Most readers of this blog probably reacted instinctively against the fast food workers who went on strike last week, seeing them as part of the Left -- which they are -- and therefore as part of the problem. That was my reaction as well.
After all, higher minimum wages mean lower profits for corporations and fewer entry level jobs. And raising the minimum wage would go against the principle of free markets.
But no one should lose sight of the fact that employees at a place like McDonald's are working. They are choosing to work and earn money and pay taxes rather than just go on welfare or deal drugs. And for many, those are their only options. So these workers should be encouraged, not discouraged.
If raising the minimum wage is what it takes, maybe that's the answer.
Fast food workers are not like pampered United Auto Workers with self-serving no-work rules, lavish pensions, and, according to Obama's definition, "Cadillac" health care plans. They have jobs that can only be described as lousy.
There will always be tension between labor and management. Management's goal is to be as profitable as possible, and labor's goal is the highest-paying job possible. These aims are often at odds, but that is a healthy tension that makes businesses efficient. And ultimately, it makes this country strong.
I've seen too many analyses of how people who milk the system and get every possible government benefit have a higher standard of living than those who work at low level jobs. With that kind of incentive, who would opt to work for minimum wage?
Even worse is the way the welfare system in this country is set up: women too dumb and irresponsible to do anything else are basically paid to have babies. That's the long term death knell for this country.
In 2011 I announced that I was running for President, and outlined my platform here and here and here. Much to my surprise, my campaign never took off. But I did distinguish myself in one respect: I became the first announced Presidential candidate to throw his hat in the ring and then, basically, just forget that he was running.
In any case, in that third link above this is what I said about corporate pay:
The highest paid employee of a company ought not to be paid more than forty times what lowest paid employee is -- which is the way it was forty years ago. And stock options and bonuses will be counted as part of their pay. This would not prevent an Edwin Land or a Bill Gates of a Steve Jobs or a Bill Hewlett or a David Packard or a Henry Ford from becoming fabulously wealthy, as they all deserved to be. They got rich by founding companies which they then grew. But it would prevent corporate climbers from taking advantage of a company's shareholders. These types tend to rise by virtue of their skill at corporate politicking, then tell us that their presence is invaluable to the company, and reward themselves outrageously. I have a hard time lying back and enjoying it when I get raped this way.
I have not changed my mind about this, despite the fact that it is actually an extremely Leftist position (too much so for most Democrats). We've all heard how back in the 1970's CEO's used to be paid roughly thirty times as much as the average factory worker, and now some of them get paid upwards of a thousand times as much. Have CEO's gotten that much better? Do they now put in 1000 times as many hours as factory workers? Are their IQ's 1000 times as high?
Maybe the solution is what I suggested in my platform above, which would both decrease CEO pay and increase the lowest paid employees' pay. And that should be combined, as I stated elsewhere in my platform, with a program to wean people off welfare both by turning it into workfare and by making the payments contingent upon taking some form of effective birth control.
A country with such huge wage disparities is as unsustainable as a country with ever increasing numbers of people on welfare.
In any case, and this is the main point of this post, there is no reason to resent the fast food workers. They just want to do an honest day's labor (unlike the welfare freeloaders) for an honest day's wage (unlike many corporate CEO's).