As a conservative it is somewhat peculiar to admit support for anything that hampers the free market, like a living wage. But I come from a family that has had more than its fair share of financial struggles that no bootstrap pulling would ease. My experience has shown that low-paying jobs are not as escapable as those rags to riches stories would have you believe. But then again, I know it’s possible to start from nothing only to gain what seems like the entire world. I do not dispute that many people have successfully pulled themselves out of seemingly impossible poverty, nor am I incapable of petulance when talking about fast-food workers who threaten to walk out unless their wages are doubled.
Where’s the beef? Fast-food workers in walkout to protest low wages
Don’t expect to have it your way today at some fast-food restaurants across the country.
Workers at the nation’s best known fast-food restaurants in seven cities across America are planning to walk off the job Monday to protest what they say are wages that are too low to live on. In a move orchestrated with the help of powerful labor unions and clergy groups, the workers plan to strike for a day to demand their wages be doubled.
The Washington Post reports that the protests will take place in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Flint, Mich., involving workers at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Some employees at stores including Dollar Tree, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret are also expected to join the protesters in several cities.
The workers are calling for wages of $15 per hour, more than double New York’s current minimum wage of $7.25…
I support good wages for good work, but I am not sympathetic to the unreasonable demands of unskilled workers. The profit margin for a franchise like McDonald’s is a measly 5.7%. The owner of any given McDonald’s franchise is likely making six figures, but bearing an incredible amount of risk. That most fast-food restaurants are owned by a single person rather than a multinational corporation is something which I fear is lost on these halfwits threatening to walk out.
Furthermore, this brings to mind something I’ve mentioned a few times before: the morality of wages. I find it unconscionable that cashiers at Wal-Mart are struggling to pay their rent while the CEO, CFO, and Vice President are sailing around on a yacht. The plain truth is that Wal-Mart could definitely afford to give each fulltime worker an extra $200-per-week – and they should do it.
Yet, it is just as unconscionable to pay burger flippers the same hourly rate as nursing assistants. The work of a fast-food employee is not very meaningful or important, not even to their respective business. Any schmuck on the street can flip a burger, but it takes a special kind of person to be a nurse or nursing assistant. The work of those in nursing is both more physically and emotionally demanding than the work of a fast-food employee, and much more impactful, meaningful.
And so, curiously, it is the morality of wages which obliges me to reject socialism as totally immoral. The message that everyone is equally important to society is pure nonsense, and we all know it. So instead of picketing, I advise these unskilled workers to use whatever tools may be at their disposal to better themselves.