California just signed off on a $15.00 minimum wage for its workers. Per Forbes, this will not actually improve the standard of living for those it was intended to help: the poor. There are a number of factors to consider, but chief among those is the percentage of minimum wage employees living below the poverty line. Only about 20%. The rest are above the line, such as teenagers of wealthy families. In households below the poverty line, 57% of those households have zero people even working. Think about that for a minute. Also consider that many jobs pay more than minimum, but now are part time. Over 95% of working Americans are paid more than minimum wage for their jobs.
Also consider the economic impact. Where are minimum wage workers employed. Who shops or buys services at those establishments? The well off, or the middle class, or the poor? Who is going to take the hit on paying the cost passed on to the consumer.
Philosophically, the market should determine what this kind of labor is worth. If its not worth fifteen dollars an hour, that means companies will have to lose money on sales or increase prices, or fire people. Simply assuming that this will magically work out is economic ignorance. These protestors want fifteen dollars for contributing seven dollars worth of service.
On a more anecdotal and personal note, I will definitely act differently toward minimum wage employees in California and other locations where it is becoming the law. I used to drive away from the drive-thru thinking, “Oh, they forgot napkins.” Or, “Oh, they forgot ketchup.” I would live with it because I expected a certain quality from minimum wage workers. Not any more. You want that fifteen, you’re going to earn it. You’re going to get an earful and I’m going to pull your manager over when you fill the cup to the top with ice, turn my chocolate shake to soup because you blended it for five minutes, and forgot my order of French fries. I don’t care if I’m holding up your drive-thru. Remember that time you screamed and whined because you wanted your pay doubled? You’re about to earn it.