"Politics is the Art of Looking for Trouble, Finding it Everywhere, Diagnosing it Incorrectly, and Applying the Wrong Remedies"
Businesses don't hire or fire based upon what the minimum wage is. They hire based upon a need for labor. Let's take your McDonald's example and go with that. Let's say the McDonalds in Anytown, USA currently has 25 employees. Why did the manager of that store settle on the number 25? Why not 24 or 26. The manager's primary concerns in determining staffing needs are:
One, having enough workers to complete all necessary tasks completed.
Two, having enough workers to provide a level of customer service that provides him with a happy customer base who will frequent his establishment on a regular basis.
He has 25 employees because that's what he's determined it takes to accomplish those two goals.
So now along comes a minimum wage increase. According to you, the manager would now lay off workers. But in doing so, he's also going to have to accept that needed work will go undone and that his customer base will receive a less satisfactory experience than that to which they've been accustomed. You say he'll simply require that the workers do more work. This assumes that his workers have extra time during their working hours to accomplish extra work; but they don't. If they did, they'd be working for a poor manager who allows his employees to hang around doing nothing part of the time. No, the only way you can get the employees to do "more work" is to have them spend less time doing the jobs they already have to do.
So where can he find that extra time? Food has to be cooked a certain amount of time, so we can't find it there. He can reduce the number of people attending cash registers but the result of that would longer lines and negative impact upon the dining experience of his customers. Plus, he'd likely lose the customers who are unwilling to wait in long lines. Customers lost are hard to win back, so that isn't an attractive option. He could decrease the amount of time he allowed his staff to perform cleaning chores, but the result of that would be a dirtier, less hygienic dining experience leading to a loss of customers.
If the manager was running his store efficiently prior to the minimum wage increase, he can't just give the workers more work to do. To cover a minimum wage increase of $3 an hour for $25 employees, assuming they're all working 40 hour weeks, would require additional revenues of $3000 per week. Raise the price of shakes, sodas, and fries by $0.10 and he's probably right there with very little chance that such a modest increase would impact his customer base.
Further, studies have been done on the issue and minimum wage increases have been shown to have very little impact at all in the way you fear. Of course, that doesn't stop outlets like Faux News from stating the exact opposite of what is true. But that shouldn't surprise anyone.
Bottom line is money. Mcdonald's won't take the hit for raising Min Wage. They will cut back on hiring and raise prices to cover the increase. Places like that have such a high turnover rate they really don't give a crap about giving their workers more work to do. I don't know about you but places like this aren't exactly the greatest when it comes to customer service.
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