Don’t you just love it when the business lobby and their toadies in the far right think tanks get all misty-eyed about the fate of those poor, poor workers who will supposedly be so much worse off if the minimum wage rises substantially?
You know the rap:
“Hey, it would be great if workers could make much higher wages in industries like fast food, but if they did, the employers would all go out of business and all those workers would be out of jobs. See, it’s those poor, minority kids we really care about. We’re fighting to keep the minimum wage low and maybe even do away with it for their sake.”
The next time someone lays this yarn on you, tell them to check out this article in yesterday’s New York Times about life as a fast food worker in Denmark. As reporters Liz Alderman and Steve Greenhouse discovered, decent wages and the fast food industry are not at all mutually exclusive:
“On a recent afternoon, Hampus Elofsson ended his 40-hour workweek at a Burger King and prepared for a movie and beer with friends. He had paid his rent and all his bills, stashed away some savings, yet still had money for nights out.
That is because he earns the equivalent of $20 an hour — the base wage for fast-food workers throughout Denmark and two and a half times what many fast-food workers earn in the United States.
‘You can make a decent living here working in fast food,’ said Mr. Elofsson, 24. ‘You don’t have to struggle to get by.’”