Protesters took to the streets in Las Vegas and other cities Thursday to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers. The irony of the demonstrations was lost on the participants (assuming they were fast-food workers and not operatives paid by the Service Employees International Union). If they get their way, thousands of fast-food workers will quite literally be out on the streets, priced out of their jobs and into the unemployment line.
As demonstrators were cited or arrested for blocking traffic in cities across American, social media was lighting up with photographs of all the new equipment that’s poised to replace workers if any government — whether federal, state or local — forces wages higher. Almost everything in a fast-food restaurant can be automated. Given the country’s political climate, this equipment already is being developed.
If restaurant chains were compelled to double their wages, they can’t double their prices and expect consumers to continue buying their food. Would you pay $13 for a McDonald’s meal deal? Would you pay $60 to feed a family of five? Of course not.
Every increase in the minimum wage destroys entry-level jobs, preventing the least-skilled Americans — especially teens and minorities — from entering the workforce. These are the people most in need of work.
These protests are less about lifting the lower class and more about boosting union membership and union bank accounts. Be careful what you wish for, fast-food protesters. You just might get it.