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Momentum Machine's burger-making Alpha Machine
Fast food layoffs could leave nearly 1 in 100 Americans unemployed

Could the worker of the future be robots?  And what will that mean for society?

I. Rise of the Machines (Year 2062 Edition)

That question has been asked since humans first started getting replaced by machines in the manufacturing industry.  In the 1960s the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Jetsons suggested in the year 2062 (100 years in the future) mankind would fly to work in hovercars and robots would do much of mankind's dirty work, including virtually all manufacturing and service jobs.

The cartoon handled this serious possibility with humor and grace.  And it delivered a rather optimistic vision in which mankind seemed to be enjoying a more leisurely life with a lighter workload thanks to robotic service industry workers, like The Jetson's live-in maid, Rosie the Robot.



Now The Jetsons is looking prescient.  While the flying cars bit seems a bit unlikely, the possibility of robotic service workers finally appears to be gaining traction after looking highly improbable for decades.  For years the possibility had been dismissed as many felt that the service industry would always require a human touch.

II. Battle Between Corporatism and Collectivism Heats Up

Behind the push to replace mankind with machines is a clash between corporatism and collectivism in America -- and the rest of the world as well.

Last week, a series of protests targeted McDonald's Corp. (MCD) -- America's largest and most profitable fast food company.  The protests aimed to highlight inequity of one of America's most profitable and public facing corporate sectors.  Activists and academics alike warn this issue not only affects the workers, but all Americans.

Police vs. protesters
Police in riot gear face off against fast food workers and their allies. [Image Source: AP]

The movement's backers include: Last Thursday, ahead of the annual McDonald's shareholder meeting at the company's headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., 32 buses arrived carrying an estimated 2,000 protesters (according to most media sources; 1,000-1,500 according to a handful of more conservative sources).

The protesters were met by a batallion of uniformed police officers in riot gear.  The cops ordered the protesters to leave, but many refused by praying, speaking, and chanting in solidarity.  In total 139 were arrested, including  SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Rabbi Rosen, Rev. Simon, and Pastor Jakes.  Of those arrested, 36 were "community, clergy, and labor leaders" according to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.  Some 103 other protesters were arrested, which various sources described as either employees of McDonald's or other fast food chains.

McDonald's Police Force
Police in riot gear protect McDonald's corporate headquarters. [Image Source: Getty Images]

Of the protesters an estimated 325 were McDonald's employees in uniform.  All of the arrested peaceful protesters were detained and charged with trespassing.

III. Robotization Could Eliminate Over 1 in 100 American Jobs

The protest has drawn international attention. One of the most interesting -- and controversial -- storylines to emerge following those clashes has been the suggestion that if employees push fast food chains too hard for higher wages, they will push back -- by replacing employees with robots.

As the costs of human labor has risen, experts now mostly agree that it's highly likely that in the next several decades human workers in the low-paying end of the service industry -- jobs such as fast food register workers, retail chain workers, low-level kitchen staff, taxicab drivers, and waitstaff -- will be replaced by robots.

McDonald's
Soon McDonald's could replace most of its low-wage staff with robots. [Image Source: Getty Images]

That shift could displace millions of workers, including 3.7 million workers that are expected to be employed in America's fast food industry this year, according to Statista.  That's nearly 1.2 percent of Americans, who would be left scrambling to find a new job.

The move could be highly disruptive given that fast food is far from a "teen job", as some have suggested.  The median age of a fast food worker in America today is 29.  In fact, 36.4 percent of fast-food employees in the U.S. are ages 26-54.

Fast food statistics
America's fast food workforce is dominated by adult workers. [Image Source: AOL]

Another common misconception is that the average fast food worker is a minority.  In reality, 59 percent of fast food workers are white, 16.3 percent are black, and 18.4 percent are Hispanic.  These numbers fall nearly in line with the U.S. Census Bureau's estimates of population by race, indicating that the color of the workers' skin has little to do with whether they are working in the U.S. fast food business.

IV. Push for Bots Mirrors Foxconn's Struggles in China

The fast-food industry's push for robotization mirrors that of the Chinese manufacturing industry, which is dealing with similar clashes with its workforce.

China's high-tech manufacturing sector was beloved by supporters of global corporatism, particularly in the U.S.  But it was also the site of a crucial human rights battle over the past several years after employees -- who at times were literally worked to death -- began to demand better pay.

High-tech manufacturing wasn't the lowest paying sector in China.  But it was arguably one of the most inequitable in terms of the cut of revenue received by low-level employees.  Hence it fast became the top target in the growing conflict between globalism and collectivism in the Asian nation, disrupting U.S. corporate interests such as Apple, Inc. (AAPL).

The highest profile target of the conflict was China's top gadget manufacturer -- Foxconn.  Foxconn's parent company, Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Comp., Ltd. (TPE:2317), had little tolerance with its disgruntled workers. However, it was forced to address their concerns after it suffered a series of labor disputes punctuated by ugly incidents in which workers distraught at their low wages committed suicide in order to try to earn death benefits for the families.

foxconn employees
Beleagured Foxconn employees work to manufacture gadgets.
[Image Source: Southern China Weekly]

Foxcon tried a number of tactics to placate its employees without suffering a financial impact including installing anti-suicide nets and encouraging employees to sign binding contracts in which they agreed not to kill themselves for benefits.  One of its most controversial ideas was that it might look to replace employees with robots.  The plan was somewhat ironic, given that one key complaint of employees -- aside from low wages -- was that the job they did was overly robotic and monotonous.

Foxconn has continued to experiment with the concept, most recently looking to collaborate with Google Inc.'s (GOOG) burgeoning robotics efforts.  But in most cases they concluded that for most functions it would be prohibitively expensive at present, so they begrudgingly agree to pay their workers slightly highly wages, or in some cases moved workers to lower wage locations, such as Vietnam.

Now the U.S. is looking at a similar discussion.  

V. Record Profits Don't Come With a Supersized Paycheck for Most

The protests come at a time when McDonald's and its peers are riding on record highs.

McDonald's 2013 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission showed its profits rising 2 percent to $5.586B USD, its highest level in at least five years.  McDonald's biggest competitor -- Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW) -- earned $233.7M USD, according to its 10-K.  The Wendy's Comp. (WED) made a modest $45.5M USD.  Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) -- which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- pocketed a cool $1.09B USD.

There's some common ground between all of these fast-food franchise chains.  They all stand accused of shorting employees even as they have made record profits.

Currently the minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 USD/hour.  Recent reports indicate that the average wage of a fast food worker is just above that at $8.69 USD/hour.  Other reports have suggested, more specifically, that McDonald has a mean wage of $8.83 USD/hour and a median wage of around $9.15 USD/hour.
Minimum wage
Gains are growing for institutional investors, but not for hourly employees.

Also, 70 percent of McDonald's employees are only allowed to work part-time (typically around 20 hours a week) [source].  A study published by Demos.org suggests:

An employee in a fast food restaurant earning the average wage for the average hours brings home less than $12,000 per year.

An analysis piece by Market Realist digs into this a little bit deeper, writing:

Based on its most recent 2012 financial filings, McDonald’s had 440,000 employees directly underneath its corporation. While its website says it has 1.8 million employees, these include employees that are hired by the brand, which include franchisees and the McDonald’s company itself. With an annual payroll and employee benefit expense of about 4.7 billion for employees in McDonald’s company-owned restaurants, each employee will receive just $10,681 per year in salary, which is equivalent to $5.14 per hour for each employee if each worker works for 40 hours per week (full-time) for 50 weeks in a year.

That analysis indicates the average so-called "front-line" worker (who interacts with customers at restaurants) at McDonalds is below poverty level, even for a one person household.  That makes sense, given that 52 percent of McDonald's employees are on some form of federal assistance.

VI. Who's Profiting? Institutional Investors

Despite all the controversy, one thing is for sure -- McDonald's is a popular business with a massive footprint worldwide.  Last year McDonald's served 68 million customers worldwide daily at its 35,000+ restaurants in 119 countires, according to its 2013 10-K filing.

In order to understand who is profiting and who is suffering, one must examine McDonald's franchising model, which essentially divides the public entity into three groups -- shareholders/corporate, franchise owners, and the employees working at franchises.

McDonald's monetizes in one of two ways.  First, it directly owns roughly 19 percent of the McDonald's branded restaurants.  Second, of the 81 percent of remaining franchisee-owned locations, it charges a monthly fee (currently around 4 percent of revenue) and monthly rent on the land (typically the corporation owns the land, the owner is paying a mortgage on a restaurant).

Today only about a third of McDonald's revenue (31 percent, to be precise) comes from its home country.  While McDonald's has strong presences in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan, it's seen some of its strongest growth in recent years in corruption-prone regions such as China and Russia.  In Russia, it owns most of its franchises, which it says has been salvaging its European revenue stream.

Traditionally, being a McDonald's franchise owner was a ticket to wealth.  But in recent years McDonald's has been pushing franchise owners harder with bigger fees and higher standards.  It can afford to do so, as its success continues to attract a long line of eager candidates.

But franchisees have in turn responded by fighting higher wages among their employees.  In short, this three-way battle pits the workers, franchises, and corporate in a battle against each other.

For corporate, pure profit is at stake.  An estimated 65 percent of McDonald's shareholders are large institutional shareholders -- many of which are owned or controled by America's wealthiest hundredth of a percent.  In 2013 McDonald's paid out $1.810M USD in stock repurchasing (from the 10-K) and $3.115B USD in dividends to shareholders.  So small shareholders pocketed around $1.7B USD, while some of America's wealthiest investors pocketed around $3.2B USD.

VII. Independent Franchisees Also Rewarded, but Are at a Disadvantage Tax-Wise Versus Ultra-Wealthy

So what about the franchisees?  Last year the average franchisee was estimated to make $153,900, if you peruse the numbers from Janney Capital Markets (the investment wing of Philadelphia, Penn.-based Janney Montgomery Scott LLC).  Here comes a twist -- roughly 20 percent of franchises (according to Calvert Investments, who participates in such investing) are owned by large institutional shareholders.

What's more, thanks to state tax laws, the insitutional franchisees pay an average tax rate of 8 percent (according to the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA)) versus a tax rate for individual tax payers (treated as income) which tops out at 39.6 percent.  Of course that's a bit high.  Studies have suggested that the highest brackets of tax payers (traditionally making $250,000+ USD) paid an effective rate of 20 percent -- half of what they "officially" might pay, but still roughly 2.5 times what the insitutional investors pay.

McDonalds
McDonald's franchise owners can make decent profits, but are at an inherent taxation advantage versus institutional investors, given the inequitable tax code.

So an insitutional investor will make roughly $141,600 USD per franchise, where a franchise owner $122,700 USD per franchise, based on the information/estimates from Janney Capital and the FTA.

Entrepeneur estimates that there are 12,678 McDonald's franchises in the U.S.  It also states that roughly 88 percent of frachisees own multiple units.  So somewhere in the 3,500-5,000 range would be a fair estimates of the total number of franchisee owners (given the multiple franchise figures).

McDonald's New Zealand Managing Director Mark Hawthorne states:

There are two things people don't understand about McDonald's: first, most of our franchisees have worked their way up from crew and second, you don't have to be a multi-millionaire before you can become a franchisee.  We ask for a minimal fee - currently $75,000 - which in the context of a 20-year franchise agreement and the financials involved is quite minor. The company owns the land and the building, so the franchisee only has to be able to fund the equipment package. The cost of fitting out a new restaurant now is about $1.4 million, which means that ideally we are looking for people with equity from $500,000 to $2 million.

The reason we franchise is not because we need our franchisees' money. It's because we think franchising offers us a competitive advantage in the way the restaurants are operated, especially in the regions. A local couple will push the brand in their market at levels we'd get nowhere near, but only if they're on the front line themselves, working the business hard. So basically we're looking for people who have their entire skin in the game, not people with millions using McDonald's as an investment vehicle.

But despite his insistence that McDonalds franchises are not an "investment vehicle", they're fast growing into that as insistutional owned franchises have been vastly outpacing independent franchises in terms of growth.  That rapid growth has been driven, in part thanks to America's tax code -- as usual -- favoring the ultra-wealthy over the upper middle-class.

VIII. The Middle Management

At last count there were roughly 14,200 McDonald's restaurants in the U.S.

To gauge the workforce's pay or lack thereof, it's important next to turn to the well-known management structure.  Typically a franchise owner (or corporate) employs three management level ("career") employees, plus an entry-level management employee.

The top of these is a restaurant manager who can make between $20,000 and 92,000 USD working "full time" (40 hours, at least, per week, officially, 50 weeks per year).  The average manager makes around $45,000 USD -- according to the site GlassCeiling.

McDonald's typically has two full-time assistant managers -- a so-called "first" and "second" assistant manager.  The First Assistant Manager tends to handle more crucial decisions, such as firing and hiring employees, whereas the Second Manager handles more of the day-to-day operations.  The first manager typically makes between $27,000 and 50,000 USD a year, with an average salary of $35,000 USD.  The second manager typically makes between $24,000 and 35,000 USD a year, with an average salary of $29,000 USD.  Manager trainees (if applicable) typically make around $15,000 USD.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) defines poverty in most states as:

2014 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES
AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Persons in family/household Poverty guideline
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,060 for each additional person.
1 $11,670
2 15,730
3 19,790
4 23,850
5 27,910
6 31,970
7 36,030
8 40,090


Most McDonald's managers (aside trainee) presumably are above poverty level.  Still McDonald's encourages its managers to apply for welfare if they can, the first hint of just how low wages -- even among the management -- at the typical McDonald's franchise are.

So outside of corporate offices, at its actual restaurants, McDonalds hires as many as 50,000-60,000 employees in the U.S. who it pays above poverty level wages.  An official webpage seemingly confirms this writing that of the company's 860,000+ employees at U.S. franchises, 6.1 percent are in "management and support staff positions."  So that works out to around 52,500 employee managers -- about what our quick and dirty calculation yielded.

VIII. The Toiling Masses

As mentioned, the majority of McDonald's employees are part-time workers, making anywhere from minimum wage to a dollar or two above it.

An estimated 32 percent of McDonald's U.S. employees are in college or are teenagers.  But the majority -- 68 percent -- are working adults who aren't in college.  And 26 percent in fact are parents raising children.

The low wages are costing all Americans -- not just those who work at McDonald's.

A recent study funded by Fast Food Forward, performed by economist Professor Sylvia Allegretto and others looked at the impact of fast food corporations on taxpayer-funded public assistance.  Sponsored by the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the researchers found that one in five families with a member in the fast food industry live in poverty

The dispute is drawing greater criticism of the fast food industry at large, particularly in the U.S.  In the U.S., restaurant and food service workers far and away are the most dependent on public assistance.  

An estimated 52 percent of so-called "front line" workers -- workers who interact with humans -- are on public assistance.  On average America as a whole sees 25 percent of employees on public assistance, so this is about twice the average.  A recent report by The Huffington Post citing data from Reuters and the National Employment Law Project says that of America's top fast food chains, employees collect nearly $3.8B in public assistance from their fellow taxpayers.
Fast food public assistance

According to the study by Prof. Allegretto's team, the entire fast food industry accounts for roughly $7B USD in taxpayer funded assistance.  The most common forms of public assistance are Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program -- which cumulatively stack up to around $4B USD.  The remaining $3B USD comes in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

The authors write:

Public benefits receipt is the rule, rather than the exception, for this workforce.

Of course the situation is complicated by the fact that fast food productivity is typically quite low, according to the study by the neoconservative Heritage Foundation based on a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) .

Fast food productivity

And while many employees are forced to work part-time as a cost cutting measure, some do so willingly as they don't want to work the extra hours.

On the flip side, a fresh federal lawsuit filed earlier this year by 27 plaintiffs at seven McDonald's franchise seeking class action status accuses the chain of shorting them on wages and overtime, violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  

McDonald's say its "is reviewing" the lawsuit filed on the employees' behalf, and claims it takes employee rights seriously.  Since 1985 the U.S. Labor Department has found McDonald's in violation of federal labor laws 300 times, forcing it to pay back wages.

So it's hard to accurately gauge employee productivity in an unbiased section, when McDonald's and other top fast food companies have repeatedly been caught forcing employees to work extra hours without pay and shorting them overtime pay.

IX. The Man at the Top

Acknowledging the protesters outside, the top employee of the corporate McDonald's Donald Thompson reportedly remarked to shareholders:

I know we have people outside.  I think that McDonald’s provides more opportunity than any other company … We continue to believe that we pay fair and competitive wages.  [McDonald's leads to] real careers.  McDonald’s has done that throughout time, and will continue to do that.

Regarding accusations that his company was contributing to America's obesity epidemic via predatory marketing to children, he blasted that claim, citing the 1.1 billion apple slices Apple had sold -- primarily to children -- since that healthy option was introduced.  He remarked:

We are not predatory. It’s the truth.  [Our marketing is] not intended to be anything other than fun for kids.  We are people. We do have values at McDonald's. We are parents.  My parents eat McDonald’s and they are here today – they are quite healthy.

The CEO is under fire, in part, over how much he's making.  At last week's meeting, despite the protests shareholders approved a $9.5M USD pay package for Mr. Thompson in his first year as CEO.  And that's just salary -- the actual pay is much higher once stock options and other perks are factored in.  In 2012, the year Mr. Thompson became CEO, he "only" made $1.1M USD in salary, but was paid $12.9M USD in total compensation, factoring in bonuses and stock options.

A tax loophole allows corporations like McDonalds to directly deduct performance pay off their earnings, to make themselves look less profitable than they are.  So it's in McDonald's best interest to keep the salary low and the performance bonus high.  Retired McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner and Mr. Thompson -- who split the CEO spot in 2012, cumulatively made $11.6M USD in bonuses according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.
Fast food CEO taxy breaks

This year Mr. Thompson should make over $20M USD between salary and bonuses.  Demos.org estimates in their study that he is making 2,000 times the average fast food worrkers salary.

By comparison a retail sector CEO, on average makes 304 times the wage of an average employee, according to the study by Demos.org.  In construction the CEO to average worker pay ratio is only 93.  This has largely arisen in the past decade.  Since 2008 wages for fast food CEOs has skyrocketed, thanks in fact that the companies can write of this corporate handout.
Fast food CEO wages
Wages of fast food CEOs are among the most inflated of any business sector, with an average multiple over 1,200. [Image Source: Demos.org]

Meanwhile wages remain low for the average worker.

The disparity is creating a headache in some ways for shareholders.  While most of the money is still going to large institutional investors and smaller investors (e.g. franchise owners), the single massive salary is highlight the deeper issues of inequity in this industry that thrives on paying its unskilled workforce sub-poverty level wages.

X. I, Robot

McDonald's will likely eventually be forced by growing unrest to make a tough choice on whether to give in to worker demands. But it doesn't necessarily have to give in as it has a trump card of sorts; an alternative to $15 USD/hour wages -- automation.

Researchers at the University of Oxford's Martin School of Business published a widely cited paper, which uses simulations of current employment and automation trends to suggest there is a 92 percent chance employees in service jobs will be replaced with robots in the next few years.

That's not hard to believe given the inventions that are coming to the market.  San Francisco, Calif.-based startup Momentum Machines is among the disruptive technologists aiming to come up with robots capable of creating common fast-food items with minimum human intervention.

Momentum Machines
The Alpha Machine burger maker uses tubes stocked with common condiments to create its customer burgers.

Its "Alpha Machine" is a 24-square foot burger maker, which roasts burgers, chops condiments, and toasts buns, all without a single human hand (other than to load the ingredients).  It can churn out 360 burgers an hour, all without ever whining about how it's unhappy with its poverty-level wages.

Burger machine
The result may be cheaper and more appetizing than a Big Mac.

Comments the company on a sales page:

With our technology, a restaurant can offer gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices. Our alpha machine frees up all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant.  It does everything employees can do except better.

A similar startup is the Burrito Box.  While Momentum Machines is pitching the Alpha Machine to large fast food chains, Burrito Box's owners are selling it directly to gas stations.  There are real burrito boxes in the wild, selling premium burritos for $3 USD plus tax.  That's a little more than YUM! Brands' Taco Bell and unlike Taco Bell you can't customize your order.  But it provides nice convenience on the run and may just be taste of things to come.

Burrito Box

As robots like the Burrito Box and Alpha Machine increase in production volume and become more refined, within a decade or two they should be able to to do most functions currently produced by cookstaff at a fast food chain.

XI. Robotic Kiosks

And on the front end, robotic ordering kiosks are allowing customers to order and pay for their meals faster and more accurately than the traditional model of relying on a fleshy human working the cash register.

Panera Bread Comp. (PNRA) CEO Ron Shaich supports raising the minimum wage, but has used robotic replacements of cash register employees as a means to cut costs.  The company announced earlier this year that it would be testing a system designed to reduce its register count by 1-2 registers (leaving typically 1 or 2 remaining registers, depending on the store size).  The replacement would be eight robotic kiosks.

Panera kiosks
Panera's new kiosks

The sandwich-bread-and-soup fast food chain says it will spend $42M USD on the technology and hopes to have it deployed to all 1,600 stores by 2016.  Judging by the kinds of media reactions we've seen thus far, the program will be controversial.

But Mr. Shaich insists it's not about firing or laying off humans.  He says the new kiosks will improve quality, stating:

The dirty little secret in the food industry is one in seven orders is wrong.  We’re one in ten, a little better than average. Half of those inaccuracies happen during order input.

He points out that employees will still man at least one register and make the food.  Still, many view it as a step towards doing away with the pesky humans.

DineEquity, Inc. (DIN) -- owner of the IHOP and Applebee's restaurant chains -- is testing similar ordering kiosks for appetizers at its Applebee's restaurants.  Currently the kiosks operate in a support role and do not fully replace the waitstaff.

Applebee's kiosk

McDonald's Europe President Steve Easterbrook is currently pursuing a similar bold rollout of automated ordering, with a planned 7,000 touch-screen kiosks across France.  While just a test of sorts, the system -- like Panera's -- will examine whether it is feasible to use current automation to eliminate cash register staff.  While humans would still need to linger around as backups if the software fails, robotic cashiers would ostensibly lead to less theft, less errors in orders, and less wage complaints.

McDonald's kiosk
A robotic ordering kiosk is seen here at a French McDonald's branch.

Between the robotic cooks and the robotic cashiers, restaurant payrolls could be dramatically slashed via automation, as the only employees needed would be humans to perform maintenance, loading of ingredients into cooking machines and employees to provide customer service in the event of errors.

In other words fast food could see a similar shift in numbers and roles of humans as the auto manufacturing industry saw in the 1960s and 1970s.  The first employees to go, of course, would be those manning the lowest-paid, easiest positions.  That means that McDonald's -- the hotbed of the wage debate -- could become the proving ground for robotic fast food.

The key question is when to roll out these solutions.  While some workers would rather never see them, clearly they're coming.  Their arrival will largely be dictated by how long human employees can deliver superior earnings to the machines.  Hence, having discussed the possibility of automation; the financial factors putting pressure on corporations to raise wages or automate; and, lastly, what automation has occurred, we must finally turn to the one thing we have not yet looked at -- what it would cost to give in to worker demands and not automate.

XII.  An Alternative to Premature Automation -- The Australian Answer

A major danger facing not only McDonald's but the entire U.S. economy is the risk of premature automation as a means of ducking the minimum wage debate.

At its heart the minimum wage debate boils down largely to problems created by America's inequitable tax code, which more so than any other factor favors large, established insitutional investors, killing meritocracy by percentages and degrees.  And unfortunately that problem isn't being fixed anytime soon.

On the flip side there are common sense solutions that could be adopted to allow the market to bide its time, easing the pain of the transitition to robotic service workers.  One such solution comes from the "Land Down Under", as The Atlantic notes.
Big Mac vs. wages
[Image Source: The Atlantic]

In Australia, the minimum wage for adults is $15.30 USD/hour, while 16- and 17-year-old workers are allowed to be paid only $8 USD/hour.  The result is seemingly positive.  In Australia, positions at McDonald's really are typically a teenage job, although a smaller portion of adults to still fill the ranks, largely populating low-level managerial positions like the role of shift leader.

The result is a very subtle rise in prices -- 6 cents to 70 cents extra for a Big Mac, according to data from The Economist.  But a 1 to 17 percent rise in prices in order to get a roughly the wage doubling that employees are demanding in the U.S.

That's similar to a much ridiculed paper by University of Kansas undergraudate student Arnobio Morelix who created a firestorm of controversy when he suggested wages could be doubled in the U.S. by increasing Big Mac costs by $0.68 USD.  The fault wasn't so much Mr. Morelix's.  He did an admirable job in the study for an undergraduate college-level business student.  But his paper had some flaws and given the hype it received from The Huffington Post and other outlets, many complained the paper had injected dangerous misinformation into the already volatile wages debate.

Indeed the methodology of Mr. Morelix's paper was very flawed, failing to account for the franchise business model and balance between profit preservation and competition.  Subsquent analyses suggested a price point of between $1.25-5.25 USD more per burger were themselves potentially flawed, as well.  That estimate came courtesy of the Employment Policies Institute -- a group opposed to increasing the minimum wage, which owns the coveted domain "minimumwage.com".  Still other experts argued it would cost nothing at all, given the highly competitive nature of the market.

The debate remains ongoing, but if there's one take home it's that we don't really know what the change would be, even if we perform a much more complex and comprehensive estimate that Mr. Morelix's work.

But the answer that the price increase would eventually come to almost nothing is probably the closest to being right, if a bit off.  Mr. Morelix's numbers likely accidentally coincide with an early jump in price amid rising labor costs.  According to July 2013 figures from The Economist's Big Mac index, the price per Big Mac burger on average was:
  • Australia: $4.47 USD
  • Europe: $4.96 USD
  • America: $4.62 USD
That's an eye opener.

It shows while Europe's move of raising the minimum wage has backfired somewhat via higher prices and the replacement of employees with kiosk robotic order-takers in France, that there was a better solution.  The solution appears to be to adopt a split wage with a higher wage for adults and lower for teens.  As a result, in Australia not only are teenage jobs thriving (while teens still enjoy wages similar to the U.S.), but adults are now no longer paid at poverty levels.

XIII. Automation Won't Fix America's Social Problems, But Rushed Automation Could Damage the Economy

It's a great solution, but unfortunately no one seems to be taking note.

President Obama has suggested that he supports a bill sponsored by Senate Democrats, which would move the needle on the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 USD/hour -- an increase of nearly $3 USD/hour.  California has already passed a law requiring wages of $10 USD/hour by 2016.

Some Republicans even agree.  President Obama's 2012 Republican presidential race rival, former Massachusetts governor Willard Mitt Romney told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program:

I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage.  I think we ought to raise it. Because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay.

If you're going talk to the talk about being for the middle-class working person, if we have a minimum wage, it should be reasonably adjusted from time to time.  For all the Republicans who come on and talk about, you know, 'We’re for the blue-collar worker, we’re for the working person,' there are some basic things that we should be for.



Historically the U.S. minimum wage has seemed to track with prosperity.  The first permanent minimum wage was put in place by Congress with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (following a prior law being deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court), the prescribed amount was $0.25 USD/hr -- $4.20 USD/hour in 2014 dollars.  But that was in a post-Great Depression U.S.

By 1968 the wage was increased to $1.60 USD/hour -- $10.90 USD in 2014 dollars.  If linear growth continued (as economic growth of the U.S. did) that would have produced a spectacular wage of around $28.20 USD/hour by 1998.  Instead the minimum wage was froze in 1981 $3.35 USD/hour ($8.74 USD in 2014 dollars), a freeze which lasted until 1990 (at which time the wage was $6.08 USD) in modern dollars.

Some helpful folks have graphed the minimum wage versus inflation and the results are pretty interesting:

Minimum Wage
U.S. minimum wages, inflation adjusted [Image Source: Financial Ramblings]

Still more interesting is the graph if you factor in the consumer price index (which provides a more accurate estimate of actual buying power than just inflation adjustment):

Minimum Wage
The minimum wage, adjusted to buying power has been steadily declining since 1968.
[Image Source: RaiseTheMinimumWage.com]

Both results suggest that the minimum wage is relatively low at present.  But neither suggests that doubling the minimum wage is a practical possibility.

XIV. The Likely Results (Hint: It's Bad)

But those are just the U.S. results.  The Australian success story suggests that you can have your doubled wages and eat your Big Mac too -- if you get a bit smarter and suggest a lower pay rate for teenage workers.  It certainly sounds like a no-brainer, but the great minds of Congress appear oblivious to this possibility.

As a result, either wages will go up or public unrest will increase.  Either way the issue will be unnecessarily destructive for all parties involved.  Under pressure fast food companies will likely move more quickly to adopt automation in an attempt to avoid the issue.

But in the process they will likely face fresh outrage from the current generation of workers.  And the unemployment that will result will likely create serious structural issues for the U.S. economy.

The key issue is that unless the U.S. can solve the flaws in its education system and welfare system that have caused so many adults to enter such a low paying position in the first place, we'll arrive at a scenario where corporate fast food has preserved its profit by laying off most humans in lieu of machines.  But now there will be more workers competing for less remaining jobs and less public buying power.  As other service sectors eye similar solutions, there's a great danger of jumping too quickly to automation without first creating high-tech jobs.

McDonald's union protesters
McDonald's and its workers are on a collision course. [Image Source: AP]

You can't fight change, as was previously stated.  These changes would come sooner or later.  But it remains to be seen whether high-tech jobs can be created in time -- or arise in the eleventh hour, perhaps -- which can preserve buying power if the fast food becomes the first major service sector to phase out humans beings for robotic service workers and a lingering skeleton crew of skilled humans to service those machines.

The problem -- and potential solutions -- lies in the inequity just not in the pay disparity between McDonald's CEO and workers, to a great extent.  Rather, the most offensive forms of inequity lie in the unequal taxation when it comes to CEO bonuses and higher taxation on indepenent franchisee income, versus taxation of large institutional investors via franchise profits and dividends/stock repurchasing (capital gains).  In other words, it's not just the rich guy versus the poor guy that's the issue at hand.  It's also an issue of the super rich guy (insitutional investors) versus the somewhat rich guy (independent franchise owners) that's driving the problem.

McDonald's transformer robots
[Image Source: Best of the 80s]

That gets to the heart of the issue -- and what could ultimately leading to a problem plagued campaign of premature automation.  The core problem, is simple -- America's inequitable tax code.

Adopting Australia's strategy to wage increases won't fix the tax code.  But it could be the ticket to preventing the situation from further deterioriating if no fix is in sight -- which appears to be the case in America's current political atmosphere.


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The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 6:10:41 PM , Rating: 5
People who work in fast-food, the absolute bottom of the barrel in the food service industry, protesting over wages and benefits and seriously believing they're worth $15 per hour.

McDonald's is supposed to be a stepping stone or, at worst, a necessity in hard times. Flipping burgers and quipping "would you like fries with that?" should not be career goals.




RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By KCjoker on 5/27/2014 6:27:27 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly, what's worse is half the time they can't even get your order correct. The sooner robots can perform these jobs the better IMO. If a fast food worker makes $15 an hour then every other job's pay will have to rise which will put them right back at the bottom. For example say a bank branch manager makes $15-20 an hour now.....you're telling me they should make roughly the same as a fast food worker? no way


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 7:51:56 PM , Rating: 1
The last time I went to McDonald's, I honestly felt ripped off.

You can get way better quality of food for the same money pretty much anywhere else. And they'll actually get your order right.

I say bring on the robots.

And seriously, $15?? We have people with college degrees having to start out for less money than that at REAL jobs. Just...no. Hell if they deserve $15 an hour, I need $100!

I would say they can eat sh*t, but since they probably get employee meals, they already have :P


By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 2:12:48 PM , Rating: 4
We just had lunch brought into the office today from Honeybaked Ham. I didn't even know they did food food, I just stupidly assumed that's where people went to buy whole hams lol.

Anyway I had a delightful hand-prepared ham and bacon ranch sandwich on fresh grain bread. With a bag of chips, side of potato salad, and a cookie. Hell they even threw in a mint.

I noticed on their menu that combo cost $9 for anyone off the street. $9!!!

So yeah, for McDonalds money you can get some real quality meals out there if you know where to look. I honestly think this country could do without everyone eating that swill anyway.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Da W on 5/28/2014 9:02:30 AM , Rating: 3
Problem is bigger than McDonald's.

What do yiou do with tens of millions of unskilled workers? Especially if education is expensive?
We can't all be iPhone designers.
Some people are gonna be left off by the system.
We let them die?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By xti on 5/28/14, Rating: 0
RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By slow_excellence on 5/28/2014 10:40:02 AM , Rating: 5
I just want to point out the fact that it's not always this simple. My parents both had jobs that put them into the middle class wage category. With my 3.9 GPA I only received a $100 scholarship. I was automatically disqualified for most of the others because I was white and my parents gross income was "sufficient" to pay my way through college. Unfortunately they didn't factor in my parents still paying off over $100k in college loans as well as my father unofficially disowning me from the family, so I was getting no financial assistance there. That being said, there are other ways to go about getting money to pay for an education so its not impossible. Scholarships are easiest to get if you're a black/hispanic/asian/child prodigy IMO.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Apone on 5/28/14, Rating: -1
RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Dr of crap on 5/28/14, Rating: -1
RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Apone on 5/28/2014 1:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
@ Dr of crap

You completely missed my point. My argument wasn't about assimilation (which I've done since immigrating to the States in the mid-80's with my family). It's about competition. My original point to slow_excellence was referencing how tough it is to compete against caucasian candidates for work. (Because his point was that minorities had it easier when it comes to financing education)

If you were a hiring manager and had two candidates who both went to the same school, same major, same GPA, same amount of work experience, but candidate A was named John Smith and spoke perfect English while Candidate B was named Sarawakian Bumiputra who also spoke perfect English but with a thick Malaysian accent, who would you be naturally inclined to select?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Manch on 5/28/2014 3:22:43 PM , Rating: 3
Well if you speak it with a thick malaysian accent then it's not perfect.

All things being equal, it would be who did better on the interview. Part of that would me being able to understand them. An accent is not a huge factor. How they conduct themselves in the interview would be key.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Apone on 5/28/2014 3:45:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Well if you speak it with a thick malaysian accent then it's not perfect.


By perfect, I meant English is spoken eloquently, articulated, with correct grammar and punctuation.

quote:
All things being equal, it would be who did better on the interview. Part of that would me being able to understand them. An accent is not a huge factor. How they conduct themselves in the interview would be key.


So then if you were a hiring manager, which candidate would you naturally be inclined to select during the preliminary interview process? (Before any face to face dialogue has started)


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Manch on 5/29/2014 4:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
Well if their resumes are equal then there is nothing to differentiate them until I actually talk to them.

Lets say after I speak to them and nothing sets them apart from each other. I would pick the one willing to take less money.

Even people in the states have regional accents, so as long as they are intelligible then it's a non issue.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Apone on 5/29/2014 12:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
@ Manch

You're not understanding me. Forget about "wowing" the hiring manager during the actual interview and which candidate will take less money, I'm talking about the hiring process itself. By default, minorities need to do extra prep work to ensure we get the same work opportunities as caucasian American candidates (e.g. learning two languages, two cultures, more education, etc.). This goes back to my earlier point about why Asian Americans push themselves extra hard academically and professionally.

So for example, if candidate B (Sarawakian Bumiputra who speaks English with a thick Malaysian accent) has an MBA and a PMP certification, by default his application already looks a little bit better than candidate A (John Smith who just has a B.S. in Management and speaks English accent-free) going into the interview.

(But how each candidate performs in the actual interview is a completely different story)

You can't tell me that reading a surname that's difficult (or almost impossible) to pronounce or meeting a candidate with a thick, heavy accent doesn't create a psychological ding in that candidate's chance of getting hired (it's human nature so I'm not holding that against you).


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 2:10:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
By default, minorities need to do extra prep work to ensure we get the same work opportunities as caucasian American candidates


It's so depressing people are still ignorant enough to believe that.

quote:
This goes back to my earlier point about why Asian Americans push themselves extra hard academically and professionally.


Because...what, they aren't "white" enough?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Apone on 5/29/2014 2:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's so depressing people are still ignorant enough to believe that.


That might have been worded inaccurately. I believe what I meant to say was that minorities have to do extra prep work to make the cut among the pool of candidates being considered for a job.

As a first generation, foreign-born U.S. citizen (Gen X'r) who has experienced it first-hand, I assure you it's the brutal truth.

quote:
Because...what, they aren't "white" enough?


Who says Asian Americans are trying to be white? They're not trying to be like anyone else; all I'm saying is that they work extra hard when it comes to competing in the academic and work arena.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 3:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well it sounded as if you were basically accusing employers and HR departments of being racists when it comes to hiring.

quote:
I believe what I meant to say was that minorities have to do extra prep work to make the cut among the pool of candidates being considered for a job.


Why do you believe that's still the case though? That's what I'm trying to get at.


By Apone on 5/29/2014 6:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well it sounded as if you were basically accusing employers and HR departments of being racists when it comes to hiring.


I don't think employers and HR departments are being racist but I do believe it's human nature for that type of mental reaction to the unfamiliar.

quote:
Why do you believe that's still the case though? That's what I'm trying to get at.


Because it's true. Imagine if you were a 5-year old and your family relocated to Japan because your dad was an expatriate employee for a big company. How much extra prep work would you have to do (e.g. learning Japanese, assimilating their culture) so you can maintain your grades and are on par with the already-speaking Japanese students who didn't have to deal with any kind of assimilation?

Now let's take it a step further. You turn 21-22, are fluent in Japanese, finish school, and are ready to start your first job in Tokyo. How much extra prep work did you have to do so your academic qualifications/achievements, job applications and resume are exceptional such that you get the attention (or a phone call) from (Japanese) HR managers?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By tng on 5/28/2014 1:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...when school is finished and it's time to find a real job, imagine how tough it is for minorities to compete against candidates with easy-to-read surnames and speak perfect...
LOL where do you live? Fact of the matter is that in some areas of the US (mainly Western Urban Centers) being white means that you are a minority and being Asian is the norm.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Apone on 5/28/2014 1:38:24 PM , Rating: 1
@ tng

It may sound funny but the reality is far from humorous.

quote:
Fact of the matter is that in some areas of the US (mainly Western Urban Centers) being white means that you are a minority and being Asian is the norm.


What does geography have to do with trying to find a job? None of that matters when you're in a job interview trying to convince a hiring manager you're the best candidate despite your non-conventional surname and accent (if you have one).


By xti on 5/28/2014 1:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
furthermore, for every example of one case, there are plenty of scenarios of the other case, and vice versa.

look at how many excuses people come up with just commenting on this article.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By tng on 5/28/2014 2:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What does geography have to do with trying to find a job? None of that matters when you're in a job interview trying to convince a hiring manager you're the best candidate despite your non-conventional surname and accent (if you have one).
Uh... Missed my point, but let me explain it to you.

There are places that I know where your heavy accent would be welcome over someone who has none, since the hiring manager and the people you would be working with are all Vietnamese or Taiwanese.


By Apone on 5/28/2014 2:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
@ tng

So am I limited then to just the locations you referenced? I didn't go to school, become a U.S. citizen, and push myself academically and professionally so I can just find work at places that apparently favor minorities.(If I wanted that, I could of just bypassed school and pulled some cultural strings to get hooked up with a job)

Oh, and I never said that I myself had a heavy accent.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By slow_excellence on 5/28/2014 2:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for your input Apone. I may or may not have gotten a little tunnel vision and strayed from the main topic. I don't have any experience past the schooling part quite yet unfortunately but I'll definitely keep that in mind. In the end it all boils down to whoever wants the job more and how hard they're willing to work to get there :)


By Apone on 5/28/2014 2:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the end it all boils down to whoever wants the job more and how hard they're willing to work to get there :)


Agreed. And this is exactly what the protesting McDonald's employees have yet to grasp.


By ssnova703 on 6/3/2014 3:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
"Scholarships are easiest to get if you're a black/hispanic/ asian /child prodigy IMO. "

Incorrect, due to policies such as AA(affirmative action), it is hardest to enter into a University if applying as Asian due to you competing against your own race.

In addition, though there are legislative allowances for Blacks, Hispanics, and Pacific Islander/Native Americans as minorities. There are none for "Asians".

It is often assumed that because Asians are "minorities", Asians reap some legislative benefit as other minorities, but you'd be surprised how they are discriminated procedurally as much as Whites, when I spoke with OSU and Virginia Tech on these issues, an official answer was a long the lines of, "because Asians don't need assistance getting into college". In early 2000 OSU excluded Asians for "minority" scholarships. Asians do not get "minority preference" in most cases as compared to other minorities.

In fact as a researcher for a major University, you get "minority preference"(it's a point system that gives "minorities a leg up). But guess who is not included as a "minority"? You guessed it.. Asian and White Males. Though the vast majority of the researchers happen to be Asian Males.. when asked about this, the response was, "due to exceptional credentials they were accepted through our point system."...


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Dr. Fosgate on 5/28/2014 10:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
It is your problem. I sure hope you’re not a fan of gun control.

When the tens of millions of unemployed unskilled workers start forming mobs and going door to door to loot and pillage, you’re going to need a rifle and a lot of ammo plus a nice spot on the top of your roof to pick them off like apocalyptic zombies as they invade your space.

Right now so long as they are employed, they are borderline content with their situation. Given time and loss of jobs they will become EVERYONE’S problem fast.


By Schrag4 on 5/28/2014 11:13:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Right now so long as they are employed, they are borderline content with their situation. Given time and loss of jobs they will become EVERYONE’S problem fast.


I don't see it this way at all. I don't think older (some even educated) people working at McDonalds are content in the least. I think the point, though, is that nobody should be content working at McDonalds, unless you're talking about teenagers wanting a few bucks for sneakers. Someone looking to earn for their family, or just for a better quality of life, should consider McDonalds the first in many steps toward a better job.


By xti on 5/28/2014 1:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
stop watching tv. foh...


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By 1prophet on 5/28/2014 2:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
You watch too many movies/tv, rioting people pillage and loot their own in their own neighborhoods and in a haphazard method, not organized like something out of a mad max type movie.

One example

http://www.thewire.com/global/2011/08/riots-cluste...


By Dr. Fosgate on 5/28/2014 4:53:15 PM , Rating: 3
Watching movies has nothing to do with it.

I lived in Detroit (suburb of) for 7 months and that was enough to realize I don’t want to see the rest of the country end up the same.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 11:55:32 AM , Rating: 4
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/usa-stud...

quote:
The underemployment rate for recent graduates is also higher than in the previous two decades. That rate was 34 percent in 2001. By 2012, it had risen to 44 percent. Because of the scarcity of jobs, recent graduates have tended to take low-paying jobs or jobs that don't require a college degree such as positions as bartenders or retail clerks.


Just telling people to get a college degree isn't actually helping. We already have nowhere near enough jobs for the current rate of college graduates, with 44% of them not being able to find jobs in their field of study. Imagine if suddenly every fast food worker magically had a college degree too - think that would make things better?

Generally speaking, if a job can be done better and cheaper by a robot, then it shouldn't be done by a human. And sure, a job at McDonald's "should" be a stepping-stone job for teenagers.

But the irrefutable fact of the matter is that there's nowhere else to put these workers. Whether they get college degrees or not. If there was, we'd not already be having 44% of recent college grads unable to find careers.

At the end of the day, whether or not to pay a living wage to basic service workers isn't really the issue (although the idea of having a split wage for teens and adults does sound like a good idea)...the REAL issue is just exactly WHAT we're going to do with the vast multitudes of labor supply we have for which there are no meaningful jobs available.

44% now. Making more college grads will make the 44% even worse. So what, exactly, do you expect these people to do?


By tng on 5/28/2014 1:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...the REAL issue is just exactly WHAT we're going to do with the vast multitudes of labor supply we have for which there are no meaningful jobs available.
Yep.

Japan recently instituted a law that all people over the age of 65 have to retire. Because of people living/working longer, many young people there have no where to go.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By xti on 5/29/2014 9:42:29 AM , Rating: 2
again, if you are ok with becoming a statistic, then i have no sympathy.

you dont have to wait until you graduate to get a job. intern, do something. if they just blindly go thru the motions, or major in history, then wtf do you want me to do about it?

also their are plenty of cities that have tiny unemployment rates that don't look like ghost towns. move?

you cant tell me that every single one of those 44% have tried everything they possible could...or barely tried.


By retrospooty on 5/29/2014 10:01:25 AM , Rating: 2
"you dont have to wait until you graduate to get a job. intern, do something. if they just blindly go thru the motions, or major in history"


Exactly... Each person has to make their way in the world. It has never been easy. It's probably easier now than it ever has been. Don't forget, through most of history, people worked fields and hunted or they went hungry. Many times they did all of the above and still went hungry.

Moto will have us believe that there is nothing any of these people can do there is simply "nowhere for them to go". That is absolute garbage. There is an entire world out there, and sorry people, it's not going to put itself on a silver platter and present itself to you. You have to go find your way in the world, grab it and take it.

I would say this... If you are the type of person to take your full degree, not be able to find a job right away, then give up and go work at a fast food joint, you probably wouldn't have gone very far in the business/tech/real job world anyhow because you aren't driven or there are some some serious issues with your hire-ability. So, go right ahead and blame society. Damn society didn't hand the world to me, must be society, couldn't be me.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Schrag4 on 5/28/2014 11:06:39 AM , Rating: 1
There are plenty of relatively low-skilled jobs that easily pay 3 or 4 times as much as McDonalds. There is some training but we're not talking 100k education. I'm talking about vocational schools, things like plumbing, welding, etc.

quote:
We let them die?


This is America. We should let people do whatever they want. If they want to work at a job that doesn't even pay the rent, who are you or I to stand in their way?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 12:53:27 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
There are plenty of relatively low-skilled jobs that easily pay 3 or 4 times as much as McDonalds. There is some training but we're not talking 100k education. I'm talking about vocational schools, things like plumbing, welding, etc.


<citation needed>

If that were true, it wouldn't be a secret and people would be leaving minimum-wage jobs in droves for votec schools. The reality is that there's not millions of jobs in those industries, which by the way are pretty tied to the rate of new construction...which is also really low right now.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Schrag4 on 5/28/2014 3:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
When I said "plenty" I wasn't referring to the number of job openings, but to the types of jobs that people could find. I was responding to the assertion that we cannot all be iPhone designers, which implies that the only well-paying jobs are in technical fields - that's simply not true.

I do see your point that there may not be millions of job openings outside of fast-food at the moment, but IMO that's a different issue altogether, one that has absolutely nothing to do with the minimum wage.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 3:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
How does that have nothing to do with the minimum wage?

If there are no job openings for these people elsewhere, where do you get off telling them to get a better job?

There's nowhere for these people to go. And the minimum wage is only as low as it is now because all the taxpayers are subsidizing the corporations with welfare payments.

This ALL has to do with the minimum wage. You can't make any possible argument to the contrary.


By Schrag4 on 5/29/2014 1:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This ALL has to do with the minimum wage. You can't make any possible argument to the contrary.


I suppose if you're completely hung up on the minimum wage then you couldn't possibly argue any other point.

quote:
If there are no job openings for these people elsewhere, where do you get off telling them to get a better job?


Just exactly who are "these people" that you refer to? If you're talking about people who are willing to do what it takes to improve themselves and to create real value, who have a focus on what the customer (their employer) needs, I'd say you're dead wrong. You talk as if people should have no hope - as if they're incapable of bettering themselves. You're like a politician who tells his constituents that they need big government because they'd be lost without it.

So what's your solution? Do you want to triple the minimum wage? Do you want to actually incentivize people to work very low-skilled jobs that create very little value? Do you want people who aren't anywhere close to meeting their potential to settle because their paycheck got bumped up just enough to get by on? That doesn't sound like a solution to me. The solutions I have in mind, like I said before, have absolutely nothing to do with the minimum wage.


By Apone on 5/28/2014 12:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
@ Da W

You have a valid point. However, this is America, the land of opportunity. We Americans have the freedom of pursuing whatever profession we want. If you're unskilled, then get skilled. Go to school, find a trade, join the military, get creative, pursue your passion, etc.. Basically adapt and survive.

The real issue isn't the wage increase but the fact that these employees have become complacent and developed a sense of entitlement. Reclaimer77 hit the nail on the head when he said that fast food jobs were never designed to be career goals.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/14, Rating: 0
By xti on 5/28/2014 1:29:59 PM , Rating: 1
exactly. Everyone with the whole "what do we do with them" mentality for some reason thinks they have reached their ceiling.

as long as people have a path of least resistance, we will always be dealing with this crap.


By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:54:54 PM , Rating: 2
"You're telling me there's tens of millions of people in this country who can only flip burgers or work a drive through. That's it? That's the maximum of their potential?"

LOL... That is exactly the thing. Of course its not thier max potential, but there are tens of millions of people in this country who are being lazy and getting by going in and out of crappy jobs and relying on govt assistance. If they had to they could do better, but they dont, so they arent.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Manch on 5/27/2014 6:29:26 PM , Rating: 1
No it shouldn't, and Jason seems to be using a lot of selective bias with this graphs and pics and quotes. Nice police shot there buddy. So 2/3 are over 20 and not teenagers. So what. 2/3rd are under 24 which means it's dominated by teenagers and young adults. People in school and people just starting out. No they're not worth $15 an hour to sling fries and toss patties on a burger broiler.

I say bring on the automated machines, maybe Ill get my burger made properly, not worry about the hygiene of some of the workers. Quality should be better too.

For all you people complaining that flipping burgers and salting fries aint paying enough.

As Stephen A Smith has been saying, not everyone can be a Lebron or a Kobe but you can be a Stephen A Smith. Pound the pavement, do what you got to do to get ahead in life, get educated, climb the ladder and advance your career.

Dont make making fries the end all be all and expect a decent living. If you want to quit, someone else will be happy to take that job from you loading the burger machine.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Spuke on 5/27/2014 6:55:57 PM , Rating: 1
Bring the robots, maybe I'll finally get a clean bathroom at the Burger King. Dump every single one of those bastards.


By Manch on 5/27/2014 7:03:48 PM , Rating: 1
I was looking at the protesters signs. I don't believe that is correct grammar.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By TSS on 5/27/14, Rating: 0
RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Solandri on 5/27/2014 8:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Needing to raise the minimum wage is just a symptom. Just think, if the minimum wage is raised to $15 (which will need to happen eventually), would that stop the process? Would that prevent it being raised to $20 a few years later?

Yeah, raising the minimum wage won't solve anything, and in fact increases the trend towards automation.

That's the double-edged sword that comes with raising the minimum wage. Proponents of it assume jobs will stay constant, so raising the minimum wage means those minimum wage workers will just get a bigger income. That's not the way it works. A higher minimum wage means some minimum wage workers get a bigger income, but others lose their jobs because the job ceases to be cost-effective with manual labor.

The problem is systematic, and you need to adopt policies which will naturally cause low-end wages to rise. Not simply mandate that low-end wages be higher. Better (cheaper) education opportunities like adult night school, better job search tools, easier access to day care for single parents trying to claw their way out of a minimum wage job. Mandatory financial planning courses in K-12 school so you don't get minimum wage people blowing their money on iPhones and 40" HDTVs. etc. Low-end wages have been going down because improvements in automation has caused menial manual labor to be worth less (same supply of labor, lower demand for labor = lower wages). We need to be teaching these people more valuable skills (i.e. increasing their productivity).


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 8:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
"The problem is systematic, and you need to adopt policies which will naturally cause low-end wages to rise. Not simply mandate that low-end wages be higher"

Exactly... The issue is education and motivation. If you have either of those things, you are already making more than $8 at a fast food joint. If you are either really unintelligent or unmotivated, you arent worth more than $8. Artificially raising your wage to double what it's worth on the free market will make that $7 combo meal $11 and people wont buy it, then fast food franchises close and the moron that used to make $8 an hour makes $0 with no job. NICE!


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2014 2:26:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Artificially raising your wage to double what it's worth on the free market will make that $7 combo meal $11 and people wont buy it, then fast food franchises close and the moron that used to make $8 an hour makes $0 with no job. NICE!


You need to look at how Mc Donalds handles other markets.
In Australia for instance you will pay roughly an extra 70 cents per Big Mac, however the workers also get paid $16.37 per hour which is the minimum wage. (I think it might be over $17 now!)

Not only have workers not been replaced by robots, but there is zero need for people to leave tips and Mc Donalds still rakes in the Billions.

That's the kind of income that will allow you to better your education, whilst looking after kids and being only a single parent.
Thus it gives plenty of workers better opportunities for a better life.

On the flip side because of the higher mandated minimum wage, people have higher disposable incomes, guess what? If you earn more you generally spend more.


By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 8:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
"You need to look at how Mc Donalds handles other markets.
In Australia for instance you will pay roughly an extra 70 cents per Big Mac, however the workers also get paid $16.37 per hour which is the minimum wage."


Not questioning your #'s, but how exactly do they do that? How are they making profit at that rate? If so, I would say that it isnt me that needs to look at MsDonalds Aus. #'s, it's McDonalds that needs to look.

Somehow, that seems way to far off to be correct. The food is 1/5th the price and wages are double = roughly 10x the productivity? Come on...


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 8:46:26 AM , Rating: 2
All the Australians I know bit*ch about the cost of living and how expensive all the goods are there.

So yeah, people get paid more. But does that necessarily lead to more "disposable" income? Nope, not really.

If you mandate that people get paid X by law, the market will just self-correct and you'll be right back to where you started.


By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 11:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
"If you mandate that people get paid X by law, the market will just self-correct and you'll be right back to where you started."

Exactly, it's the same reason why college is so damn expensive in the US. People are willing to pay "x" for college... The govt. gets involved and says "we want to make it easy for more people to get an education" and set up grants and loans for people to help pay for college... Now the universities know that people are willing to pay "x" , but now have x+l+g (loan and grant)so the cost goes up to x+l+g. You simply cannot artificially manipulate the free market, it doesn't work, Same reason you cant just print out more money, it just devalues the existing money. The free market has determined that fast food workers make $8 an hour. Changing that to $15 will make the food more expensive and lose business for the franchise and they will lay people off so the $8, went to $15 temporarily and now its $0 because they are unemployed. Thanks, you have now learned to help yourself into communism and poverty. It just doesnt work. Look at the USSR, North Korea and Cuba for examples. China is the only one that thrived and they thrived becasue they arent really communist at all, it's all about money, and production now.


By Nutzo on 5/28/2014 2:34:17 PM , Rating: 2
I've been to Australia, and found the food (and other stuff) expensive. They even charge you for an extra ketchup!

Luckly most the 2 week vacation was a cruise where the food was included.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By tayb on 5/28/2014 10:44:51 AM , Rating: 2
We aren't artificially raising wages. Public assistance is artificially flooring the wages. These people aren't receiving $8/hour. They are receiving $8/hour + public benefits.

So the question to ask is...

Should tax payers be paying so that McDonalds can receive cheap labor?

Or...

Should McDonalds pay? McDonalds profits about $6 billion annually. Again, should they pay or should we pay?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By tng on 5/28/2014 1:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
These people aren't receiving $8/hour. They are receiving $8/hour + public benefits.
Good point, but how many of them would be willing to part with the government freebies for that $16/Hr? I bet not many would be willing to do it, because they would probably be back in the same boat.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By tayb on 5/28/2014 1:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
This is a silly question if you really think about. We are talking about people who are working. These aren't unemployed people sitting at home collecting benefits. They are trying to earn money.

Answer this question for yourself. Would you rather make enough money to pay your own bills or have to embarrass yourself waiting in line applying for assistance and then paying for groceries with that assistance?

I would estimate that if you polled McDonalds employees and asked them if they would rather earn $15/hour or remain on public assistance close to 100% would rather earn enough to get off public assistance.


By JediJeb on 5/29/2014 11:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Answer this question for yourself. Would you rather make enough money to pay your own bills or have to embarrass yourself waiting in line applying for assistance and then paying for groceries with that assistance?


One big problem today is so many people are not embarrassed at all by being in this situation. Some look at it as a badge of honor that they can game the system so easily.

quote:
I would estimate that if you polled McDonalds employees and asked them if they would rather earn $15/hour or remain on public assistance close to 100% would rather earn enough to get off public assistance.


The thing is if the minimum wage is raised to $15/hour like these McDonald's workers are asking for, then we will have people making burgers being paid more than what we start out degreed chemist working in the laboratory. Techs start out at $10/hour, degreed chemist/biologist start out at under $30k per year. I have worked here 23 years and only make $50k. Of course we are located in Kentucky and that isn't such a bad salary here.

The biggest reason I see that the unemployment rate is so high currently is so many people who lose a job, refuse to take a job that pays less than what they were making or refuse to move to another location where either the job will pay as much or the cost of living is so much lower that a lower paying job still gives them their same level of life style. During the Great Depression, my grandfather and his brothers left home and went half way across the country to work jobs making decent money which they then sent home to support their family. Once the economy turned around they moved back home as jobs became available. Now days people just turn to the government to support them as they sit and wait for the work to come to them.

When I was growing up it was instilled in me that you support yourself in life. I was taught that if you don't work you don't eat, more or less. You don't expect to have nice things if you don't work to earn them and you don't expect to get paid unless you put in your best effort at whatever work you do.


By sorry dog on 5/28/2014 8:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad a couple of you guys understand some of the underlying economics issues here. The min wage is a symptom here and it would be economically much more healthy to influence these companies to offer higher wages rather than just mandating it.

To me anyway, the 800 pound gorilla in corner is the inflation rate and how the government's ludicrous way measuring of it to almost try to peg it at a pre-fabbed number. Just peruse this site a bit to get an idea of some of the trickery used in their numbers.
http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/inflatio...

Of course some of the effects Solandri mentions are absolutely true and rising wages is one of the basic factors in rising inflation.

I also take issue with folks dismissing this whole issue of super low pay as a lack of motivation among a large sector of population. I don't think it's that hard to conclude that there are some fundamental changes in kinds of jobs that are available in economy now. A majority of the new jobs that have been created since 2008 tend to be the low skill service work. The sooner that everyone takes it to heart that if this trend continues, that is the bottom 75% of the country in for hard times, and the remaining top 25% should not be surprised that they had to pick up more of the tab for running country since the middle class has less ability too.

This is not just a rant of Obama's incompetence as I feel many of Republicans are just as screwed up.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 8:27:23 PM , Rating: 3
the fact that you got down rated for this post scares the hell out of me. You spoke nothing but the truth and you touched on what is wrong with this country. The entitlement has to end. Anyone that thinks fast food workers are worth 15 bucks an hour needs their head examined. I mean it would be nice if we lived in the world that could support that but we don't, this is the real world and fast food jobs for high school dropouts are worth 8 bucks an hour. You know how I know that? Because that is what fast food jobs pay. If there were more of a high and skill set involved it would pay more. End of story.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 8:34:38 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
the fact that you got down rated for this post scares the hell out of me.


Oh I fully knew it would hit -1 the minute I posted it, I had no illusions.

It's Daily Tech, what did you expect?


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 8:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, but not that. At least I would hope not.

I would love if everyone could make a living wage but the fact is everyone is NOT created equal. It isnt race or religion or any socio-economic issue either, its simply intelligence and a hard working attitude... Some people just arent very bright and others are just lazy... For the most part people with either one of those two things already have better jobs than working for $8 McDonalds. McDonalds jobs are good for teenagers just getting that first work experience. Other than that, if you are an adult working at a McDonald's and aren't in management, you have probably made some serious mistakes in your life and/or are not a very good employee.

I personally long for the day I can drive up to a tocuh screen and touch the items I want and the amount I want and have that be my order without some f$%^ing moron at the other end mixing it up. Obviously someone would have to cook it, but that would be fince, once its in the system correctly all they need to do is read the order and check it to make sure what is on the order is in the bag. THe issue usually lies with a moron putting it into the system wrong, because he is a moron and/or he just doesn't give a crap.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 9:00:22 PM , Rating: 3
Well looking at Jason's list, this seems to be another manipulative "movement" engineered and manufactured by Unions and other rich special interest groups, to try and force public opinion to agree with them and get their way.

Just like the Occupy 1% crap, follow the money.

So this is probably just the case of some lunatic fringe claiming to represent everyone.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 9:08:24 PM , Rating: 3
Unions, becoming more and more irrelevant, so trying to rally a new cause. It's all great in theory, but in actual real world economics it doesn't work.

Like I said in my other post... The bottom Lin is this - Artificially raising wages to double what they are worth on the free market will make that $7 combo meal $11 and people just wont buy it... Not enough to sustain the business anyhow. Then fast food franchises start closing and people that used to make $8 an hour now make $0 with no job.

I don't grasp what is so hard to understand about that. That is economics 101, supply and demand.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By M'n'M on 5/27/2014 10:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That is economics 101, supply and demand.

An oversupply of unskilled labor and little demand for it. Seriously while it helps to get a real degree, in something that pays, vs a degree in Uruguaian literature of the 1800s, even a newbie auto mechanic gets above min wage and can progress from there if he/she is any good.

You don't have to be a neurosurgeon.


By Spuke on 5/28/2014 2:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You don't have to be a neurosurgeon.
BAM!


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
"You don't have to be a neurosurgeon."

Totally agreed. Hard work and motivation is more important than anything. You cant just sit back, be lazy call in sick all the time and have life handed to you on a silver platter. You have to work for it.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 2:28:09 PM , Rating: 3
Hell you don't even need a degree. Trade skills are, as always, in huge demand.

You can walk down to your community college, spend six months getting HVAC certified, and start at ~$40k (more in some markets) with full benefits and bonuses right now.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By 1prophet on 5/28/2014 2:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
But you have to do manual labor, work with your hands, and get dirty,

that has been looked down upon by the college promoting elite who look at such people as being beneath them,

and have brainwashed millions of Americans to look at such jobs as something reserved for the illiterate/ignorant lower class who aren't college material.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 4:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
When I listen to young kids today, they speak about people who work hard for a living almost in disdain. Like I said, our biggest problem is entitlement. Their helicopter GenX dumbass parents convinced them that a college degree would entitle them to whatever job they wanted.

I've met plumbers who make $150K a year, and Ivy League graduates who make $30K.


By tayb on 5/28/2014 1:53:19 PM , Rating: 1
Everyone thinks fast food workers should be paid more. Why? Because they are being paid a lot more than that. You see the hourly rate that McDonalds pays and that is the end of the line for you. You stop thinking.

In reality most adult workers at McDonalds are earning their hourly pay and then THE PUBLIC IS PAYING THE REST. They are eligible for food, housing, and energy benefits to make up the difference between what McDonalds pays and what is necessary to survive.

You don't think McDonald's workers are worth $15/hour? That's great. The work itself probably isn't but the only choice we have in this matter is to let those people rot in the street, increase their hourly pay, or provide them public support. The first really isn't an option so it's a choice between the second two.

As I've said elsewhere in this very thread. The choice is between the following two options:

The public pays so that McDonalds can profit more from the subsidized labor pool.

McDonalds pays enough so that their employees are not on public assistance.

You pick. One way or the other the employees are getting paid enough to survive. You pick whether you think taxes should pay for it so that McDonalds can profit more or if McDonalds should pay for it.


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By Alexvrb on 5/27/2014 11:23:53 PM , Rating: 1
Also, thanks to our various irritating laws, it's more expensive to hire full time workers. That's why McDonalds and many other outfits limit hours and hire part-timers. The "Affordable" Care Act has exacerbated the issue, and more companies are following suit as a result.

Minimum wage is trending a bit low and it needs to be increased slightly to bring it back in line. But they're trying to raise it far too much, too fast. If they do this, costs will go up slightly across the board. You also will hit higher tax brackets. As a result, it only really benefits those at the very bottom. If you were making $16 an hour and they raise minimum wage to $15, your relative buying power actually goes down. That guy flipping burgers for $8 an hour suddenly makes about as much as you do. Once prices stabilize, it's effectively a paycut for you.

The only real clear winner is the federal government, who collects increased tax revenue, and (unless they substantially adjust the poverty line) will pay out less in assistance.


By xti on 5/28/2014 9:44:51 AM , Rating: 2
doubling the burger flippers wage isnt going to make him magically skilled worker.

just get rid of these jobs already. force the lower class to...not be lower class. the government is going to collect taxes whether you like it or not...that has nothing to do with the burger flipper learning to do something worth a damn.


By marvdmartian on 5/28/2014 7:30:00 AM , Rating: 2
I have only one question:

If they go to full robotics for fast food, will they STILL get my order wrong, if I go through the drive-thru??

Because I'm really getting dependent on that, ya know? I'd hate to throw out that little GEM of a benefit!


RE: The Ultimate Monument to Entitlement
By tayb on 5/28/2014 10:33:39 AM , Rating: 2
There aren't enough high paying jobs to had. There just isn't. Historically this kind of work has been for teenagers to do as part time work. That isn't true anymore. The median age of a fast food employee is 28 and 25% of them have a kid. Only a third of fast food employees fit the demographic you are describing. That demographic barely exists anymore.

$15/hour for fast food employees is too much. The work they are doing is not worth $15/hour. But we have deemed the federal poverty level to be more than they are paying. So the question to ask is whether you think massive corporations should be meeting the difference between wages and poverty or if average citizens should?

These giant corporations are benefiting from cheap labor that the rest of us are paying for. The actual wages for these employees are not enough and so tax payers are making up the difference. McDonalds alone is benefiting from $1.2B in public assistance annually to keep their wages low. They actually encourage their employees to go after public assistance and provide help for them in getting it.

These massive corporations are gaming the system and we are paying for it. And instead of blaming them you blame the people actually working these jobs trying to survive. It's not enough to blast people for being unemployed but now you are also blasting people for simply not earning enough? Give me a break. How preposterous. Make McDonalds pay a high enough hourly rate so that their employees don't need public assistance. END CORPORATE WELFARE.


By Motoman on 5/28/2014 12:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is just it - we think we're not paying the McD's workers $15 now - but actually we are, in the form of welfare on top of their poverty-level wages. We're *all* paying the McD's workers.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/usa-stud...

As noted in that Reuters article, we're currently running at a rate where 44% of recent college grads can't find work pertinent to their degrees - underlining your point that there aren't enough high paying jobs to be had already. If you magically pushed every minimum wage worker through college and got them a degree, pretty soon that 44% would be 95%. Career jobs don't manufacture themselves - and if we're 44% behind right now, adding more college grads to the pool will only make things worse.

McD's et al are absolutely gaming the system. The taxpayers are the ones picking up the slack and making sure that minimum wage workers don't starve and live on the street. Because that's what would happen to them without welfare. If McD's et al were require to pay a living wage to all of their workers, they could be eased off of welfare, and the burden would come off the back of the taxpayers and instead be placed on the *gasp* employer. Crazy idea, having the employer bear the burden of paying their employees, as opposed to the public.

Will that cut into profits at McD's? Yes. The corporate world will have to adjust. It's been shown in other locations that paying the minimum wage worker a living wage can be done with only a nominal increase in cost to the consumer - that's not conjecture, it's irrefutable fact. And if the corporations can only afford to pay their CEOs 1,900 times what the lowest-paid worker makes instead of 2,000 times, well I guess they'll just have to rough it a bit.


By blwest on 5/29/2014 5:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget everything's a combo, so they don't even ask, "would you like fries with that?". Around here, if you ask for a "big mac combo" and don't give them the number, they don't know what you want.

Honestly I feel a little bad about what these people have done to themselves but don't feel obligated to give them handouts.

At a point in time, I realized because my parents and I were white and middle class, that there were no free-ride scholarships to be had. I had 2 choices, go deeply in debt or do something else. I didn't feel pity for myself, but learned through the experience that life isn't fair and nothing was going to be handed to me. A year later I joined the military, put my @ss on the line in nasty places and earned college funding. Let's not forget that 10% of my take home pay at the time went to funding the GI Bill for a year.. 6 years later and a TON of hard work I had earned a master's degree in something useful (e.g NOT women's studies). There was sacrifice to be made, and I made it.

The bottom line is, anything is possible given the proper amount of determination in the US. If you're fully capable, but sit around and expect something to be handed to you, you're living in denial.


By TheJian on 5/30/2014 8:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
Agree, so replace them all with robots. :) Mcd isn't supposed to be a career. Besides robots won't spit in your food, or forget to wash their hands...LOL. If you get my drift.

Bring on the BOTS.

Get a REAL career people. Both of the above reasons is why I haven't eaten at ANY fast food restaurant in...Jeez, I can't even remember. Over 4yrs and that was a day of desperation (with no REAL food in sight) or I'd be saying MUCH longer. Even that day it was from a small market (K market or something, for a reeser's burrito, like 7-elevens type joints).


Didn't your dad tell you..
By jahwarrior on 5/27/2014 7:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
...Get an education so you don't end up flipping burgers at McDonald's!




RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Wombat_56 on 5/27/2014 9:07:47 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
...Get an education so you don't end up flipping burgers at McDonald's!


If you'd RTFA you'd see that 6.2% of fast food staff have a college diploma, and having an education doesn't help if there are no job vacancies to be had.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 9:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
"If you'd RTFA you'd see that 6.2% of fast food staff have a college diploma, and having an education doesn't help if there are no job vacancies to be had."

Sorry, if you have a college ed. and are working at a McDonald for $8 you have serious issues. My son just graduated this month from ASU and already has a job at State Farm for about $13 an hour, and he has zero work experience. There are vacancies, you need to have skills, and work hard toward achieving goals in this world. If you are a college grad making $8 you are doing something very VERY wrong with your work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills, or possible all of the above and then some.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By tayb on 5/28/2014 12:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
Your anecdotal story is great but doesn't refute his point. There are not enough high paying jobs. They don't exist. This is not an opinion but a fact. Telling people to go get an education is going to lead to exactly where we are today with the only difference being the burger flippers also have student loan debt.

Even in every single person had a degree in electrical engineering someone would still need to flip burgers. You would just have highly educated and highly indebted people flipping burgers and asking for a raise to get off of welfare.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 1:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Your anecdotal story is great but doesn't refute his point."

That was just an example, not my point. My point is this... If you are a college grad making $8 you are doing something very VERY wrong with your work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills , or possibly all of the above.

There are jobs out there. Not necessarily for all skills in all area, but jobs are out there. You may need to move, or learn new skills, or do whatever it takes, but sitting on your arse playing the victim wont help you at all.

"Even in every single person had a degree in electrical engineering someone would still need to flip burgers."

That is a nice unrealistic scenario. Everyone wont... And there will still be people to flip burgers. For those with degrees in electrical engineering, you should probably aim higher than fast food worker.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By tayb on 5/28/2014 2:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
There are not enough jobs. Period. This is not an opinion but an irrefutable fact. The real unemployment rate in this country is close to 30%. You can keep typing "there are jobs out there" until your fingers fall off but the fact will not change. There would not be millions of adults working at McDonalds if there were better jobs available to them. What kind of deluded reality do you think we live in where people enjoy working for shit wages and relying on food stamps to survive? Have you ever actually met someone who made minimum wage ever in your life?

These people aren't sitting on their arse. They are working a job. A job that does not pay them enough to survive. And so they receive public assistance. Your answer to this problem is ridiculous. "Go get a better job." If that were possible don't you think every single person working fast food would go get a better job? But alas, if they did who would flip the burgers?

Oh, but you've covered that. "There will still be people to flip burgers." Yeah? And what are they going to be paid hourly? We've solved the problem of burger flippers not making enough to survive by getting them to move on to better jobs and replacing them with people who are not going to be paid enough to survive.... Did that make sense when you typed it? Your insistence on upward mobility doesn't actually solve the problem. Join me in reality.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Spuke on 5/28/2014 2:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are not enough jobs. Period. This is not an opinion but an irrefutable fact. The real unemployment rate in this country is close to 30%.
Post links to these facts. And not to some nutjob website either.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 3:44:04 PM , Rating: 3
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/usa-stud...

How about *you* post links to the "facts" you and your pals are spouting about how there's someplace else for these minimum-wage workers to aspire to?

Right now, 44% of recent college grads can't find decent jobs. In case you're not clear, that's nearly half.

Now wave your magic wand and get a college degree for all the minimum-wage workers in this country. What do you think is going to happen to that 44% figure? Is it going to go down? No? What's actually going to happen?

Here's what would actually happen - all of those people would have to go back to minimum wage jobs, because they're all that's available, and they'd be infinitely worse off than they were before because now they have student loan debt on top of everything else. And the 44% figure would become something more like 95%.

Either post links to solid evidence that there are millions of middle-class jobs out there just begging for qualified workers, or STFU.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 4:15:39 PM , Rating: 1
You keep claiming this 44% number, but that's just from one study. It's not some hardcore Government statistic we can take as gospel.

Anyway from your own link:

quote:
The report found that graduates from fields that provided technical skills or serve growing parts of the U.S. economy fared better.


Translation: People who majored in Underwater Basket Weaving with a minor in Disc Golf are having a tough time finding job placement.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
"There are not enough jobs. Period. This is not an opinion but an irrefutable fact. The real unemployment rate in this country is close to 30%. You can keep typing "there are jobs out there" until your fingers fall off but the fact will not change."

Where the heck do you live? Is it Detroit or some other severely depressed area? It isnt that bad. FFS, take a look at careerbuilder.com or any of the many others. Jobs are out there.

I re-iterate, if you are a college grad making $8 and are unable to land a decent job, then you are doing something very VERY wrong with your work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills , or possibly all of the above.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 2:21:56 PM , Rating: 3
He's probably right about the true unemployment rate in this country. It's horrible. Just look at the job participation numbers and all the private sector jobs we still haven't replenished from the downturn.

However I fundamentally disagree with his entire premise.

So the economy is bad, jobs are scarce, sooo lets force employers to pay WAY above market value for the labor they are receiving?

If that's his recipe for a healthy economy and job market, afraid reality isn't something he's as grounded in as he claims.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:30:24 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure its higher than the listed 7% but it's not 30%. That is ridiculous. In the great depression is was 25% at its worst and people were starving all over the place. Tent cities full of homeless all over the country. We do have alot of people underemployed working part time, but 30% is just way off, that is basically 1 in 3 people. That # is Beyond ridiculous.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By tayb on 5/28/2014 2:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
"So the economy is bad, jobs are scarce, sooo lets force employers to pay WAY above market value for the labor they are receiving?"

My fundamental premise is that these people ARE receiving more than the supposed market value. McDonald's is picking up a portion of it and then the public is picking up the rest.

There are three things we can do.

1. End public assistance and let poor people starve or become homeless.
2. Continue with public assistance that overcomes the difference between what McDonald's is paying and what people need to survive.
3. End public assistance and raise wages so that people are not working full time and not making enough to survive.

Right now our public assistance programs are helping McDonald's subsidize their labor costs. Why are we subsidizing the labor market for the benefit of McDonalds??? You choose one of the three options above. One way or another, people are getting paid the wages you say market value is determining. The choice is whether tax payers or multi-billion dollar corporations should pay the difference.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:39:50 PM , Rating: 2
"Right now our public assistance programs are helping McDonald's subsidize their labor costs. Why are we subsidizing the labor market for the benefit of McDonalds??? You choose one of the three options above. One way or another, people are getting paid the wages you say market value is determining. The choice is whether tax payers or multi-billion dollar corporations should pay the difference. "

I see where you are going. I agree, that is nuts. We need to #1, stop the public assistance. Govt involvement creates a victim cycle. Well, I could learnt new skills, work my ass off to make sure my family eats... Or I can half ass it and get help. THAT is a major problem here.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
I should clarify... Not end all of it, some is needed, my point is too many WAY WAY too many people abuse that system and live off the govt. "teet" as a way of life, not as a "hand up" when needed.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 2:56:28 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
3. End public assistance and raise wages so that people are not working full time and not making enough to survive.


These people look like they are surviving just fine.

What they want is to "live large" while performing the lowest quality service in the most menial tasks on the job market.

Sorry I just fundamentally disagree that fast food employees need that kind of wage.

Tayb, the way you talk, fast food is the be all end-all of these peoples ambitions!

I started in fast-food too, at a local amusement park. But I didn't stay there! I went from fast food, to Chili's. Which kinda sucked, then I left to be a salad chef at a local restaurant, then eventually was offered manager. Sure it took some hard work and sacrifices, but I was making $35k starting out which wasn't bad in the early 2000's for a 22 year old.

And don't tell me that I just got lucky, or it's because I'm white and privileged, or whatever other nonsense these people tell themselves to keep them in this negative can't-do mindset.

I'm sorry but if you can protest, you can get your sh*t together and go find a better job and change your situation. If you have time to protest, life can't be THAT bad!

quote:
Why are we subsidizing the labor market for the benefit of McDonalds???


Oh you Liberals love turning crap around this way don't you. McDonald's is not responsible for the rampant entitlement state we live in. They are not to blame, and we are not "subsidizing" for their benefit. Stop the hyperbole!


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Digimonkey on 5/30/2014 1:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, his point is they survive fine because the American tax payer subsidizes their wages.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By M'n'M on 5/30/2014 4:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
... because the American tax payer subsidizes their wages.

Only when you redefine the meaning of the word 'subsidy'. What we have is Govt mandated charity. Debate that all you want, be it good or bad, but that's what it is. The level of that charity is highly variable (and I'll come back to this) and has nothing to do with you being a good worker or bad worker, it's all according to "your needs" (ideally).

So who gets this charity ? Well about 1/2 of McDs wage slaves, which means the other half doesn't. That seems odd, why only ~50% and not almost 100% if the pay is so bad. I'll opine that because a large portion Of McDs workforce is what it used to be, kids using it as a starter job, making some $$s while in school. They're not the ones filing for charity. It's the 26% of employees w/families that are, and that 1/2 of the 1/2 filing, is the real cost driver for the public. Look at what Govt programs are being used :
quote:
The most common forms of public assistance are Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program -- which cumulatively stack up to around $4B USD. The remaining $3B USD comes in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families .


Guess what, raising the min wage to $12 or $15 /hr isn't going to get these people of Govt charity. You'd need to about double that to cover most of them. Again recall that the charity now dispensed depends on if you're single, single w/a kid, married w/a kid ... or kids. Just exactly what min wage constitutes a "living wage". Because the "kid workers" are going to be delighted that they get a undeserved raise while the unwed mother w/2 kids will still be getting our charity.

Nor is the $$/hr the whole problem. If not in the DT article, then in one linked to by a poster, I recall the average McDs worker gets just under $9/hr but only works 24 hrs. So it's not just the $$/hr, it's the hours. Obviously for the "kid workers" this is just what they want, for the "career" worker ... not so much. Is the answer then to remove the part time workers (too bad, so sad kid) ?

Most of the angst I see over this stems from how profitable the company is, as if that has any hard linkage to what most of us are paid. "Stick it to the Man" seems to be the common emotion. "Make him pay his workers" is the cry. Perhaps McDs could afford that but how about the others ? Burger King, Mcds #2 rival, earned $233.7M USD last year. The article says it's employees received 356M USD in charity. Anyone see a problem ? Wendys predicament is even worse, earnings of 45.5M USD, 278M USD in charity. So stick it to McDs and BK and Wendys are out of business. JMO, but I'd rather have Wendy's vs McD or BK.

So the cost of an increased min wage will be paid for in lost jobs by those who can't find any other, in increased cost to the consumer and a minor hit in profits to the employers. Which prompts me to wonder ... who really benefits here ? Who will bear the costs above ? Seems to me that most of fast food eaters are not the top 1% or even the top 10%. Certainly it's the FF workers who will lose their jobs (and then be on even more Govt charity). As it works now, due to the "progressive" nature of our tax code, the top 10% are paying more for the Govt charity than most of the people reading this and certainly more than most of the FF diners.

So someone explain to me why Liberals and Progressives think increasing the min wage, vs Govt charity, is a better idea ? Right now the programs we have is doing what was intended, making the US a little more humane and redistributing $$s from the "rich".


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Nutzo on 5/28/2014 5:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
End public assistance and let poor people starve or become homeless.


Who is saying end it?
How about giving able bodied people a few years to get thier act togather, and then start cutting back on what they can recieve? You would be suprised how much more modivated people will become when they are facing homelessnes or hunger.

As for raising wages, the correct way to do that is to grow the economy. Have the government do it at the point of a gun will just make things worse.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 5:58:02 PM , Rating: 1
I have a feeling a huge percentage of McDonald's employees voted for Obama. So grats you stupid fucks, you're just getting what you voted for. A shitty economy ran by a Socialist. How did you think it would turn out?


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 5:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
"You would be suprised how much more modivated people will become when they are facing homelessnes or hunger."

Yup... That right there is what went wrong in this country. It was founded and grew to be great on hard work and freedom. No-one was impeding you and also no-one was looking our for you... People had to sink or swim, and swim they did. Now, people don't have to sink or swim. They are allowed to just "wade" in the shallow water and get by. Mama govt. will feed you and give you enough money to survive, so just relax and have a few more kids. Eat those twinkies and bon bons and dont worry about calling in sick too much, if you are next on the layoff list,, you can just get unemployment on top of your food stamps.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By tayb on 5/28/2014 2:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
I am sorry, I actually under represented the unemployment rate. It's closer to 37%. http://rt.com/business/us-unemployment-economy-cri...

I live in NYC. Where the heck do you live? Unemployment is through the roof everywhere across the nation.

You have obviously taken my advice on typing the same thing endlessly. Just because you've said it multiple times doesn't make it true. There are not enough jobs. There is not a job for every able bodied adult in America.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
So you link a a Russian immigrant news site? OK, THAT's a reliable source. Posting a link doenst make it correct. That is crazy.

I live in AZ, by no means a booming state, but there are jobs. There are jobs everywhere though, you have to go looking and have skills and interview for it.

"You have obviously taken my advice on typing the same thing endlessly. Just because you've said it multiple times doesn't make it true."

No, the fact that it is true makes it true. I kept posting it because I felt like you weren't see it or grasping its meaning. That is OK you play the victim. I, myself will not ever. You are in charge of your own destiny, as is everyone.

I cant tell you how many people I have known in my life that have no HS degree much less college and are doing way better than fast food jobs.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 3:45:10 PM , Rating: 1
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/usa-stud...

So...44% of all recent college grads are "doing something very wrong?"

You're lost. Prove that there's some massive stockpile of jobs just waiting for college graduates. You're spouting nothing but nonsense and have provided not one single fact to back up your claims.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 4:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
First off, I don't believe that 44% # at all... Second, this isn't a thread about recent college grads. It was talking about college grads remaining employed at fast food joints. Not "cant find a job right out of school" but being employed for some amount of time...

But yes, absolutely, if you went through school and got your full degree and are working at a fast food joint making $8 YES, FFS, you are doing something very VERY VERY (underlined to stress how important that is) wrong. If that is your situation, there is a problem with your work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills , references, attitude, personal hygiene, or possibly many or all of the above.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 5:29:28 PM , Rating: 1
First of all, you don't get to "not believe" that 44% number unless you can provide your own credible research showing that it's wrong.

No? OK, moving on.

Secondly, this thread *is* about recent college grads, in that all the dumbas$es around here are screaming "get an education and get a better job!" That makes it about recent college grads. Nearly half of which wind up either completely unemployed, or ridiculously underemployed by working minimum wage jobs that are totally unconnected to their degrees, because there are no jobs available. Or to be perfectly accurate, there is vastly more supply of college graduates than there is demand in the business world.

So explain, please, how exactly it's going to make things better for people working in minimum wage jobs to get a college degree (and take on record-breaking amounts of student loan debt in the process), and then join the almost-half of the current crop of college grads who can't find meaningful work?

Your assertion that it's because of some kind of personal failure of the 44% is total bullsh1t. One or two percent maybe. But nearly half? Pull your head out. There's one way, and only one way, that such a figure is even vaguely possible. Vastly higher supply than demand. That is it.

Now, how about instead of yelling about getting a college degree that will only make things worse, how about you try thinking up a solution that would actually help? Because the fundamental problem is that there's simply no meaningful jobs to put these people into.

That's the problem you need to fix. Aside from the issue of minimum wage being a game the corporations play because the taxpayers subsidize them with welfare payments. Realistically those are 2 separate, but tightly related issues.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 6:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
OK lets use your link as an example. You said 44% . Your atricle doesnt say alot of what you implied...

- the 44% was "underemployment"

-causing them to remain unemployed or take lower paying jobs than their counterparts

That doesn't mean they are working at a fast food joint for $8 it means some are looking for work and some are working at jobs paying less than their experienced counterparts and some are in lower fields, retail etc. Not fast food FFS.

"all the dumbas$es around here are screaming "get an education and get a better job!""

"So explain, please, how exactly it's going to make things better for people working in minimum wage jobs to get a college degree"

That isnt what was said... Get some skills, not necessarily a college education.

"Your assertion that it's because of some kind of personal failure of the 44% is total bullsh1t. "

That isnt what I said of 44%. IF you are going to quote me, quote me... I said this and I fully stand behind every word.. "If you went through school and got your full degree and are working at a fast food joint making $8 YES, FFS, you are doing something very VERY VERY wrong. If that is your situation, there is a problem with your work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills , references, attitude, personal hygiene, or possibly many or all of the above." - Pay specific attention to the last sentence, the key is there.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 6:32:17 PM , Rating: 1
No, the key is not there. You're trying to assert that nearly half of all college graduates have problems with "work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills , references, attitude, personal hygiene, or possibly many or all of the above."

And I call bullsh1t. As before, maybe a couple percentage points are so bad that no one wants to hire them, but not nearly half.

As for:

quote:
That doesn't mean they are working at a fast food joint for $8 it means some are looking for work and some are working at jobs paying less than their experienced counterparts and some are in lower fields, retail etc. Not fast food FFS.


...and you're going to accuse me of cherry-picking quotes without full context? The article says this:

quote:
Because of the scarcity of jobs, recent graduates have tended to take low-paying jobs or jobs that don't require a college degree such as positions as bartenders or retail clerks.


...so how much do you think bartenders and retail clerks make? You know...people stocking shelves and running the register at Walmart? Reckon they're making more than minimum wage? Oh, and this here article notes that at least 6% of them are, in fact, working at McDonald's.

You're doing your best to avoid reality, but reality doesn't go away because you don't want to believe in it. The irrefutable fact of the matter (note that the only person who's linked any credible data to this discussion at all is me) is that there is *VASTLY* more supply of labor than there is demand. From the bottom-end of basic service jobs like fast food, all the way to people with degrees in architecture.

There is nowhere for these people to go. No matter what they do. And you have done *nothing* to counter that fact.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 6:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
" You're trying to assert that nearly half of all college graduates have problems with "work ethic, resume, interview skills, personal skills , references, attitude, personal hygiene, or possibly many or all of the above."

Oh no... Moto... Please tell me you arent falling victim to the DT reading comprehension pit. That is NOT what I said. I did not say "nearly half of all college graduates have problems..." I said "If you have your full degree and are working at a fast food joint making $8" you have those problems. There is a BIG difference in those 2 things.


"so how much do you think bartenders and retail clerks make?"


More than fast food workers for sure... But that isnt the point.

"There is nowhere for these people to go. No matter what they do. And you have done *nothing* to counter that fact."

Look, I am done with this... It's not my job to convince you although I have tried. You seem to want to play the victim, or allow others to play the victim, I cant stop you, I just fully disagree. This is a rough world, and you have to take care of yourself and your family. It's not as rough as it has been throughout history, but its still not a simple easy life... You have to work hard and make your way, make your own breaks, take the bull by the horns etc etc... You get the point. Opportunity is out there in abundance for those that seek it. For those that seek fast food jobs... Good luck with that.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 7:14:35 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Look, I am done with this... It's not my job to convince you although I have tried.


Yeah. The world isn't flat. Tough luck about that...maybe you'll have better luck next time.

Love how so many people love to shout about this topic as being the fault of the people in low-paying, dead-end jobs - but they never actually provide any information or ideas that would point to a way to fix it. And then when you point that out, they say "look, I'm done with this."


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 7:30:13 PM , Rating: 1
Because there always has been low paying jobs, and always will be.

Even if we go to outer-goddamn-space, someone will have to wash the bathrooms, make the food, and mop the space floors.

The only solution is Communism, which we freaking know doesn't work. So yeah, you don't think Capitalism is perfect, fine. But the only system that has ever worked, is to allow the free market to determine wages.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 7:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
Thats what you are missing... There is no fix that one person can do. Its on each person to live their own life and make their own way. You say there is nowhere for these grads to go, that is absolutely wrong, there is a world full of possibilities and potential (literally, a whole planet). Each person needs to make their own way. Grow up, man up, reach for the stars, insert your own phrasing here.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Alexvrb on 5/27/2014 11:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
How many of those college educated staff are in entry level positions? They're virtually all in management positions, or in training for one. It's not enough to read the "bleeping" article, Wombat. You have to process the data instead of simply regurgitating numbers.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By M'n'M on 5/28/2014 12:08:07 AM , Rating: 2
What degrees do these people hold ? I'm fairly sure they aren't in engineering. Perhaps they are in philosophy ? It's great the people are "educated" but let's not kid ourselves that all degrees translate into income $$s. Make a (financially) poor choice in your academic path and this is the (expected) result. Should "we" subsidize such poor choices, by any means ?


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By Alexvrb on 5/28/2014 12:28:37 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure you meant to reply to me, but assuming you did: The OP said that you should get an education so you don't end up "flipping burgers". Wombat replies to him saying that 6.2% of McDonald's employees have a college education. In other words, he's saying oh but look, a lot of their workers ARE educated and they still "flip burgers".

My point is that the OP is mostly correct. The 6.2% are probably in _management positions_ and thus are not really "flipping burgers" or making minimum wage by any stretch. Are there a few? I'm sure there are. Should we subsidize their bad decisions? No, of course not, I've never advocated that.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By M'n'M on 5/28/2014 12:36:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not sure you meant to reply to me, but assuming you did

Just continuing the thoughts posted. And I agree w/yours above. Just adding another possibility. Degrees in English Lit aren't likely to lead to well paying positions. Nor should they be expected to.


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2014 2:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
...Get an education so you don't end up flipping burgers at McDonald's!


Flipping burgers for $16 in Australia when I was a teenager years ago was what paid for me to get into tertiary education and start earning $40 an hour in health. :P

The irony is, I probably earn't more money flipping burgers than some highly skilled workers in the USA.

Inflation has increased in the USA over the years, yet the minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation, so each hour of work, is simply worth less, makes me wonder how people make ends meet!


RE: Didn't your dad tell you..
By xti on 5/28/2014 9:34:48 AM , Rating: 2
minimum wage isnt the solution. The lower class graduating to middle class doesnt happen at a high enough rate.

and yes, if you flip burgers in america post bachelors...you fk'd up along the way.


March of the machines
By peterrushkin on 5/27/2014 6:05:54 PM , Rating: 2
There is one video on youtube which talks about robots. At the end, it shows a Chinese factory replacing all the people who were doing a repetitive task. I'm not sure, but I think the owner was saying if this was successful, they would replace all the staff in time with robots. As the robots could be working 24/7, no illness, no dramas, no breaks, etc. Just working...

It's coming and sooner than we think. What the hell is humanity going to do? We can't all be doctors, lawyers, middle management, sales?

I think this is why Alex Jones goes on about the global elite wanting to kill 4/5 of us on the planet. Robots will take care of the rich and finally there will be enough resources to go around!




RE: March of the machines
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 6:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh if you had any logical point, our economy would have collapsed after the Industrial Revolution.

quote:
I think this is why Alex Jones


Alex Jones is a lunatic, just fyi.


RE: March of the machines
By Shig on 5/27/2014 6:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
The difference this time is we now have software that is complex enough to adapt, learn, have simple problem solving, and the ability to be made better though software patches.

Machines capable of decision making aren't the same things they had in the industrial revolution. This is a new revolution, must stronger and faster.

Robotics will allow small forces of man power to do enormous things, that is one of the primary reasons why wealth inequality is getting out of control. Modern super banks and the tech sector are perfect examples. Apple has 80k employees and has a market cap of 538 billion. Let's say in the future most companies are that efficient, that's like 95% of the global workforce not employed because machines + software is better.


RE: March of the machines
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 6:28:59 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Apple has 80k employees and has a market cap of 538 billion. Let's say in the future most companies are that efficient, that's like 95% of the global workforce not employed because machines + software is better.


But in order for Apple to make a profit, they need literally over a hundred thousand Chinese laborers in gigantic factories that are essentially small cities.

I don't see that changing overnight.

quote:
Robotics will allow small forces of man power to do enormous things, that is one of the primary reasons why wealth inequality is getting out of control.


Wait what???


RE: March of the machines
By Hakuryu on 5/27/2014 8:37:26 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
But in order for Apple to make a profit, they need literally over a hundred thousand Chinese laborers in gigantic factories that are essentially small cities.


They also need a large consumer base willing to buy their products. It always amazes me how many low wage or poor people that walk around with iPhones; including McDonald's workers.

Start getting rid of all the low paying jobs, and that huge base of customers for your own or other business products disappears. Apple isn't rich because all the rich people buy Apple phones; it's rich because of huge majority of middle class and below consumers that buys it's phones.

Replacing low wage jobs with robots almost sounds like biting the hand that feeds you.


RE: March of the machines
By Manch on 5/27/2014 6:32:00 PM , Rating: 2
I guess we should destroy technology then....


RE: March of the machines
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 6:43:59 PM , Rating: 3
RE: March of the machines
By Manch on 5/27/2014 6:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
If they smoked all that weed back then, they prolly would have never done that lol


RE: March of the machines
By Mint on 5/28/2014 11:00:18 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Uhh if you had any logical point, our economy would have collapsed after the Industrial Revolution.
It's not that simple. When jobs are lost to automation, new jobs to replace them are only created when the beneficiaries of the automation (the robot builders, the more profitable business, the customer, etc) create enough demand with those benefits. That used to be a given, but isn't anymore.

The demand can be direct through spending or reinvestment, or it can be indirect by saving and relying on the bank to reinvest in the economy (loans/mortgages). The latter used to be a great fallback for capitalism, as there were always enough reliable borrowers out there to lend your money to (well, 90% of it, as per FRB).

That's just not the case anymore. We saw what happens when the wealthy keep saving and the banks keep lending: Private debt soared to $42 trillion (300% of GDP!), and everything crashed, so can't go down that road of easy credit anymore.

Many of the mechanics of the pre-2008 economy aren't applicable anymore. Automation does indeed hurt employment now, because we're too selfish to share its benefits as much as needed.


RE: March of the machines
By Nutzo on 5/27/2014 6:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
Then go get some training on repairing robots. There should be plenty of those jobs in the future.

Your pay is limited by the value of what you can produce. If all you can produce is $8/hour, and they raise the minimun wage to $12, then your $8/hour job will be gone. Most likely it will be replaced by someone who can produce more, or by tech that can help someone else produce more.


RE: March of the machines
By retrospooty on 5/27/2014 8:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
"Then go get some training on repairing robots"

Exactly... this was the result of McDonalds wanting to replace people that make 8 bucks an hour that were asking for basically double that wage to do a job that is worth 8 bucks an hour. The low end skill set is worth 8 bucks an hour and they want to double their pay without learning any new skills. Sorry folks, this isnt Soviet Russia and you aren't going to get a high end paycheck with zero skills, you need to learn some skills. America is the land of plenty for those that reach for it not for those that sit on their ass and expect to be piad more than you are worth. Go back to high school and graduate so you can at least get a job worth that 15 eventually, assuming you aren't the guy going on break constantly or calling in sick too much you'll get there.


RE: March of the machines
By w8gaming on 5/27/2014 7:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
Future is not that grim yet. Metal costs money and rusts. Energy to power a heavy robot costs money. If population decrease so would be the sales and hence less income for the sellers.


RE: March of the machines
By marvdmartian on 5/28/2014 7:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I guess all that's left is the fast food/service industry, right?

Oh, wait......DAMN.


50x rule
By inperfectdarkness on 5/28/2014 3:58:39 AM , Rating: 4
I'm going to repeat myself at the risk of annoying everyone.

Instead of a federal minimum wage, we should have a MAXIMUM wage multiplier. That is to say, the top compensated employee in any company should not earn more total annual compensation than a set multiple of the wages for the lowest compensated employee in the company. In the food-service industry, this is ~1200x on average. Note that in the above inflation-adjusted chart for minimum wage over time, there was a peak in ~1968. This was about the same time that CEO pay reached about 50x of employee compensation (it was only ~20x in 1950).

Now here's what I propose. CEO compensation (total, not just what is currently considered to be "taxable", should not exceed this 50x margin. This means that if a CEO wants to be paid 1 million in annual compensation, the lowest-paid employee in the company would have to make an annual salary of $20,000 (based on a 50 week working year), or if you will, $10 per hour (2,000 working hours). Of course part-time employees will make less, but their pay--extrapolated for a 2,000 hour working year--cannot be lower than the 50x threshold.

The benefits of this should be fairly obvious:

First, it doesn't unfairly impact small business owners with an arbitrary minimum wage--they are extremely unlikely to breech 50x.

Second, it provides incentive for business tycoons to increase compensation for their employees as a means to increasing their own compensation.

Thirdly, it allows pay scales to flex naturally to consumer price indexes and inflation--rather than relying on government intervention to step in and regularly redefine what "lowest pay" should entitle.

Fourth, (tying in with #3), available labor is directly tied to available compensation and by extention the "leanness" of the company. Companies with lower overhead can afford to pay their employees more and the CEO compensation will be higher. Consequently, those jobs will be in greater demand and the talent pool will be better and the company can afford to be "pickier" about who it hires.

To couple with eliminating minimum wage & enacting the 50x rule, I agree that we need significant overhauls to the educational system--which ill-equips youth for the working world. Where I come from, there is no such thing as a 6.0 GPA, there are no "participant" trophies, and college entrace exams were extremely rigorous. If flipping burgers is the most qualified position a HS graduate (or worse COLLEGE graduate) can get, then that's a biblical failure of the educational system as an institution.

Machines replacing humans on this level of labor should not come as a surprise or a shock to anyone. There have already been legions of white-collar workers replaced with software compilers and data algorithms. Market-trending is not done by hand & hasn't been for years.




RE: 50x rule
By PaFromFL on 5/28/2014 8:51:06 AM , Rating: 3
Modern business practices in the USA are devolving into outright piracy. When the middle class was strengthened in the 50's and 60's, increased productivity resulted in increased wages across the board. Today the productivity gains only benefit those at the top and shareholders. While this is (currently) not illegal, the destruction of the middle class is bad for the long term health of the rich and powerful. The irritated majority may stage an Andrew-Jackson-style (or Teddy-Roosevelt-style) populist takeover, or may stage an outright revolution if the greedy minority (and their corporations) completes the destruction of the constitution and sets up a police state to protect their property.


RE: 50x rule
By Silvergoat on 5/28/2014 10:12:29 AM , Rating: 1
The United States boomed in the 50's because of WWII. The rest of the world's economies and populations were destroyed. No infrastructure, no jobs, no productivity. We were awesome because the competition was bombed out, dead, or trying to avoid starvation.
Today there's a lot of openings for the repairers of the infrastructure: mechanics, electricians, plumbers, auto repair, etc. But it's dirty, glamorous work-not the perky office gopher farms so many people want to inhabit.


RE: 50x rule
By The Von Matrices on 5/29/2014 5:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
You're assuming that decrepit infrastructure is due to a lack of persons to repair it? That couldn't be farther from the truth, unless you're expecting people to volunteer their time to rebuild bridges.

It's a financing issue, plain and simple. If someone (usually the government) puts out money to fix infrastructure, then there will be people who take the jobs to fix it. The 2008 stimulus provided money for infrastructure, and there was not a shortage of workers for the jobs financed. There are plenty of people who would be willing to work in construction - you just have to find the money to pay them.


RE: 50x rule
By sgestwicki on 5/31/2014 8:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
What you are saying makes a lot of sense and sounds great but off the top of my head there are two things that would have to change first. One is shell companies which the CEOs would use so it would be them and a couple of VPs in a management company that still gets paid a ridiculous amount of money. The other thing is outsourcing / contracting and I doubt we could stop that. If the CEO can get another company to do all the lower paid jobs then nothing would really change.


End corporate welfare
By tayb on 5/28/2014 10:50:53 AM , Rating: 1
McDonalds is able to profit billions annually due to their artificially lowered labor prices.

When they pay an employee $8/hour the public makes up the difference. Why should our taxes go to help McDonalds utilize cheap labor? Hell no.

End corporate welfare. McDonalds should pay a high enough hourly wage so that employees are not in poverty. No place in America should an employee be working 40 hours a week and remain in poverty.

Tax payers should not be subsidizing McDonalds. McDonalds should subsidize themselves.




RE: End corporate welfare
By M'n'M on 5/28/2014 12:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
McDonalds is able to profit billions annually due to their artificially lowered labor prices.

Huh ? The only artificial labor price is the min wage law. Otherwise supply and demand would have that wage even lower.

Here's a question for you. McD worker #1 is the classic teenager, lives at home while working part time as he goes to school. McD worker #2 is the kid that dropped out of high school, got his teenage girlfriend pregnant and is working a McDs part to support him, his GF and their 1 yr old baby. They live in a small apartment.

Who's "living wage" should be payed to both of them ? Or are you advocating that McD should pay them different amounts for the same work, based on their needs ?


RE: End corporate welfare
By Motoman on 5/28/2014 12:27:09 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The only artificial labor price is the min wage law.


No, the taxpayers are subsidizing McD's by paying welfare on top of the poverty-level wage the employee gets from flipping burgers. Hence, *all of us* are artifically lowering the labor price, because *all of us* are paying the burger-flippers in welfare, because McD's knows they can pay them far below the poverty level and the rest of us will make up the difference.


RE: End corporate welfare
By tayb on 5/28/2014 12:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
No, the artificial labor price is the price companies can pay knowing that their employees will make up the difference with public assistance. If there was no public assistance the minimum would HAVE to be higher. We are subsidizing corporations so that they can pay lower minimum wage and then tax payers are making up the difference.

Who do you have to deride McDonalds employees? Not every single person in this country can be an engineer. If everyone working at McDonalds went to school and received a degree we would be in the exact same situation we are right now except everyone would have student loan debt. There are not enough high paying jobs to be had. Do you understand that? If everyone followed the advice to go to school and get a better job people would still be flipping burgers at McDonalds.

A living wage is the amount of money it would take for a single person to survive in the general area of the business (say 50 mile radius), on their own, and without public assistance. That's it. We don't need to make a distinction between the 18 year old kid and the 55 year old man. The rest solves itself. If a single mother needs public assistance to help feed her family that is a unique situation outside of the scope of this discussion.

No single person should be working 40 hours a week and still need public assistance. Why should the public be helping McDonalds lower their labor prices? It's complete nonsense. McDonalds is scamming the entire American public.


RE: End corporate welfare
By M'n'M on 5/28/2014 6:56:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
No, the artificial labor price is the price companies can pay knowing that their employees will make up the difference with public assistance. If there was no public assistance the minimum would HAVE to be higher.

Why ? As I see it the job market would be exactly the same and the labor market (and skill mix) would be exactly the same. That same (relatively) large labor pool will still bid down the wages. Where are they going to go to get jobs ? There are enough people waiting to fill their positions if they decide not to work. This is your own argument in the next paragraph of your post ! For that matter I'd expect more downward pressure on wages as the loss of a job will have even graver circumstances for some, short of the min wage law. The only thing that will be different is the lives of the unskilled (now receiving assistance) would not be as forgiving.

quote:
A living wage is the amount of money it would take for a single person to survive in the general area of the business (say 50 mile radius), on their own, and without public assistance. That's it. We don't need to make a distinction between the 18 year old kid and the 55 year old man. The rest solves itself. If a single mother needs public assistance to help feed her family that is a unique situation outside of the scope of this discussion.

Why a single person ? Since people are complaining about public assistance to the working poor and how a "living wage" should mean nobody working needs assistance, I think you'll find your definition of a living wage is rather unique. And I tend to doubt it'll save those paying taxes any $$. Increase the min wage and it will result in job loss, even the GAO reports that. Those people will now have 0 income and need more assistance. I have to question what % of assistance is presently going to single males/females and how much is spent on families. That varies from state to state but since Clinton "ended welfare as we know it", the focus has been on supporting families with kids. And that's a lot higher level of assistance or min wage than most of min wage increases being discussed.

You must have seen the PBS show covering 2 families living outside (30 mi IIRC) Seattle and Tacoma. A single kid family (dad working, mom not, 1 preschool kid) would need 50k/yr to be off subsidies and on a "living wage" (per the U of Washington expert). The single mother w/2 kids, working at McDs and sharing an apartment ... 56k/year. That's a min wage of 25-28 $/hr. What do you say to those people ? Aren't we still subsidizing Mcds if we allow them to be on public assistance ? What jobs, if not all of them, should be a "living wage" and what jobs are just a stepping stone for the kids living at home ?


By dtprodromosr on 5/27/2014 7:16:12 PM , Rating: 5
"It's coming and sooner than we think. What the hell is humanity going to do? We can't all be doctors, lawyers, middle management, sales?

I think this is why Alex Jones goes on about the global elite wanting to kill 4/5 of us on the planet. Robots will take care of the rich and finally there will be enough resources to go around!"


Yes , the new technologies are probably coming faster than we imagine. But, do you think being a doctor or a lawyer will save your work ? To give an intuitive and concise answer, computers learnt to beat us in chess first then to walk and dance and then to comprehend what they read.

The elite may want to kill the masses and Alex Jones may be a lunatic, but there is no bigger fallacy than the propagated notion that we have become too many, that natural resources are not enough to sustain us, if not for any other reason but because we can exert birth control. See China and rejoice and India and feel idiotic. The only insufficiency of resources is in the sick fantasies of some Gollums who haven't yet abandoned the idea of world domination, and they see it as more difficult if they have to subjugate tens of billions instead of some meagre millions.

The new technologies can be very good for our advancement as a species, if we sit down and think of ways to better use our new capabilities. But we won't probably, as we like to fantasize of these technologies as something very distant that won't affect us. When they come they 'll find us unprepared and shocked, hence the conflicts that will arise.

If every job can be done by a machine(eventually it will be), then what will be done by us humans? Don't give me some false excuses that we will be doctors, lawyers and entrerpreneurs. The machines will outdo us in all of these tasks. If so, there won't be any meaning for labour as we think of it now, and the financial system will collapse because it will not have any meaning as it exists now.

So, rethinking our socioeconomic restructuring is the biggest imperative right now; not the nukes, not the human rights, not the middle east, not the global warming, not our alimentary habits, not the financial crisis, not the capitalism and the communism, not the religions etc etc. Accept it for the general good, or not and ask for trouble.




By The Von Matrices on 5/29/2014 5:34:46 PM , Rating: 1
The idea that people have to work for a living is outdated. Automation now means that the number of skilled jobs is lower than the number of possible workers. We shouldn't be keeping inefficient humans in positions that can be filled by robots just to ensure that everyone has a job.

What is needed is an incentive not to work. Eliminate all the complicated government assistance programs. Instead, provide a fixed stipend to every citizen whether they work or not - enough to pay for necessities but not much more. People who want more than the bare minimum can then choose to work to be able to afford luxuries. Many people will be completely happy with their stipend. If you squander your stipend on non-necessities, then you are on your own - no governmental assistance to bail you out. Force people to budget their money instead of having the government provide specialized funding for each aspect of one's life.

Such a plan eliminates all the government bureaucracy, decreases the size of government, and solves the unemployment issue all at once. It will require some increase in taxation, but there will also be tremendous savings from reducing the size of government. There will be plenty of people who are opposed to it on the basis of it being close to socialism but there's no better way if you care at all about preventing poverty and reducing civil unrest while still allowing technology to advance.


Big Macs in Oz
By Wombat_56 on 5/27/2014 9:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
Another thing to note about Macdonalds in Australia is that they have most efficient, lowest staffing levels stores, especially compared to America. They work those kids' furry little butts off.




RE: Big Macs in Oz
By Alexvrb on 5/27/2014 11:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
See Wombat, now THAT is a great factoid that the mainstream media over here refuses to acknowledge. But if you extrapolate that to our situation? If they double wages here in America, expect staff to decrease. Some of the very same people protesting their wages will lose their jobs! The remainder will work harder for their money, or someone else will replace them.


RE: Big Macs in Oz
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2014 2:39:25 AM , Rating: 2
Another thing to mention is the cost of living in Australia, rent, electricity, water, fuel is more expensive, that's offset somewhat by free health and dental which could be going the way of the dodo soon.

So really, the extra "income" that the higher minimum wage brings is often for naught in some places.

The main social difference between Australia and America generally comes down to... Australians work to live, whilst Americans live to work.


By NellyFromMA on 5/28/2014 11:40:16 AM , Rating: 3
Frankly, these sad state of affairs are occurring in a variety of other sectors as well.

Our government over the passed several decades has made decisions that have ramped up inflation while off-shoring production which is the real cause of virtually all of these discussions.

Bottom-line: Over time, income hasn't scaled with inflation, and corporations and the government alike have put the burden on the middle class (go figure)

Half of these people probably didn't have a fighting chance. A large segment of each generation seems to have less and less of a chance as well. Perhaps if their parents (if they are even around) hadn't had to fight harder and harder to stay afloat, they could have spend more time on their families, preparing them for life.

Public hand-outs compound the issue further, but they are side-effect, hardly the cause. The compensation has become so necessary that families are now dependant on public assistance altogether. Again a side-effect, not the cause.

The cold hard truth is there are too many of us, not enough good food, and a small few with so much money that they decide how we live and a government / economy that actually encourages this type of behavior.

What a sad-state of affairs, really. What's worse is that we have now become so detached from those realities that we condescend those who work in these minimum-wage positions and belittle them, as if it implies they are there because they are dumb or lazy. Life is more complicated than that.




By kbsubs on 6/2/2014 10:39:27 AM , Rating: 2
A very nice summary overall.

quote:
The cold hard truth is there are too many of us, not enough good food, and a small few with so much money that they decide how we live and a government / economy that actually encourages this type of behavior.


IMO this is the root of the problem.

It should be such that each additional million earned should be harder than the previous, as in the natural world, but not as with the laws we have allowed to be created.

That there are too many of us is probably more emotive, but a line needs to be drawn where we are responsible for our own division of limited resources.


A few observations
By Keeir on 5/28/2014 12:16:59 AM , Rating: 2
#1. Apparently the rest of us are getting screwed. Productivity for most industries rises FASTER than pay. Fast Food apparently is also to just kind of... stay put.

#2. McDonalds makes on average around 64,000 dollars per employee in sales. The Boeing Company makes around 516,000 dollars per employee. Microsoft makes 786,000 dollars per employee.

#3. McDonalds makes around 23,000 per employee in profit. The Boeing Company makes around 49,000 per employee in profit. Microsoft makes around 308,000 per employee in profit.

#4. McDonalds pay and benefits comes to around 15,000 per employee. The Boeing Company's pay and benefits comes to around 42,000 per employee. Microsoft's pay and benefits comes to around 140,000 per employee.

Notice a trend in 2,3,4? If McDonald's/Fast workers truly believe they deserve 30,000-35,000 a year in pay and benefits, they need to be able to come close to doubling their productivity. Since I doubt people will consume 2x as much fast food... that means that 50% of the current work force will need to do something else.




RE: A few observations
By TheSlamma on 5/28/2014 9:02:48 AM , Rating: 2
This was pretty easy to see when this first started with the $12 an hour protests. Growing up for me fast food jobs were seen as a spot for HS and college students to start out till they got a real skill or education and moved on. When people tried to change that and make it a "career" replacing those workers will be the trend.

If it was still the minimum wage stepping stone it once was with workers who came and went then it would have more overhead to replace with robots then it would to just keep that entry level employee. Normally I don't side with the rich but in this case it's lazy people who are seeking out a drone job to create a "career" out of who are bringing this down on themselves.


Math?
By Namey on 5/28/2014 1:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
"Last year McDonald's served 68 million customers worldwide daily at its 35,000+ restaurants"

68,000,000 customers / 35,000 restaurants / 365 days = a little over 5 customers per restaurant per day

That seems off. How could a McDonalds restaurant survive off 5 customers a day? Unless they all ordered as much food as I do...




RE: Math?
By retrospooty on 5/28/2014 2:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
Word problem format is off...

68,000,000 customers daily / 35,000 restaurants = 1943 customers per day per restaurant (average)

You cant divide the daily # of 1943 by 365, that would be just a few minutes for that 5 customers.


Greed is the problem.
By Dug on 5/27/2014 11:18:16 PM , Rating: 3
The calculator doesn't do anything.
The cost of labor, insurance, taxes, transportation, health care, housing, education, materials, and entertainment dictate wage, not inflation.

Why do you thing wages differ so much state to state or even city to city?
Employers actually would provide more if they knew their employees would be happy. It costs less to keep someone than to rehire and train.
This is why private companies are thriving. They don't have to answer to the stock market and this belief that you need 30% more profits year after year. (Which has been shown to be impossible.)

You look at something like Budweiser that sold out even though the company was making millions every year. If they didn't have to answer to the stock holders, everyone would have been happy. But noooo, the stock holders decided they needed even more, which is completely stupid, when you have a consistent and stable income already.

So the real problem comes down to greed.




The moral of the story...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/27/2014 9:09:38 PM , Rating: 2
Don't expect flipping burgers to get you in the 1%. Does that really need to be written?




I do...
By hrrmph on 5/27/2014 10:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
...enjoy Jason's articles. They are very entertaining and he does dig deep by researching things quite well. But, I wish he would get a better robot to handle spelling, grammar, and sentence construction.




Good job Mick
By flyingpants1 on 5/27/2014 10:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
Monster article Mick. Good job!!




Fast food robots
By Silvergoat on 5/28/2014 10:03:16 AM , Rating: 2
Your article is interesting, but condensed, it is a demand for the $15 minimum wage. Ok, but realize that automation will replace the fast food workers resulting in people making NO MONEY.
McDonalds and multiple other vendors are already using automation as data entry. Go into a Chili's and you see it. Steak houses in the Minn-St. Paul airport have it.
Then there's Momentum Technology's automated custom burger maker that will recoup the investment within one year at current minimum wage....a no brainer investment if the $15/hr gets passed.
The only people that the $15/hr minimum wage will help are the unions, because their contracts are minimum wage based. If the minimum goes up $7/hr their contracts go up $7/hr too. Except the unionists won't be replaced at the fast food counter.
If minimum wage goes up, it will be a Pyrrhic victory, with few fast food minimum wage jobs left.




By Shadowmaster625 on 5/28/2014 10:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
I cannot believe that there are enough stupid frickin retarded dumbasses out there to the point that wall street is able to suck $5 billion a year out of them. Anyone who gives money to this trash company is just a piece of slime. Look at wendy's in comparison. A meager $45M in profit to wall street. That's a little on the low side, but much more in line with something that is reasonable.




Australia Prices
By KFZ on 5/28/2014 11:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
So AUS balanced the problem by partitioning teens and paying them lower wages than adults. According to one of the statistics in the post, US teens are only 30% of the workforce in the fast food industry. I don't see how they can balance $12-15/hr for the 70%. It even sounds like, in AUS, relatively fewer adults work in their fast food industry.

But what really sticks out at me when I read about higher wages not inflating prices in Australia: don't they *already* have higher consumer prices compared to the US? Is their minimum wage only keeping up with the cost of living?




It's a good thing
By hduser on 5/28/2014 12:36:50 PM , Rating: 2
The robots won't spit in my food until after they've achieved sentience.




Get Real
By Ammohunt on 5/28/2014 1:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
its not "The Corporations" responsibility to provide anyone with a "Livable wage" or even a job. its sad that kids nowadays are not taught how to earn a living they come out of High School or College expecting money to fall out of the sky. They have been sold the lie that College Degree = High Paying job. In America working hard = livable wage and the opportunity for a high paying job after a few years. $15 a hour at McDonalds equals McDonalds going out of business and none of these diphsits having jobs.




Thank you, Mr. Roboto,
By ProZach on 5/29/2014 4:46:08 AM , Rating: 2
...for not asking the question, "Would you like fries with that?"

At the risk of sounding like a franchise supporter, I don't see the harm in raising the status quo by implementing machines that do jobs that people are not especially proud of holding. Those people might get determined to look into other areas of employment or entrepreneurship.

Several times I got the worst during my infrequent visits (averaging less than three times a month) because I try to be nice to the workers. Then again, having a machine system would probably make me gain weight. Fast food is not great for the average person's metabolism.




Fantastic article
By Grimer21 on 5/29/2014 11:28:32 AM , Rating: 2
This was a fantastic article, very informative. Thank you for the hard work and gathering all of the hard facts and easy-to-understand graphs, etc.

My two cents: as a regular fast-food customer (something I'm not particularly proud of, but hey) I would much rather have a robot take my order and make my food than the sweating, coughing, sneezing, prone to mistakes human being that does now. My order is wrong more often than not, sloppily thrown together, and god knows what contaminates are in it.

Bring on the robots!




By letmepicyou on 5/29/2014 9:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
Eliminating jobs through automation has been the way of doing things for thousands of years. People tend to forget the one invention that single handedly put millions out of work virtually overnight, the TRACTOR. Yet we never drive by fields decrying the evils of modern mechanization while the farmer plows with his John Deere. What we NEED to do is fix the economic problem that currently exists within the system of wage slavery we operate under now. The idea we have to work our fingers to the bone "flipping burgers" while we make the CEO of the company we toil for billions is a system that is FUBAR. Corrections need to be made, painful at first, but which will bring about a much improved system.




Re: Australia solution
By casket on 5/29/2014 11:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
On paying older workers double the salary... although that might be fair... that would certainly open the door to "Age Discrimination Lawsuits" and/or a class action lawsuit by all of the teens in the future looking for back pay.

I think there is something lousy about a wealthy corporation saying... we do not value our employees at all... and as such pay the lowest wages the law allows... come work for us. And screw the rest of you tax payers too... you can pay half of our employees salaries... since they are on welfare and we pay so little.

As for the robots... go for it. If you can make it work, then that's the future. Restaurants are a service industry. Will customers buy from the robots... or will they go to burger king? I don't know.

Maybe profitable companies with over 1000 employees, should be held to a higher standard. Should be required by law to pay a higher wage. These companies that are "too big to fail", that we have all subsidized for years, and yet they feel no corporate responsibility to their Employees.




McDonald's jobs
By Silvergoat on 5/31/2014 9:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
Face it, when the activists push the minimum wage beyond the break even point, something will happen to the jobs. Already McDonalds has touch screen self orders kiosks that take away jobs of cashiers.
Momentum Machines ( http://momentummachines.com/ ) has a robotic burger flipper that will custom cook your burger to your specs. It will pay for itself within one year at current minimum wage. Less than 6 months if the activists get their way. And it won't get sick, or take a dump in the sink, or sneeze on your food, or drop hair.
Yet the activists will howl when these jobs disappear, never acknowledging their role in destroying a job segment that paid someone.




By bupkus on 6/2/2014 10:07:41 AM , Rating: 2
so this passes for news?
This is nothing more than a politically paid advertisement.

We're all going to hell.




By Arsynic on 5/28/2014 3:53:00 PM , Rating: 1
Poof! Magic wand turns crap paying job to better paying job.

People actually moving up in life is harmful to the Democrat party.




Wow, just, wow...
By BaronMatrix on 5/28/2014 5:12:32 PM , Rating: 1
Some of you white guys are living in a fantasy world...




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