I turned sixteen about this time in 1966. The next obvious step was a car. So I went to the bank. Just kidding…I looked for a job.
My dad was a member of a country club. He justified this luxury by doing a lot of business there as a stock broker. Ray Kroc was an acquaintance there and Dad mentioned I was looking for a job. Mr. Kroc said to apply at the Pico (Boulevard) store.
So I went on down there and the manager apparently thought I looked pretty young (just like I do now). He said I had to be eighteen to work there. Imagine, the founder of McDonalds knowing where there was an entry level job opening at one of his stores. Next time Dad saw Mr. Kroc he mentioned what I had found out at the Pico store and Ray said to go on down there again, I had the job.
I learned a lot at McDonalds and I got paid to do it. McDonalds profited from my labor and I saved $500 for a seven-year-old Volkswagen. I learned I was only as smart as a 16-year-old and the customer is always right. I learned teamwork to provide a service to whomever deemed that service worthy of their hard earned money. People loved the fries that I made from real potatoes out of a fifty pound sack. How cool is that?
I was amazed (well, not really) last month when hundreds of fast food workers threatened to strike in support of a federal minimum wage hike to $15. Some stores actually closed for the day because of the lack of help.
Now imagine Ray Kroc. He poured his heart and soul into a partnership between willing employees and himself to provide good food fast so we can enjoy more of the rest of our day. Now the employees view themselves as victims of exploitation.
It is tragic the principle that brought America to such greatness is now looked upon as a sin. The principle of an economy guided purely by voluntary action between individuals gave us the extreme wealth that enables us to whine and cry into our cell phones about how much we are mistreated by those we volunteer to do business with.
What is the goal of the proponents of the minimum wage? I would guess it is a better life for everyone, on the surface. So let’s approach the subject with that goal in mind.
Do you buy more of a product at a low price than a high one? Come on, be honest. To think that the government can raise prices and maintain volume at the same time defies logic. When the minimum wage limits the amount of jobs available, we must accept some people will remain unemployed. Those people with jobs will support those who don’t have jobs. I don’t see how that would engender a harmonious society.
One attribute of a civilized society is to learn by example. Using the standard of low unemployment as beneficial, Switzerland sets a good example. Their unemployment rate has fluctuated between 2.5% and 4.5% since 2007. That is with no minimum wage. In the U.S., with a minimum wage, our unemployment rate has been between 4.5% and 10%. This is, of course, complicated by our funding an empire. But the fact that both a minimum wage and an empire are outside constitutional restraints, still shows the destructive force of central planning and doesn’t discount the unemployment figures entirely.
If price were not a factor in competition for jobs what do we do next? Wait longer, dress nicer, bribe? All these things might be necessary to get the job but do not bode well for the best job done once we get there. And that’s what it is all about, right? A better life for everyone does not include the waste of a fake job market.
My job at McDonalds was for minimum wage ($6.05 in today’s inflated dollars) and I don’t think I was worth it. But I was willing to learn and glad for the opportunity. Soon, with the patience of the manager who thought I looked too young, I was the go to fry guy.
That job at McDonalds, and other jobs since, helped shape values over the years that I’m proud of. Those values include rejection of the use of force. A minimum wage is force.
Fritz’s website is www.alternativebyfritz.com. Or he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.