Wednesday, June 7, 2017

$15? Why not $25?

"Having kids 1) graduate and 2) graduate knowing something would be much more of a help than coming up with an artificial and mandatory minimum salary." 

Minneapolis is creeping ever closer to a new minimum wage of $15/hour. This is so revolutionary, it is scary! Well, not really. The Burger King down the road has had a huge painted sign on one of their windows for over a year which says, "Help wanted! Make up to $15/hour!" I have been to that Burger King. The service has much to be desired. $15 hour? No comment here from the Bird.

I told this story a few years ago. Mayor Joe of Garage Logic  fame gave some sage advice when the city of St. Paul wanted to mandate that anyone who did work in the city had to make $9/hour (this was years ago). $9/hour was referred to by the proponents as a "livable wage". Joe, in his typical logical way, said the following - "$9/hour is not livable. You can't raise a family on that much. If they want to call a wage livable, make it $20/hour." Of course, that was just tongue in cheek. 

I just read another article in a tech blog last week. About the coming new industrial revolution. Where the jobs will be. Heads up kids - they ain't going to be a Micky Dee's. No, the jobs of the future (and that be the very near term future) are going to be making things which make things. Translation = robotics and AI. Many of the low tech, unskilled jobs are going bye-bye. Not overseas to be done by cheaper labor - they will be done right here by something which does not need a salary or benefits.

We can march and protest or whatever all we want about $15/hour. The city of Minneapolis would like to have this new minimum wage fully baked in by 2022. That is fine - it will give some of the businesses who are on the edge financially, time to figure out their exit strategy. To flee from the confines of Minneapolis. You see, when your business is operating on the skinniest of all margins, having to pay someone a minimum of $15, $25, or $50 is irrelevant. Any one of those wages (as a minimum) would be a business killer.

Hanging on to our jobs from yesterday is like beating a dead horse. Right now we have a rapidly growing mismatch in our country of jobs needed, and skills offered. It has been said many of the kids in grade school will be working at jobs which don't even exist right now. With chance favoring the prepared mind, we are nothing close to being prepared for what is coming in the next five to ten years.

Good luck Minneapolis. By the way, if you really wanted to help your youth make more money, try fixing your broken education system. Right now it really sucks. Having kids 1) graduate and 2) graduate knowing something would be much more of a help than mandating an artificial minimum salary. 


  1. Entry level jobs like fast food should not be a career choice, but a stepping stone to more permanent, albeit less secure positions that pay enough to raise a family. Companies should partner with vocational schools so the curriculum matches the needs. Wind, solar, robotics, AI, construction, renovation, healthcare all need workers trained specifically for the job. If our youth saw a trade school path to something tangible, they would quit jumping into college, with little chance of getting a job commensurate with their debt.

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