OK, if the debate is not over whether to raise the minimum wage, but over how much, then now is the perfect time to ask the age-old question that the utopians never want to answer, which is, why not $25 per hour? Heck, why not $100 per hour; we could all be rich! You see, every single argument they advance as to why it should NOT be $100 per hour, other than “that’s ridiculous,” (whereupon you ask “WHY is it ridiculous?”) applies equally to any number below that, just to a lesser degree. Surely a minimum wage of $100 per hour would find EVERYBODY out of work or disastrous inflation on prices to match, or some combination of both. So why should $9.50 be any different other than in degree? Kids have a tough enough time finding summer or after-school jobs as it is, so my question would be, how many people does the DFL want to put out of work?
I’m sure I’ve told this story a thousand times, but a caller to a local conservative talk show said, “I’m as conservative as anybody, but I just love to see the minimum wage go up. I am in the automation business, and an increase in the minimum wage sends my business through the roof.” I’ve already seen it in Europe. Every McDonald’s you walk into, nobody takes your order; you punch what you want into the machine—it works great—and go pick it up at the counter. Now, a US firm has announced the fully automated “burger flipper” robot, that builds and cooks your burger to your order, and the only human involved is the one loading the raw food into the machine. It can make hundreds of burgers an hour and costs less than one year’s salary of the people it replaces. Raise the minimum wage, and this company will make a fortune, putting millions of people out of work. Here’s the thing. If somebody wants to pay me $5 per hour to do a job, and I am willing to take the job at $5 per hour, who does the DFL think it is telling me I have to stay unemployed?