It never ceases to amaze how millionaire and billionaire CEOs, and the boards and shareholders electing them, disregard the fact that without the hard work and dedication of their employees their profitable corporations would be non-existent. It is difficult to fathom exactly when the majority of big businesses embraced a predatory stance toward the people that create their wealth and profits, but it probably goes back to the New Deal when working for slave-wage was virtually abolished and government began enacting workers’ rights laws and regulations.
One of those laws the business world convinced Republicans to work toward eliminating forever is the minimum wage to create greater profits and more poverty. Since they have been unable to abolish the minimum wage thus far, their only option is blocking an increase. When President Obama began calling for a minimum wage hike seven years ago, Republicans were apoplectic; it has only gotten worse since then.
Two years ago former House speaker John Boehner said he would commit suicide before he ever vote to raise the minimum wage. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised the Koch brothers that he was not going to waste any time even listening to Democrats talking about “gosh darn things like raising the minimum wage.” There are plenty of Republicans who still vehemently want the minimum wage abolished, but they lack the votes and control of the White House to make it a reality.
Now, the CEO of Carl’s Jr. fast food franchises is threatening to eliminate the corporation’s workforce completely because the Democratic candidates for the White House are campaigning on higher wages to combat poverty and income inequality. His idea, one he claims his cohorts in the fast-food industry are ardently behind, is investing in mechanization to be rid of human employees once and for all; he is sick and tired of paying the people that make him and his corporations filthy rich.
The CEO, Andy Puzder, is the head of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast food restaurants and he has had it with “Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and progressive economists who push ‘very hard’ to raise the minimum wage;” something he says is “a very serious problem.” Puzder doesn’t like paying employees a penny over poverty wages, so he plans on eliminating their jobs completely rather than raise the minimum wage. Puzder said, “Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?” For the record, a higher minimum wage does not kill jobs.
Puzder continued that, “If you’re making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive — this is not rocket science. They (machines) are always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” Puzder also contends that customers really hate interacting with other human beings and would much rather deal with a machine that “grills a burger and takes an order because the technology is even more precise than human employees. You order on a kiosk, you pay with a credit or debit card, your pre-made order pops up, and you never have to see a living person.”
Those arguments are pure bovine excrement and a cover for the real motivation behind Puzder and his ilk’s opposition to human workers; they detest paying employees whether it is poverty wages or not. Puzder made the news a while back for railing against President Obama’s crusade to provide overtime pay for so-called “salaried” employees earning minimum wages. Puzder wrote a couple of op-eds in the Wall Street Journal claiming that “managers in name only” love working excessive overtime hours for free. His contention is that low wages or not, “they prefer the sense of accomplishment that comes from being labeled a ‘salaried manager’ to being paid for their overtime hours.”
Now, it is despicable enough that corporate-types like Puzder and Republicans protest they have to pay workers at all, and are violently opposed to a minimum wage hike, but that the American people are subsidizing their workforce to the tune of $153 billion a year while they complain is beyond the pale. Look, Puzder says that hiking the minimum wage is “making labor more expensive,” but for well over a couple of decades the people have made labor much less expensive by funding food stamps, healthcare, and tax credits for the underpaid and over-worked minimum wage workforce; as Puzder said, “this is not rocket science.”
It is also not rocket science that the American people are weary of watching cretins like Puzder wallow in the wealth created by poverty wage employees and forfeiting their hard-earned tax dollars to support those barely subsisting on slave wage. The truth is that Puzder is not enamored by machines, and if he was able to force his employees to work for 50-cents an hour his love affair with automation would vanish in a heartbeat.
Americans should be outraged that low-wage employers, from Walmart to McDonalds to Carl’s Jr. complain perpetually that government is driving up the cost of labor, when the dirty plutocrats know damn well that government and the taxpayers have kept their cost of labor extremely low and highly profitable for the corporations. It is just not free labor and the only reason why these millionaire and billionaire CEOs pant to replace human workers with machines.