A rising tide lifts all boats. At least, that’s what liberals in favor of raising the minimum wage want unskilled workers to believe. Reality, however, is a bit different. According to the former McDonald’s CEO, a $15 minimum wage would cause fast food chains to replace humans with self-service kiosks:
In a guest article written on the Forbes site, former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi wrote that instituting a $15 minimum wage would mean “wiping out thousands of entry-level opportunities for people without many other options.”
Arguing that McDonald’s franchisees would not be able to absorb the additional labor costs that would come with a minimum wage of $15, Rensi suggested that the restaurant instead would turn to self-service kiosks to replace some employees. Customers don’t mind the kiosks and they have been successfully implemented in Europe, he said.
Some American fast food businesses, like Sheetz, already widely “employ” self-service kiosks. How ironic would it be if the $15 minimum wage — which Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both want to enact at the federal level — ended up hurting the millions of low-skilled workers it was intended to help? As Rensi points out in his op-ed:
Over four million people in the U.S. are employed at “limited service” restaurants, a descriptor which includes companies like McDonald’s. If even one out of every four jobs was automated, that’s one million fewer job opportunities in a country where the youth unemployment rate is more than three times the overall unemployment rate.
In this case, a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats. It drowns those who can’t adapt. Hopefully, young and unskilled workers will adapt rather than force the government to build a boat for them — and drown the rest of us in the process.