The Minimum Wage Will Always be Zero

The delightful people who give you the wrong food and insist on putting onions on your burger no matter how many times you tell them not to have decided that they ought to decide who wins the next Presidential election. They are, apparently, planning to strike repeatedly over the next year in an effort to sway the 2016 elections.


I guess the theory is that as you’re sitting there waiting even longer in line for your Doritos sheathed tacos you’re supposed to sit there and think, “I should vote for Hillary” instead of “next time I’m going to Chick Fil A.” Or something. Fast food workers are not really hired because they are good political strategists.

I don’t want to come off sounding like an elitist, here. I put in my time in the food service industry – five years of it, in fact. I can safely say that none of the work I produced there was worth $15 an hour. How do I know this? Because no one ever came close to offering me that much for it.

You may or may not have noticed this, but there are an absolute crapton of fast food establishments out there, and the number is growing every day. This is a hyper-competitive environment in which even McDonald’s is having to make fundamental changes to the way they do business. The idea that fast food companies are operating at huge profit margins at the expense of their workers (who are demanding an almost 100% pay increase) is nonsense to anyone who understands basic economics. Of course, the more intelligent folks you talk to who are behind this ploy will acknowledge this reality and just say, “Well, of course not, we are just saying that it’s okay if your fast food costs more.”


Whatever. I don’t personally have a huge problem with paying more for the occasional salt-laden dreck I order from these establishments, but the idiots in charge of this movement are missing that the fast food companies have a third option entirely, which is to not pay them at all. That’s right, folks, the more expensive human labor becomes, the more cost effective it becomes to replace human labor with machines, who always show up on time, don’t need to take breaks or vacations, and never file baseless discrimination lawsuits.

Basically all labor strikes represent a false choice. Striking employees believe that the only choice that exists is between the wage they are currently getting and the wage they want to get. Attempting to force the Federal Government to intervene doesn’t really change that equation – the only choice people can see is the choice between getting paid their current wage and the wage they are trying to achieve.

But there’s always a third choice and that is that the worker in question can get paid zero. Companies always have the option of employing fewer people (especially in the age of increased automation), which means that an increasing number of people will be getting zero dollars an hour from their employer. Additionally, if workers demand so much in wages that they price their company’s product out of the market, then the entire company will eventually go under and literally everyone who works there will be getting zero dollars an hour.


Every increase in the alleged minimum wage will inevitably result in more people receiving the ACTUAL minimum wage, which is zero. These pointless exercises that the SEIU repeatedly tries to lure fast food workers into is not going to help the actual standard of living of their employees, but it will result in higher unemployment, higher prices for fast food (which is disproportionately consumed by lower income families), and consumer resentment.

As always, the best way to improve your lot in life is to improve your own personal worth to your employer by learning new and useful marketable skills. Agitating for a higher “minimum wage” just improves the chances that you’ll end up making the true minimum wage, which is zero.



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