On December 4th, 2013, fast food works participated in walkouts in about 100 cities across the US. Don’t worry, Americans in most markets were able to get get their fast food fix. Reports mentioned demonstrations in Washington D.C. and Detroit that managed to gather about 100 protesters. Demands included a $15.00 wage and a union.
The day after the “strike”, the following question was posed to /r/AskReddit about minimum wage:
About ~18,000 comments were posted, here are some excerpts from the top responses:
The higher the minimum wage is, the faster you will see automated fast food joints. That’s the thing about minimum wage jobs. They pay so little because there are many people who have the intelligence and skills necessary to do that kind of work. The jobs don’t take much intelligence, and the tasks are usually simple and repetitive. They are the sort of tasks that can and probably will be automated. Cranking up the cost of low-skill labor just creates more incentive for companies to invest in automation. The higher the cost of low-skill labor, the sooner you’ll see companies investing in automating those jobs.
They are dreaming. They get paid so little because they are easily replaced.
That is more than some teachers with 4 year degrees make.
Not everyone has the capacity to do skilled work. I think people who are responsible, dedicated workers even in unskilled position, should earn enough to survive in relative comfort.
Once there are fast food jobs that pay $15 per hour, more people will seek employment at fast food places.
Soon, hiring managers at fast food places will be able to select applicants that can actually pass a drug test, applicants that have graduated high school, applicants that are more competent, and are thankful for the work.
Then the uneducated, entitled people who wanted more than they were worth will find themselves out of work, because they were only worth $7-8 per hour to begin with.
A lot of people here are making similar points…But no one is addressing the real issue; These people have no other options…
“Not my problem!” I hear you say. Well yeah, I guess that’s true in a way. It makes you an asshole, but it’s kind of true. What I realize you’re saying is “I shouldn’t be penalized for this!”, “This is unfair to me!”, etc. And that’s true. But it’s not only unfair to you. It’s unfair to the entire nation. Including the people working those jobs.
If you’re really concerned about everyone getting what they are worthy of, then start thinking up a solution. I know that sounds like an impossible goal, but hey, it’s the only real solution. Trying to pin all the blame on other people and avoid responsibility for this fucked up economy doesn’t help at all. And maybe spreading the financial burden of this situation evenly will encourage us all to find a solution, rather than just going on with our lives while other people struggle in unlivable conditions.
In an effort to keep this blog apolitical, I will spare you my opinion about minimum wage laws, but it is not political to state the problem we have in the US: there is a segment of the population that is working “full time”, but is not earning enough to maintain healthy living conditions.
When you hear individuals talk about solutions to this problem, they are often slanted heavily one way or another. The top responses from reddit seem to transcend the liberal/conservative bickering. They appeal to logic and hint at the root of the problem.
If you cannot agree with my “tip-toe” analysis of reddit’s top comments, then I hope you can still appreciate what reddit offers. If you noticed, there were about ~18,000 comments posted on this thread. The reddit voting system allows us to easily see the best ideas the crowd has to offer and distill them into a small number of excerpts. It is not perfect (and I’m sure my own biases are reflected in the excerpt choices), but it is nonetheless interesting and valuable.