Proposed 'Fast Food' Walk Out Would Kill Jobs, Not Boost Pay
Posted 07:10 PM ET
Labor: Egged on by unions, fast-food workers plan to strike in dozens of U.S. cities for much higher wages. Sadly, they're being used to do something that's not in their own interests.
Sensing the time is ripe, the Service Employees International Union and union-funded front groups are organizing a walkout of workers at fast-food joints in about 100 cities to protest how tough it is to live on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
They'd like that nearly doubled to $15 -- and not just for fast food, but retailing and other industries too.
Sounds great. But even by the loopy logic of the left, this is economic insanity and would lead to greater misery, fewer jobs and fewer opportunities for all.
That's not just our opinion. Economists David Neumark and William Wascher, in their comprehensive book "Minimum Wages," looked at virtually all the scholarly and statistical evidence worldwide, digging up literally dozens of studies.
Their finding: Minimum wage laws almost always result in a "reduction in employment opportunities for low-skilled" employees while limiting "skill acquisition by reducing educational attainment and perhaps training, resulting in lower adult wages and earnings."
And, they said, it reduces the total amount of human capital — a huge cost to society.
The minimum wage is so devastating that roughly 85% of all economists in a recent survey — from both the left and the right sides of the spectrum — said they think it's a bad idea.
Unions will use Americans' well-known sympathy for the underdog to make their case — and get support. But it's the underdog who suffers most.
Today, teen unemployment is nearly 25%, up more than a third from just 10 years ago. Jack up the minimum wage by law, and that level will go even higher.
The idea that working families depend on these jobs is false. Most of those working for minimum wage are young, ages 16 to 24. They live in middle-class homes with above-average household incomes.
And as James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation notes, two-thirds of minimum-wage earners get a raise in their first year. This is how they learn to show up, work hard and get along with others — valuable life skills young people acquire as they begin work and the very things that will make them a success later on.
A higher minimum wage would cost young workers jobs and opportunities. They'd be wise to ignore the unions' siren song of higher wages for nothing.