Friday, 06 December 2013 18:29

Fast food workers minimum wage strikes create bad food for economy, businesses

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STRIKEThis week, fast food workers from around the country went on strike to demand higher wages of $15 per hour. There were strikes in 100 cities and protests in another 100 cities. The campaign was designed to elicit sympathy for fast food workers making $7.25 per hour, the current minimum wage.


Activists complain that the current pay structure is not a “living wage” for workers. President Obama agrees with the protest and is in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. He addressed the topic this week while complaining about income inequality in America. Ironically, the President overlooked the fact that income disparity has worsened during his administration

The President believes that one way to address income inequality is an increase in minimum wages. Yet, if this idea were implemented, the results would be catastrophic for fast food workers and others paid the minimum wage. While some may enjoy higher wages, many others would lose their jobs. If a $15 per hour minimum wage was mandated it will more than double labor costs, forcing many franchise owners to undoubtedly limit their work force or close their doors. These actions will be necessary for many fast food restaurants operate on very small profit margins.

In the name of improving worker conditions, activists might very well create worse conditions, sending terminated workers to the unemployment line. This will create more government dependency, higher costs for welfare programs and more Americans forced to live on food stamps.

For those restaurants that remain in business, there will undoubtedly be fewer employees providing a reduced level of customer service. In addition, higher labor costs will lead to higher food costs for millions of Americans who are having a hard enough time paying their bills.

Next year, business owners are already facing a tough situation dealing with the implementation of Obamacare, which will lead to layoffs and more workers being transitioned to part-time status. A higher minimum wage will only make the demands on struggling business owners even more difficult. It will also accelerate the trend toward replacing workers with technology, which is how customers place their orders in many European fast food restaurants. 

Overall, this campaign sounds good and feels good, but, in reality, is entirely misguided. It is typical of how liberals play on the emotions of Americans to implement their programs. In their quest to enforce a “living wage,” liberals will just create more unemployment. It is similar to the ‘war on poverty” government programs from the 1960’s which were part of the “Great Society” initiative. After four decades and trillions of dollars in spending to eliminate poverty in America, there are more impoverished people today in our country.

All of these liberal programs have great intentions, but poor results. While they increase the scope and power of government, they don’t provide any solutions.

If implemented, a federally mandated increase in minimum wages will only verify Ronald Reagan’s wise adage, “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”


Jeff Crouere

Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on For more information, email him at [email protected]

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