Category Archives: Minimum Wage

The Myth Of The Fast-Food Worker Replacement Terminal

If you have engaged in or observed the debate over raising the minimum wage, chances are you have seen the meme below, of a terminal in a fast-food restaurant which allows you to order and pay for your food in the place of an actual person.

15Hour

This meme is nonsense, based on faulty logic.  The fact is, if corporations found it cost-effective enough to replace humans with machines, they would do it, regardless of whether the minimum wage goes up or not.  Do people who get behind the mentality of this meme actually think that companies haven’t implemented terminals on a widespread basis and replaced minimum wage workers already, out of the kindness of their hearts?  Please.  The reason they haven’t is either the cost, or the fact that it would not be popular with all customers.

Think about how often you hear people complain about not being able to speak to a living, breathing person when dealing with the bank or the phone company, for instance.  Many human customer service representatives have been cut by companies in favor of automated systems, to the dismay of many customers who have situations that are either still too complicated for a machine to process efficiently, or who are just annoyed with the monotonous, robotic button-pushing that is required before speaking to someone who can finally address whatever issue they may be having.

As simplified as fast-food has become, there are still bound to be situations where an actual person is required to process an order.  In addition, many people still value the human contact and interaction as part of the experience of grabbing a bite to eat.  Supermarket cashiers have not been replaced by self-checkout lanes, which serves as a perfect example of how humans and machines can co-exist, without one completely replacing the other.

The fact is, many of us will probably be replaceable by a machine or computer at some point in the future, to a certain degree. This doesn’t mean that people don’t deserve a decent, living wage in the meantime.

It’s Way Past Time To Raise The Minimum Wage

 

Minimum Wage

According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, raising the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 would save the government (taxpayers) approximately $7.6 billion a year for assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, housing and cash assistance, and WIC.

Instead, people who currently make minimum wage, which are 88% adult (contrary to right-wing myths) and over the age of 20, fall below the federal poverty line if they have only one child.  Of all of the people who rely on the government to get by, half of them make less than $10.10 an hour.

The Minimum Wage Act of 2014 would raise the current minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and would also tie the wage to the rate of inflation, to keep those wage earners from continuing to fall behind.  Yet, it has been stalled in Congress by Republicans.

It only makes sense for working and middle-class Americans to support raising the minimum wage, because if it stagnates at current levels, the tax burden of filling in the gap will fall upon them anyway.  Why not have corporations, who have been posting record profits, do more of their part, instead of allowing their workers to live in poverty or rely on government funds, which are paid for by taxpayers?

It’s time for America to get a raise.  Let’s stop footing the bill for corporations.