Barry Richard – Consumers Would Pay For A $15 Minimum Wage In Massachusetts
Several dozen people, including a Massachusetts State Representative, were arrested in Cambridge this week for blocking traffic while demonstrating for an increase in the state's already generous minimum wage. Many of the protesters, who are demanding $15 an hour, are employees of McDonald's, but the crowd included part time airport workers and Uber drivers.
In 2014 state lawmakers voted to raise the $8 minimum wage by a dollar per year for three years. The final step of that process occurs on January 1st when the minimum wage reaches $11 dollars an hour, again, mighty generous. But, that's not enough for those who toil in menial jobs for corporations like McDonald's and Walmart who feel they should be able to share in the wealth of these companies in order to raise their families or otherwise finance their lifestyles.
There is no doubt about it, flipping burgers or dealing with Walmart regulars can be a grueling way to earn your pay. That is why there is a huge turnover in those places. But lets also be clear, these jobs were never intended to support a household. They are intended for students, or those in search of a supplemental income. McDonald's and Walmart have no obligation to put your kids through college or pay your mortgage. Stop sitting-in in front of McDonald's and find a better paying job. If need be, return to school and complete your education, or find a second minimum wage job to support your needs.
Increasing the minimum wage may be politically expedient but it eventually hurts the very people it is designed to help, the ones among us who need the money the most. Increasing the minimum wage is a drain on businesses, particularly small businesses who provide most of the jobs in the economy. It forces them to layoff workers and prevents them from making new hires. We have seen restaurants and distribution centers turn to computers and robotics to perform tasks once performed by humans and the trend towards automation is growing.
The Massachusetts Legislature is expected to consider a $15 minimum wage after the first of the year but should reject the idea. Business is already reeling in Massachusetts from tax free online sales and a bevy of state and federal fees and regulations.