Yesterday, Reason TV attended a demonstration demanding that fast-food restaurants boost their minimum wage to $15 per hour, or a little more than double the current federal minimum wage.
Though concentrated heavily in California, fast food employees and other political operatives around the nation bombarded restaurants Thursday with their demand that the minimum wage be hiked to an absurd $15 per hour.
Obviously, these myopic rabble-rousers care nothing about the consequences of such a drastic shift. Virtually no business could withstand increasing pay for unskilled workers by more than double without massive layoffs, passing the expense on to customers, or a combination of the two.
Critical thinking, however, has never been the radical left’s forte. Instead, these protesters relied on rhetoric and an anti-capitalist worldview to carry their position in the absence of fact and reason.
While the overarching theme of this movement is disturbing enough, outrageous anecdotes surfaced throughout the day Thursday. In one case, a rally turned into a riot as streams of protesters entered a New York City McDonald’s. Once inside, the mob not only disrupted the dining experiences of paying customers; they mercilessly ridiculed the very fast food employees they were ostensibly there to support.
In a crass reference to those who cross picket lines, the protesters derisively yelled “Scab!” at workers who refused to join their ill-conceived cause.
As if West Coast protesters needed a further blow to their credibility, a woman famous solely for her inability to financially support her own promiscuity joined the effort. Sandra Fluke arrived at the site of a Los Angeles demonstration with a megaphone to amplify her shrill indictments of the free market.
She claimed that employees are subjected to “undignified treatment” due to the fast food giant’s policy of paying employees what they are worth to the company. Considering her own immoral rise to prominence, it seems Fluke should be the last person commenting on dignity.
A recent study shows that the massive automatic raises proposed by these protesters would cost almost half a million American jobs.
According to the Employment Policies Institute, this represents “a conservative estimate because it only includes employment loss among those who hold a fast food job as their primary employment.”
Of course, none of this matters to the self-centered egotists nurtured through our nation’s current entitlement culture.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo credit: The All-Nite Images (Creative Commons)
Unions want to organize fast food restaurant employees so that they will earn at least $15 an hour.
I remember earning $1 an hour in 1970 working in a college dish room, and I thought I was doing quite well. My allowance at home was $4 a week doing chores. I have a notebook that showed I earned $4 per yard I mowed and $1 per walk I shoveled in the winter. Back then, a can of soda cost only 15 cents; and occasionally, there were gas wars when gas plunged to 16 cents a gallon. One station couldn’t make enough money pumping gas, so it became a dairy store. It has been a gas station again for over 30 years.
I only paid around $450 a semester to go to college and received the BEOG, now known as a Pell Grant. It was enough to pay for my tuition and that of my sister, with enough left over for us to place in our bank accounts. Yard work paid me enough to live comfortably with my parents. The minimum wage was more than enough to meet my standard of living. The minimum wage was never intended to be what you earned for the rest of your life. It is a starting wage that will increase as your skills increase and as you get a better job.
Many people say we should pay school teachers more than professional athletes. But would sponsors pay $1000 a minute so that people could see long division being done on TV? If a TV star makes more per episode than what a family earns in a few years, it is because the network makes enough from the sponsors to pay that salary.
Energy prices have soared and forced rents to soar because as oil and gas prices climb, so do rents. I remember when rent for the apartment I live in was a little over $250 a month. Now it is around three times that much. We could have lower energy prices if we could use all that we have below our feet. But Obama said he wanted energy prices to rise before he was elected, and he is getting his way.
Let’s say the living wage for a father in a family is $20 an hour so that the wife can stay home with the children. A union carpenter might make $40 an hour, and a car mechanic might be able to charge $100 an hour to repair a car since wages are determined by the minimum wage. With the monster called inflation ready to open its mouth and devour our money after the policy of printing money based on virtually nothing ends, I foresee a day when increased wages accompany increased prices into the stratosphere. If we hadn’t had people with common sense back when Carter was President, and the inflation rate exceeded 10%, we might have had an uncontrollable inflation rate today.
If inflation forces fast food restaurants to hire workers at $30 an hour to work four hour shifts every other day so that they can avoid the Obamacare taxes, we might have $100 Big Macs. Want to add fries to your order? Pay an extra $20. And don’t splash your soda because each slosh could be worth $1. After finishing a $520 meal with your family, you drive home in your $300,000 hybrid, stop to fill your tank with $400 worth of fuel, and arrive at your $3 million cottage. You worry about taxes like the Obamacare tax that is $20,000 a month. You and your wife make a combined total of $20,000 a week and wonder how you will make ends meet. Should you take out another $3 million mortgage? With interest rates exceeding 20%, paying the monthly payment is tough on the family. You’ve imagined robbing a bank and spending years in prison where you’d live for free. But that wouldn’t be fair for the family; and besides, there is so much overcrowding due to others who can’t afford to live on the outside.
Germany once suffered from hyperinflation when the world punished it for waging war and losing in 1918. I have German postage stamps that had to be stamped with a higher value because their original value was too little. I have a stamp that was valued at 20 million marks; and back then, it would have been worth less than a penny. I’ve seen a picture of a man with a wheelbarrow of German marks he needed to pay for a loaf of bread. Many used the money for fuel until Hitler came to power. After he got done with the country, Germany was rubble.
If inflation becomes as bad as some people predict, some kids might ask their parents if it would be alright to get a job at a fast food restaurant where they are starting workers at $50 an hour for twelve hours a week of work. At least they could eat for free. But their parents tell them to wait a couple weeks because they might be paid $60 an hour and be able to bring home food from the restaurant to save on high food bills. When milk costs more per gallon than what an entire cow used to cost, every dollar you can save makes a difference. If only the minimum wage wasn’t tied to the rate of inflation, like what voters just decided in New Jersey. The inflation monster would have remained asleep if the inflation rate hadn’t been its alarm clock.
Photo credit: rob_rob2001 (Creative Commons)
One of the latest fads young people are involved with is called the Knockout Game. A group or a single person is walking down the street of some city and sees an unsuspecting person coming their way. They punch them in the face, and the victim usually falls to the sidewalk unconscious. It is dangerous because the victim isn’t expecting the punch and could land on something that could break their neck. A few of the punchers have been arrested. Often, they don’t think it is a big deal.
But President Obama has been doing his version of the Knockout Game for years. An unsuspecting America elects him and is made to think he will save it. Then he begins lowering the boom on the citizens, and America is still reeling. He said he would make creating jobs his number one priority. WHAM. He makes baling out his supporters and Wall Street his number one priority. He claims he wants students to receive the best education possible. WHAM. He shuts down the Washington, DC voucher program that allows parents in the District of Columbia to receive vouchers so they can send their kids to better schools. Maybe he feared poor students would be better than his two daughters.
He did his version of the WPA, which put so many Americans to work during the Great Depression. We are experiencing a similar economic downturn which he may have been partly responsible for since he backed the legislation that crashed our economy when he was in the Senate. But after spending hundreds of billions of dollars to create good permanent jobs, WHAM, we find out there aren’t nearly as many good permanent jobs (and some of the money hasn’t been spent yet.) Also, much of the money was never intended to be used for job creation. Money is invested in companies that go bankrupt, and unions are paid off.
Obama pushes for national health care like Progressives had been supporting for around a century. He says he wants the millions who don’t have health insurance to be covered by what is now called Obamacare. He promised we could keep our doctors and health care insurance policies if we liked them. WHAM. He lied. He said before he was elected that he wanted a single-payer national health care system, and it looks like he may get his way. He said people would save money. But he didn’t tell people that the cost savings might come at the expense of their lives. Doctors are quitting because they know the government doesn’t want to pay them in full. Hospitals are turning down Medicare and Medicaid patients because the government won’t pay all the expenses. Over $700 billion was transferred from Medicare to Obamacare. It was bad enough when Clinton took 10% of retirees’ Social Security checks in taxes in 1993, which has continued for 20 years. But with Medicare about to expire, transferring desperately needed funds into Obamacare is an enormous WHAM.
The latest WHAM comes from the Senate that decided to do away with the filibuster threat. Obama likes the idea of his nominees to the federal benches not being delayed by the Republicans filibustering his choices. The left-leaning DC federal court will now be able to go WHAM whenever it feels like it once the three recently chosen nominees become a part of the court. Will people in the district be able to exercise their Second Amendment right and carry a gun for protection? WHAM. Only the police and military will.
There may come a time in the future when protesters of the government will be arrested and, WHAM, put away for life. A preacher says something the government considers defamatory; and, WHAM, the preacher is locked up for years–and the doors of his church are padlocked. Our government trusts what the Iranians say; and, WHAM, they develop nuclear weapons in secret and receive missiles from North Korea, China, or Russia and can, WHAM, launch an attack on Israel. At least the Israeli missile defense system I will attempt to improve, if given the chance, will destroy the missiles over Syria or Jordan. But millions may die if the warheads are detonated.
When I hear Democrats say Obama doesn’t lie, I want to go, WHAM, wake up in the real world and not the Obamanation. When I hear Democrats say Obama is the greatest President, I again want to go, WHAM. We’ve lost millions of jobs that may never come back, and the real unemployment number is probably over 14%. And if it weren’t for the Fed buying bonds to prop up the stock market, WHAM, we’d have a depression.
When high unemployment causes Social Security to go belly up sooner than expected, our foreign investors decide America is too big a risk and want to redeem their bonds, our friends in the Middle East become our enemies (and our enemies take advantage of our loss of respect in the world), and over $100 trillion in unfunded mandates send our economy crashing, WHAM, this nation will be worst than a Third World Country. At least they can be bailed out. Not America. When a nation has been warned of troubles ahead like this country has been for decades, don’t be surprised if the final WHAM is the sound of the coffin lid on a nation that has expired.
This election year, millions of Americans will donate to the political candidates and initiatives of their choice at the local, state, and federal levels. But for unionized workers, union dues come out of their paychecks and go to political causes—and they aren’t consulted on where that money will go.
In July, The Wall Street Journal’s Tom McGinty and Brody Mullins published an eye-opening report that “Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought.”
They broke down the unions’ political spending from 2005 to 2011: $1.1 billion “supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions’ own coffers.”
But that was only the beginning. Add to that another $3.3 billion for political activity from “polling fees, to money spent persuading union members to vote a certain way, to bratwursts to feed Wisconsin workers protesting at the state capitol last year.” Who pays for this? The workers, McGinty and Mullins report: “Much of this kind of spending comes not from members’ contributions to a PAC but directly from unions’ dues-funded coffers.”
Despite findings that 60 percent of union members object to their dues being spent on political causes, this practice continues. Why?
Read More at blog.heritage.org. By Amy Payne.
LOS ANGELES (Official Wire) — The nation’s largest union of government workers has chosen a new leader as its members grapple with efforts around the country to weaken labor rights or cut public employee pensions and benefits.
Lee Saunders was elected president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He had been the union’s No. 2 official and becomes its first African-American president.
Saunders takes over from Gerald McEntee, the legendary leader who over 31 years built the union into a political powerhouse. Saunders says he wants to mobilize members to better promote the work that public servants do. The union has about 1.3 million active members, but has lost about 10 percent of its ranks since 2009.
Photo credit: azipaybarah (Creative Commons)
The Department of Labor classifies almost half of America’s private union pension funds as either “endangered” or “critical” because they are so grossly underfunded. Among the unions on this list are the Democrats’ favorite piggy banks: “the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the International Brothers of Electrical Workers, the Laborers International Union of Northern America, the International Association of Machinists, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the National Plumbers Union.”
On average, all private union pensions are underfunded by almost 40%. In practical terms, this means that less than 1 of every 160 private union workers has a pension plan that can actually meet its contractually required monthly payouts.
Drunk with self-delusion about the chance to create a “Socialist Worker’s Paradise” since Barack Obama beat a rather weak Republican candidate in 2008, both private and public unions have been shoveling money into Democrat campaigns around the country.
Immediately after the 2008 election, they donated heavily to try to unseat Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss in a runoff election and lost. Then in 2009, they poured millions into the campaigns of Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey, trying to win governor’s races, and lost.
By 2010, panic and desperation set in, and private unions raided every available source of money in their control – most likely including pension funds – to hold the House and Senate. They held the Senate but only because they redirected their contributions from dying Congressional Democrat campaigns and lost the House in record numbers. The SEIU put up $44 million, and the National Education Association gave the Democrats $40 million of their members’ money. No one in the media asked where this money came from, but we can guess it was from already-dwindling pension funds.
Now Team Obama is asking unions to fund the Democrat National Convention, and they are getting a cold shoulder. Just four month away from the opening gavel in the right-to-work state of North Carolina, the convention budget is short more than $16 million with no relief in sight.
Maybe private unions have bled themselves white chasing Obama’s Socialist dreams. But what is sure is that more of their members retire every day, so things get worse, not better.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath
President Barack Obama’s political advisers are pressing labor unions to contribute to the Democratic convention in September to cover a fundraising shortfall resulting from their self-imposed ban on corporate donations, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Democratic officials gave representatives of the major U.S. unions, including the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Auto Workers, a tour of the convention sites in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23 in advance of a request for donations, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss internal strategy.
The three-day convention will culminate in Obama’s re- nomination in Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 6. So far, the host committee in Charlotte is roughly halfway to its $36.6 million goal.
Four years ago, unions contributed more than $8 million to the Democratic convention in Denver, according to financial disclosure reports.
Jeff Hauser, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO, declined to comment on the new request.
Read More at bloomberg.com. By Hans Nichols.