How to Make A Million $$ with Burritos and Burgers

I believe in a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.  The difficulty is defining the term "fair."  Reasonable people can differ as to what "fair" means.  Ah, the devil is in the details! 

The push for an increased minimum wage has been emphasized recently, particularly in the fast food and retail industries.  Advocates of higher wages want to see a $15 minimum wage.  To me, $15 for flipping a burger or greeting me at the store with a shopping cart is too much money.  It's a job a high school student could perform.  Unfortunately, for many reasons, parents are in those jobs supporting families.  But do we increase the minimum wage because we feel sympathy for those persons stuck performing menial labor?  One fair person could persuasively argue yes.  Another fair person could persuasively argue no. 

Personally, I believe that low-paying jobs have great value.  I have had plenty of low paying jobs.  In my teens I worked as a laborer in the construction industry in the hot Arizona sun at $3 per hour.  I also worked my way through college in food service industry earning a meager wage.  If nothing else, those jobs convinced me that an education is something I wanted. 

But if I had only known what I learned today, perhaps I would have stayed in food services.  USA Today did a survey to find out what the top earners at several restaurant and retail businesses.  (Read about it here --  The top burrito (otherwise known as the CEO) at Chipotle's makes $$13,489 per hour.  But that assumes that Mr. Moran works a 40-hour workweek.  He is more likely working 60-hour weeks.  At that pace, his hourly wage drops to a paltry $8,993. 

Mexican food, it turns out, is a better job than baking bread.  Panera Bread's CEO makes only $862 per hour (assuming 60 hours per week).  At that rate, it takes poor Mr. Shaich an entire month to earn enough money to pay cash for the median home in the USA.  Of course, he probably takes a big hit on taxes so it might be two months before he could buy that house outright. 

What is fair?  It seems to me that it is something less than $9K per hour.  But what do I know?  Perhaps Mr. Moran is really, really good at what he does.  But is he that good?  

Take Your Lunch To Work On August 29th -- Striking Fast Food Workers

Employees at fast food restaurants and retail stores are planning a nationwide strike on Thursday, August 29th.  So don't count on a burger at lunch.  Instead, dine at an expensive restaurant, or even better yet, bring a lunch from home. 

Workers are protesting the low minimum wage found throughout the nation.  In California, that minimum wage is $8 per hour, or $16,640 per year, provided the employee works 40 hours per week.  That's certainly not enough to live on in California, except in the most humble of circumstances. 

City council and mayoral candidates in Seattle are suggesting that the minimum wage in the Emerald City increase to $15 per hour.  That equates to $31,200 per year, just $2,000 under the threshhold for an exempt salary in California. 

The Christian Science Monitor has a good article on the subject.  According to an economist at UC Davis, a jump to $15 per hour would increase prices just 4 to 5 percent.  Of course, business interests contend that these increases will drive business out of town.  Of course, education and the aquisition of skills is the best solution to a low paying job.  However, this is much easier said than done.  So is raising the minimum wage the answer? 

I am waiting for the day a politician takes up the cause of the business owner.  I know many of them who have worked like dogs, and lived like dogs, for long periods of time hoping that their dreams succeed.  Some made it and some didn't.  Too bad the Seattle politicians weren't there to guarantee a minimum rate of return on their work efforts! 

Check out the article at 

Post Script:  To see who really sued, look at Jared Callister's blog, California Tax Review, for August 31st.  Turns out while workers worked, the SEIU paid people to impersonate strikers.  Another brilliant move by a less than stellar organization!