Henry Vilas wrote:Do they really believe McDonald's restaurants are going to close up shop if they have to pay their workers a living wage?
A few will. More will never open in the first place. But you are right, McDs will survive and profit nicely. It will be the other, more marginally efficient chains that close up shop.
What will happen, because it has been happening sine the McDonald brothers opened the first McDonalds in the 40s, is that they will keep working at becoming more efficient. As in more productivity per worker. As in automation.
The real benificiary of a higher minimum wage will not be the workers, many of whom will no longer have jobs, but companies like Amazon which are heavily into robotics. (Kiva and Rethink Robotics belong to them) Robots will cost about the same regardless of what happens to minimum wages. The people who build and maintain the robots makes some multiple of minimum.
Baxter, from Rethink, is $22,000, ready to run, out of the box. Two, not one, arms. Vision systems in each arm. Sensors that allow it to run without guarding. Can be programmed by a min wage worker. Portable and cheap enough not to need onsite maintenance.
Now think of the min wage worker making $10/hr. Cost to the employer is probably $15-20/hr. ($30-40m/yr)
So what do you think the employer will do? $30-40m/yr for a worker for about 2,000 hours a year? Or a one time cost of $30,000 for a robot who works 8,000 hours per year.
It is kind of a brainer, isn't it?
BTW: WITC in New Richmond has a good program in robotics. If you have a kid looking for a useful career, they could do a lot worse.
Say hi to Baxter: