WASHINGTON, August 31, 2013 — Fast food workers in Chicago, Detroit and Seattle are going on strike. They are demanding that their wages be raised to $15 dollars an hour or more than double the minimum wage.
Let them strike.
A fast food workers strike is a great thing on a couple of fronts.
First it is a lesson in economics. Workers are only as valuable as the work they produce. A worker is only valuable to an employer as long as his work activity generates revenue for the company that is greater than his wages.
Too many Americans will look at that fact and have a MEGO reaction: My eyes glaze over.
Too many Americans have no clue about basic economics. Too many Americans have the “I deserve it” mentality that has been inculcated into them by popular culture and by public education.
The fast food workers think they deserve $15 an hour. Minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. If you can get a fulltime job in the era of Obamacare, it translates out to be about $15,000 a year. It is tough to live on $15,000 a year, especially if you have a family. What the strikers want is a beginning wage of about $31,000 a year.
Because they deserve it.
No they don’t. Slapping hamburgers together and salting French fries is not a high-skill job. Anyone who can fog a mirror can do it. Americans used to understand that they were paid based on their skill and effort. Now, far too many people think they are simply entitled to a wage, regardless of any other consequences.
The fast food franchise business model cannot survive with entry-level workers making $15 an hour. Fast food outlets would have to raise their prices to a point where people would no longer stop at McDonald’s out of convenience.
So let them strike.
Unskilled entry-level workers are fungible. Fast food workers don’t need any special skills for their jobs. They are not like skilled craftsmen or professionals. Fire one fast food worker; there are twenty in line to replace him. This is especially true in the Obama Depression.
There is another benefit to this strike as well.
Fast food is the bane of American health. Do you want to know why we have an obesity epidemic? Just look at what Americans eat. Americans have become conditioned to convenience. Why go buy groceries and then spend an hour cooking, often after having spent eight to ten hours at the office when you can simply pop down to your local McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s to get breakfast, lunch or dinner?
If you go to McDonald’s for breakfast and get an Egg McMuffin, Hash Browns and an order of coffee with non-sugar sweetener, it is about 450 calories. If you stop there again for lunch and get a Big Mac, fries and a shake, you are eating another 1,310 calories. At that point, you have already consumed 1,760 calories for a day. Remember the average American only needs 2,000 calories a day.
If you finish your day off with a big dinner, as Americans often do, you are adding another 1000 calories or even more.
Do you need to ask why Americans are fat?
If the fast food workers in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Seattle want to go on strike, more power to them. They can be replaced or they can force their employer out of business. Either way, it will be a powerful lesson in economics for Americans, and if there are fewer fast food outlets, maybe Americans will start eating healthier.
Let them strike!
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