How Much is $15 per Hour, Really: Understanding money and how its measured

Somehow the world has gone insane. I place the blame on our educations system, but that is even too general. It really comes down to the basic philosophies that we function from as a species—the thought processes which defines our motivations. The insanity is endemic from modern Greece to the local high school kid working at a fast-food restaurant. Most people today do not understand that money is a measurement of productivity and that without productivity it has little value. Matt Walsh from The Blaze incited great controversy during the third week of April 2015 when he properly articulated the demand from the workers of fast food—specifically in Seattle—to be paid $15 dollars an hour. Even Bill O’Reilly has come out in favor of a minimum wage increase to something in the ten-dollar per hour range—and the movement has migrated as far away as Brazil—which is a functioning socialist country. I can understand that Brazil doesn’t understand the economic value McDonald’s brings to their country, but Seattle, Washington should know better. They obviously don’t.

Fast food workers are being incited into a frenzy by socialist organizations to increase the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour which is simply astonishing to me. By watching the videos on this site—all of them—especially the PBS video, it is just astonishing that so many people do not understand the value of money and have not been taught that their actions—their choices in life—have a direct impact on the results of their life. It wasn’t that long ago that I worked fast food and made only $6 to $7 dollars an hour. I have worked in those places—several of them, and I always appreciated the job. I have worked at McDonald’s, Frisch’s, Wendy’s and had success in those places. I worked hard and used those jobs as a platform to re-launch my life after devastating events that pulled the rug out from under my family at times. I have had much harder conditions in my life than the woman shown in the PBS video above, let me reiterate that. Yet I never contemplated that I should make $15 dollars an hour for that labor. I never contemplated, or lobbied to make $10 per hour.   I never planned to live off a fast food job, just to supplement my income so I could keep my wife home with my children. I used fast food jobs as a second job—and I enjoyed the work. I love eating at McDonald’s—to this very day. I love all the places I ever worked, and I appreciated the opportunities they afforded me. Yet we are dealing with an entitlement culture that expects to sit around and get paid for nothing—no actual productivity. Instead, they always think to cheat the system to their advantage and wish to place the burden for their lives on their employer. And they have completely lost touch with how much $15 an hour is in our current economy and what measure it has in value to productivity. To comprehend that read the Matt Welsh quote below followed by the two links.

Dear fast food workers,

It’s come to my attention that many of you, supposedly in 230 cities across the country, are walking out of your jobs today and protesting for $15 an hour. You earnestly believe — indeed, you’ve been led to this conclusion by pandering politicians and liberal pundits who possess neither the slightest grasp of the basic rules of economics nor even the faintest hint of integrity — that your entry-level gig pushing buttons on a cash register at Taco Bell ought to earn you double the current federal minimum wage.

I’m aware, of course, that not all of you feel this way. Many of you might consider your position as Whopper Assembler to be rather a temporary situation, not a career path, and you plan on moving on and up not by holding a poster board with “Give me more money!” scrawled across it, but by working hard and being reliable. To be clear, I am not addressing the folks in this latter camp. They are doing what needs to be done, and I respect that.

Instead, I want to talk to those of you who actually consider yourselves entitled to close to a $29,000 a year full-time salary for doing a job that requires no skill, no expertise and no education; those who think a fry cook ought to earn an entry-level income similar to a dental assistant; those who insist the guy putting the lettuce on my Big Mac ought to make more than the emergency medical technician who saves lives for a living; those who believe you should automatically be able to “live comfortably,” as if “comfort” is a human right.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/04/19/grow-up-blaze-readers-react-to-matt-walshs-message-for-fast-food-workers-who-demand-15-an-hour/

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/fast-food-workers-you-dont-deserve-15-an-hour-to-flip-burgers-and-thats-ok/

A monetary value is not a “human right.” If all those fast food workers were paid $15 dollars an hour the measurement of that money would be inflated beyond market parameters. That means that instead of an Xbox game costing $59 it would soon cost roughly $89 dollars because a disproportionate number of the economic population have been paid roughly double their market value without productivity matching it. The value of a video game would be the same, but the measurement of that value would be inflated. The numerical values would be $89 instead of $59—that’s called inflation. So raising the minimum wage does not create wealth. The “world government” will never defeat “poverty” as they pretend to by throwing good money at bad—unproductive behavior. It will never, ever, work—not in a hundred million years. The “rich” can never be looted enough to make the “poor” have value because the bad, unproductive behavior that makes people poor is never dealt with.

Take the woman in the PBS piece, described above. She seems like a nice lady—she’s a line trainer at McDonald’s and wants a “living wage.” She has a criminal background, children without a father in the home, an old car that eats up her money as fast as she makes it and a number of other conditions that she caused for herself to toss her life into an existence of poor productive value. The work she does at McDonald’s is entry-level work and does not command a respectable salary of $15 dollars an hour—which is roughly $29,000 per year. In a dual income home if both husband and wife make $29,000 per year the household income is roughly $58,000 per year which is actually above the average in the United States which in 2013 was $51,939. That’s not bad—it’s a respectable amount of money. To make that kind of money and still keep my wife home with my children I often worked two full-time jobs at approximately that value to bring home the average household median income needed to live off of. Obviously a job at McDonald’s did not pay $15 dollars an hour; it only paid something like $6.50. I would have to work a decent full-time job with some overtime on the weekends to close the gap. I never, no matter how hard things were—expected value for tasks that the market didn’t support.

When I had economics in college I don’t remember it being overtly liberal. At least there the professors seemed to enjoy money as a measurement of GDP and understood these things. So it is baffling how so many people these days believe otherwise. In my levy fights with teachers in the affluent school district I live in where the average median income is around $90,000—well about the national average, I have seen many of the same arguments. Those government employees believe incorrectly that because they teach in such an affluent area that they have the same worth to instruct children essentially liberal points of view. They ignore the laws of economics with the same disregard that someone who wishes to fly might ignore the laws of physics and jump off a cliff expecting to float. Their average wage rate at the government school of Lakota is upwards of $63,000 per year per teacher which is outrageously high for services offered which is essentially a glorified babysitter while those high income earning parents build their careers at the expense often of their families.   The teachers in that case were like the fast food workers expecting a union wage that exceeds the market value of the task they offer. The reason I bring it up is because that same lack of economic understanding has been taught to our children so that by the time they enter the job pool they expect jobs at McDonald’s at $15 per hour which is just ridiculous. Such a wage rate breaks the laws of productive equity—the tasks of a burger maker at McDonald’s is not worth the market value of an average income earner in the United States. If McDonald’s were forced to pay such a rate the cost of their services would have to go up to meet the labor because the measurement of that productive effort has a fixed market presence that is rooted to the demand for the product produced—and the effort to produce it. Anyone who doesn’t understand that needs to re-learn everything in their life—because their foundation beliefs are totally incorrect.

I have heard for years what many wealthy people have heard often—why do I have things that others do not—why can I live in a nice area while others cannot? The answer is that it is unlikely that anybody reading this has the ability or the desire to out-work me. I’ve never met a single person who can outwork me. I’m sure somebody out there can challenge my efforts, but it’s highly unlikely they can constantly surpass my work ethic. And of the people I know who are affluent, that is the case in all of them. Very few people just fall off the wagon and make millions of dollars.

I shake my head constantly at the people who buy lottery tickets at a convenience store and actually scratch off the numbers on their steering wheels hoping to win $10 to $1000 dollars for nothing. The same agony is seen in any casino where desperate lazy people toss fate to the wind hoping to win a jackpot of money that thousands of fools have tossed a little bit into. What a stupid idea—lottery tickets and gambling. Everyone who wins such jackpots blows the money nearly as quickly as they made it because the money is not representative of any productive measurement—just wishful sentiment of being able to sit on their ass and buy things without doing anything productive to earn those things. That is not the American dream. That type of behavior is just as stupid as the fast food worker hoping to make an average income by doing nothing more than showing up for an entry-level job.

I blame our education system for these radial and stupid ideas that young people have today. Now we have several generations of people who don’t understand basic economic theories and they actually believe they are entitled to something because their mothers gave birth to them. Teachers believe the community owes them something because they baby sit their children, and the students of those teachers believe that everybody owes them something just because they are human beings—and they are all dreadfully wrong. Dreadfully! $15 dollars an hour is a lot of money—it’s higher than the national average. Just giving that monetary value to people won’t increase the purchasing power of those people. It won’t end poverty. And it won’t make the world a better place. The only way to make the world better is to get up off your ass and work. Work hard—do so every day, and never stop working—and you might earn the right to make $15 an hour. Anything less than that will cause inflation—and that is not beneficial to anybody, anywhere.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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