The federal minimum wage has been a point of contention in recent months as advocates call for the wage to be raised from $7.25 to more than $10 an hour.
Reports have indicated that president Barack Obama is going to sign an executive order, establishing the minimum wage at $10.10 per hour for workers under new federal contracts. Workers who are currently under contract are not eligible at this time though the president will ask congress to officially raise the minimum wage to that same standard.
It’s understandable that many people are frustrated with the inability to make much money at a fast-food job. This is due to struggling to make ends meet and supporting their family. Fast-food minimum-wage jobs were never meant to become permanent and instead for the most part considered temporary and yet it is not happening in our society.
Multiple programs have glorified protests of fast-food workers, although some admitted to being there as paid protesters. The calls of unfairness for the minimum wage have been loud. Still do people really understand the repercussions of what raising the minimum wage to over $10 an hour will do?
For starters, when you’re paying people that much more money an hour, those dollars are going to have to come from somewhere. Do you think company executives are going to let it come out of their pockets? Absolutely not. So, instead of that, the cost will be put on the customer.
Now, a lot of people love McDonald’s hamburgers. Will those who enjoy the food really continue going if the cost goes up?
Let’s say they do. Are companies really going to have the same number of workers manning the counters? Of course, the drive-thru model will still need people to man it (unless these companies implement voice-recognition technology), but what about the front counters?
If the picture above this post is any indication, multiple fast-food restaurants will put in kiosks. Where customers will order at the screens for themselves and make the payment using cash or credit card as well. The only need for a human is to bring out the food. .
So, just for one customer’s order, you’ve taken a fast-food worker out of the equation, meaning they won’t have a job. Now, what if a restaurant has four registers to take orders? That means four jobs are no longer needed as a single food handler can easily distribute the trays (or bags) of food.
Don’t think it will happen? Back in 2011, McDonald’s ordered 7,000 touchscreen kiosks to replace cashiers in Europe. So, why wouldn’t they do that in the U.S.? It would save money, but also have a few other benefits:
Besides monetary incentive, and not to mention that the kiosks will also be getting rid of cash transactions since they only accept credit or debit cards, the kiosks are also a way to gather statistical information about people’s eating habits, said (McDonald’s Europe President Steve) Easterbrook. The company could potentially track every last thing you order (or perhaps offer you a free Big Mac with every ten that you purchase?).
And that’s just for fast-food restaurants. Grocery stores and retail stores are already using self-checkouts. Most gas stations are all self-service now. Hiking the minimum wage is going to send companies towards technology and taking human workers out of the equation.
When then happens, even more people will be out of the job. So, what good will raising the minimum-wage be if more people will be out of jobs?
Something does need to happen, but making such a drastic hike in the minimum wage is not the answer.
The answer lies in our education system. Today’s kids have to become more challenged in the classroom. Parents also need to get involved and stop treating school as a place where their child will get babysat. Studies have shown that the more parents are involved, the more success kids will have in school. And when kids are more successful, more opportunities are available and will go to college to study an area of interest.
Then, they won’t have to resort to holding a minimum-wage job when their 30.
The wrong problem is being focused on. When we focus on the right problem, our society will be much better off.