Mike Kiltie: Matter of degree

December 9, 2013 

Fast-food workers are requesting $15 an hour, more than twice the national minimum wage, even in Raleigh. (There is some justification of premium wage in New York City.) As usual, the protesters have not considered the consequences of their “demand.”

If granted, the fast-food industry would be forced into major cost controls. There would be even greater use of labor-saving technologies. All of the protesters would have their hours reduced. Many would become unemployed. But cost controls only go so far. The prices of fast food items would increase significantly. The family and friends of the protesters will not celebrate paying $10 for their Whopper combo meal.

As price increases lead to fewer customers at fast-food establishments, there will be a second and third round of reduced hours and layoffs. What is a better solution than an unwarranted increase in the minimum wage to the protesters’ income problem? Get more education. Acquire more employable skills that would permit the protesters to qualify for better jobs.

Mike Kiltie, Raleigh

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