Open Letter To Minimum Wage Strikers

To:  All you folks “striking” for a $15/hour minimum wage
From:  Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
Re:  Money from nothing


Today, you’ll be out and about around dozens of McDonalds, Taco Bells, WalMart and other low-wage employers.

I saw one of you on “Today” this morning; a cute, blonde, twenty-something single mother (what else?) and front-counter worker who notes for the camera that sometimes she has to choose between work clothes and bus fare.

I feel for you.  I do.  Twenty-odd years ago, I was in my twenties, had a couple of kids and a $7/hour job.  It was hard making ends meet.  Really, really hard. 

Of course, it was hard because of choices I’d made, not my diabolical employers.  I’d devoted myself to my first career – radio, which paid really badly, too – with a monastic intensity.  That career crashed – and it took me a few years to realize it. 

And after a year of floundering, I got the aforementioned $7/hour crummy job. 

Where I learned a couple of things; how to work in an office.  How to use a computer (that wasn’t something people were born doing back then).  How to work days instead of nights. 

I had made a few good choices, of course; when I was a teenager, I’d stayed in school and learned a few useful things, and kept it in my pants long enough to get through college (with a BA in English, which was no more a ticket to wealth then than it is today). 

Point being, that lousy $7/hour job was how I found my next job for $9/hour.  And thence got into technical writing.  And then into the career I have. 

And if that $7/hour job had gone away because legal document coders had decided to strike for $12 an hour, causing most of the crummy entry level jobs to be eliminated, where would I be today? 

The same place you’ll  be if they double the minimum wage for working the counter.

By the way, the woman on “Today” also parroted the same thing I’ve heard from ostensibly smarter liberals: without workers, there’d be no business.

That’s 180 degrees wrong, of course; without the business, there’d be no jobs. Don’t believe me?  Let’s try a quick thought experiment.  Find a vacant lot somewhere.  Put on a fast food uniform, and stand there saying “May I help you?”   Wait – where’s the burgers?  Where are the customers?  Where’s the counter and the till?  Where’s the building

What?  The SEIU goons behind the “strikes” never mentioned this?


57 thoughts on “Open Letter To Minimum Wage Strikers

  1. Rick, the demand party is OVER. Neo Keynesian Endpoint *

    Easy money makes the CPI (which is a crappy measure) go up little by little but there is so much misallocated capital from the easy money, there is no opportunity.

    Force begets force until it all collapses.

  2. “Workers should demand a huge increase in wages because that is what they are due.”
    You are the one demanding a huge increase in workers’ wages, RickDFL. Won’t cost you your job, I guess.

  3. RickDFL:nice dodge, but it ignores the real questions. Fair or not, are minimum wage hikes used by unions to demand higher wages (absolutely true), and fair or not, does the minimum wage put vulnerable workers out of work?

    Argue about fairness until you’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that when labor costs rise, people lose their jobs. Like every other initiative of Mr. Obama’s, this one would have exactly the wrong effect because it ignores the costs. Or are you going to pretend that giving half a billion bucks to Solyndra actually created jobs?

  4. I keep waiting for RickDFL to state the obvious — that to increase the value of American labor it is important for the government to make sure only people legally permitted to work in the U.S. are working in the U.S.
    But of course he’ll never say that.
    SEIU stands for “Service Employees International Union”. Note “International” in the name. The SEIU is one of those unions that believes that a worker’s loyalty to his fellow men is determined by how he gets his paycheck, not his citizenship. The SEIU broke away from the AFL-CIO over immigration. The SEIU sees low-paid, low skilled (e.g., uneducated and docile) workers as being their only chance to grow in power.
    RickDFL, like Stern, and Gus Hall before him, is one of those “soft hands” labor organizers.

  5. Exactly. They want union power. More immigrant workers voting for minimum wage increases to make up for the excess labor in a globalized economy. It’s a dumb plan.

    Except for police and fire, all government unions are dumb. They just try to elect democrats that will rob the treasury for them. That’s what happened in California.

    My understanding is (mostly) the only unions that make sense anymore are police / fire because they don’t have skills that transfer to the private sector and trade unions for a variety of business efficiency reasons.

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