on Thursday September 4, as fast food workers throughout 150 cities went on strike to demonstrate their desire for an increase to $15/per hour. The hashtag #FightFor15 went viral on Twitter because of the protest.
What is the minimum wage? According to Merriam-Webster, it is “the lowest wage paid or permitted to be paid; specifically : a wage fixed by legal authority or by contract as the least that may be paid either to employed persons generally or to a particular category of employed persons.” The key words are “the lowest wage paid,” meaning, there is a way to make more money. The whole concept of the minimum wage is to incentivize people to work hard, earn raises, and even have the opportunity to be promoted. By increasing the minimum wage to a fixed rate that should be earned by those that have exceeded the skills of an entry-level job is simply unfair.
Aside from hurting competition, this increase would also hurt businesses. Companies like Panera Bread have already began to replace their associates with kiosks.
The Heritage Foundation’s “The Daily Signal” recently published an article, as they calculated what the price of popular fast food items would be if the wage increased to $15/per hour. Some of the prices include a $2.29 hike in price for a steak burrito bowl at Chipotle and a $1.72 increase for a 3 crunchy taco combo. This increase could potentially hurt demand, as people are used to paying less for fast food.
Although raising the minimum wage is nice in theory, it is not feasible, especially a major increase from $7.25 to $15. An article, followed by a graphic from The Economist back in 2013 made a good point: raising the minimum wage by a small amount, and then seeing whether or not it makes or breaks the economy, is a much better plan than drastically raising it and consequently watching the madness unfold.