Creative thinkers have pointed to the Gulf of Mexico as the most obvious solution to Galveston’s water problems — build a desalination plant.

Seems reasonable, until you create a business plan and realize that in order for the plant to operate (at near break-even), water rates will have to be higher than they are now, or are likely to be in the near future

The numbers simply do not make such a plant economically feasible.

We have to wait for desalination technology to make advancements to the point that it becomes economically justifiable to allocate tax funds to such a project.

And so it goes with low-wage jobs in fast food restaurants.

Fast food joints have a business plan that requires a certain percentage of revenue be spent on wages.

If the wage level is raised, the money has to come from somewhere else — price increases, cost savings or increased productivity.

Each side in this debate has a point.

Proponents of wage increases claim that current wages are not enough to live on.

They are right.

Opponents of wage increases claim that an increase will result in the lowest skill workers ending up on the unemployment line.

They are also right.

Both sides point to the most obvious source to make their argument — your pocketbook.

Raising prices would result in more revenue that could be used to increase wages; but, opponents think that price increases could force consumers to find lower priced substitute goods, which would harm the existing business’ welfare.

The future will see each side of this logic claim victory because each circumstance will likely come to pass.

But I maintain each side is arguing against their own self-interest.

From the liberal/labor standpoint that wages should be raised: raising wages will make investments in new technology more cost efficient. This will expand the marketplace for machines that can replace low-wage fast food workers.

Such machines will not be built by the low-wage workers that will move from the fry line at Joe’s burgers to a high-tech assembly line. Given trade treaties, these machines will be built at the lowest cost location — likely China.

So, the end result for the liberal/labor establishment will be to rush the outsourcing of low-wage jobs held by Americans to a robot made in China unable to vote or make political contributions.

From the conservative/business viewpoint that wages should be kept low or be left up to the market: keeping wages low mandates the expansion of the federal government in the form of subsidies — food stamps, public housing and Medicaid, to name a few.

Some may want to leave wages up to the marketplace. In theory, that works wonderfully. In practice, that leads to hungry people who participate in revolutions.

And we all know what happens to the rich business owners in a revolution.

My suggestion?

Conservatives/businesses had better figure out how to pay a wage those low-wage workers can live on without government subsidies.

While liberals/labor had better figure out how to make the low-wage workforce more productive. If each side does not do this,  they can look forward to probable extinction.

Norman Pappous is a member of the Galveston City Council.

(42) comments

Carolyn Meehan

Mr. Pappous---I don't live on the island, but if I did, you'd have my vote. Thank you for connecting the dots in clear language.

Linda Matthews

While I agree that people should be more productive in their jobs (everyone, not just hourly workers), and that both sides of the minimum wage increase debate need to make some concessions, Mr. Pappous is comparing pineapples and grapefruits!

A project such as a desalination plant would probably be a partnership of some sort between both private companies and government (most likely state in this case), where the initial monetary outlay is significant, but the resource (more water, power co-generation, area jobs, etc.) returns are almost immediate once the plant is operational, with the monetary returns taking place overtime. Most private businesses increase technology expenditures to reduce the payroll
bottom line, but they still require people with the knowledge and skills to man them.
People with those skills already earn more than minimum wage. Raising prices to the consumer, who is already NOT spending at previous levels, just might send the consumer further away from the cash register!

Walter Manuel

Very well stated Mr. Pappous![thumbup]

That right there my friend is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! [wink]

Susan Fennewald

I see two minor (?) problems with this article. The first is the title. I'm assuming Norman didn't write it. The title is wrong and misleading. Wages and productivity are NOT the same - and the column doesn't claim they are.

The other problem is the use of the terms "conservatives/businesses" and "liberals/labor" , That is also wrong and misleading and throws a sense of rabid, mindless conservatism into an otherwise reasonable argument.

Curtiss Brown

Even the worker who mops the kitchen floor is ultimately essential to the success of the organization. Not paying that person sufficiently isn't merely the lack of law or the lack of a union it is a moral wrong. Payroll theory at this level is fundamentally different than middle management or the senior executive. Other factors are at play. If you pay low enough the work could be legitimately described as slavery.

Raymond Lewis

Agreed, the title is misleading and the news staff likely provided it.

Question for Mr. Pappous; are there alternative suggestions to the two polar groups you suggested. It seems smfennew is correct in that labeling the two groups (liberal/labor and conservative/business) is a bit too conveniently clumped.

Norman Pappous

The labels are convenient but also reflect the "street view" of the issue as described. I agree that if one were to drill deeper into the issue those monickers would be inappropriate.

George Croix

Yes. Good article.
But, the best way to raise wages has been, and would be again, providing a business environment where profits are not considered something the evil 1% use to hold everybody else down, where regulations (THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF NEW ONES) do not strangle growth, and thus create an incentive for business expansion or creation, with a commensurate increase in hiring. A demand for workers makes for higher wages, usually, and expansion of job opportunites makes it possible for low skilled starter jobs to get back to what they were intended to be...low skilled starter jobs.
This will not happen under the current political environment.
AND, because it will not, more and more people will find themselves depending on low skilled jobs to fund life for higher skilled displaced workers who can't find work in their field.
This is where Mr. Pappous' well written article picks up. People forced into low skilled jobs by an economy doing it's very best to INCREASE dependency through low job opportunity simply cannot live and maintain what they had on what they have now. They DO need more money.
BUT, the consumers of the products being made by those demanding more pay for low skilled jobs are THEMSELVES strapped by the fundamental change to the new normal of low jobs opportunities, so higher prices for the products they buy to cover increased wages to the producers of them will in turn cause the consumers to cut back...and thus the business owners will lose profits, and have to cut pay, or number of workers, or go oput of business. And so it begins repeating the cycle.
As stated, ultimately, having to pay more for a worker than it's worth to the employer to do so will result in him finding ways to do more with less, or go out of business.
It's just a matter of time, in this lousy environment for business, until some guy comes up with a 95% automated machine(s) to make fast food, needing only someone to fill the bins of ingredients.
If robots can build most of an automobile, they can sure make a Big Mac.
Be careful what you ask for. One big problem in this nation is the demand for top dollar wages for self while insisting on rock bottom prices for consumer items (and thus lowest possible wages for the makers of them).
The two are not compatible with keeping strong wages and jobs in this country.

Steve Fouga

IMO the answer to both sides of the equation is better education, better education, better education. At all levels, for everyone involved. Maybe too simplistic, but some dude or dudette will have to invent that desalinization technology, and another will have to make burgers more productively. Both of those things can be taught.

George Croix

I know you are a serious poster, so I'll ask a serious question:
We already spend more on education that just about anybody, yet are still lacking in it overall, and more than ever in the levels and end result quality necessary to compete in a technology age.
What do you think is the answer to better education?

My personal answer, since there's no way to make people learn who decide not to, is multi-pronged, and ground up. It DOES presuppose that quality education is available, if used.
First, start in elementary school teaching that unless they learn, they will suffer some negative consequence. NO more PC social promotions or dummed down standards for anybody for any reason, or lack of one, as is usually the case.
Second, demonstrate in school and at home that there is a REWARD FOR EXCELLENCE, but that average is just that, the minimum standard. How? Well, to start, don't give everybody who participates in something that has measureable performance levels a trophy or achievement certificate. Reserve those for the actual high achievers. If EVERYBODY gets the same reward, then NOBODY got any reward. This national obsession with not hurting anyone's feelings and with equality of outcome for all is a GREAT DISSERVICE to the children, who find that out in spades when they get older and realize they HAVE to actually make it on their own merits. The current fad is how you get General Studies majors who expect to make 75 bucks an hour post grad...
Third, where the federal government is involved, start incrementally changing the taxpayer funded support culture to one where GOOD WORK (as in research, and your desal. tech example, or even community service, etc.) is rewarded more, and NO WORK rewarded less, such that there is an incentive to stop doing nothing, and start doing something. Knowing how to do something requires being taught, and learning. And EFFORT. Start reducing the number of people like 'Surfer Dude' milking the federal dole cow, who are nothing but lousy examples for the young to see and be effected by).
Fourth, there HAS to be an attitude change that re-values the traditional family unit that has proven the bedrock of society, versus the 'anything goes' way of bringing up children now, that has given us what anyone with eyes can see is NOT a quality product with which to build a citizenry.
Maybe I'M being simplistic, but I think we are a generation away from a better educated populace IF we adopt and do these things. The young have to be the ones to re-dedicate themselves (in concert with, and as a result of, actual discipline and positive social skills and examples taught to them, preferably at home...) to a working-hard-to-learn ethic, and to grow up with the proven successful attitude that nobody owes them anything that they don't earn themselves, in the classroom, on the sports field, or on the job.
Once that happens, more of our young will WANT to get better educated, to get a bigger piece of the pie. And because doing nothing for something will have begun to become what it once was, the stuff of temporary aid to those can't help themselves (NOT to be confused with WON'T...), or the lack of social acceptance that it should be...just like the guy who always eats the meal but never picks up the tab.

Steve Fouga

I'm no expert on education (my wife is; I should have asked her to respond), but I value it greatly because I was taught to.

I agree that your suggested approach works, and works well. Fortunately for me, it's how I was raised. I'm not as strong on the traditional family unit as you, because I've seen other arrangements work well too, but I admit it's my personal "favorite" because it's how I was brought up.

But back to your original question.

I believe paying teachers for performance would be good. I know this is being tried in some districts already.

A pension structure that would keep experienced teachers in the workforce longer would help. This is probably inevitable as cities buckle under the weight of pension distributions to tens or hundreds of thousands of teachers who retired early, in the prime of their careers.

A revitalization of trade schools could create career paths for the millions of people who either can't afford college or choose not to go. If the traditional family unit is the bedrock of society, the traditional trades are the bedrock of our workforce.

A little off the subject, but incentivize the thousands of foreign students in our colleges to remain in the U.S. and become U.S. citizens. In fact, I'd be tempted to make that a condition of receiving a college education in the U.S., at least for nations other than those clearly aligned with our policies (e.g. the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan…) I'm tired of educating the third world at the expense of slots for American children.

As much as I have mixed feelings about this, we must be careful not to give short shrift to children of people in our country illegally. In fact, we should bend over backward to help them. They're here anyway through no fault of their own, and I'd rather they turn out to be productive citizens.

I would like to see English named our national language, with strict proficiency standards set and enforced as a condition of passage through the grades. College included -- freshman English required for everyone not achieving a strict minimum standard.

I'll think about it some more, and maybe ask my wife for help…


Gary Miller

Paying teachers for results (performance) would force most public school teachers to become unpaid volunteers.

Kevin Lang

I think one thing that's missing here, or seems to be assumed, is that fast food companies only have one pay rate, and raising that rate means that one of the other cost or profit categories has to be raided to make that happen. However, with a company like McDonald's, for instance, there are a lot of different wage rates and volumes of workers at each of those rates. Line cooks at McDonald's could get a raise, while the total wage pool remains the same, and therefore the rest of the cost and profit balances. However, to do that would entail changing wages at one or more of the other organization levels.

For the sake of argument, if you were to cut the amount of money spent on wages at the C-suite level, there is a lot of money available to cover wage increases at the lowest levels. Of course, in a scenario such as that, some consideration needs to be made as to whether a CEO that would work for half would be as valuable to the organization as the CEO they have now, or if the existing CEO would stick around at that rate.

Another thing to consider is that if the wages aren't enough to cover what it really costs to live, there are costs to society as a whole to attempt to offset that. For example, if the person gets sick and is uninsured, they'll get indigent care. If the care is inadequate or too late and dies or becomes incapacitated, we lose the value of the labor that worker would have provided over the rest of his life. If he is able to struggle without some of the necessities, we lose the value of the purchases he didn't make.

One way or another, our society does pay the difference between what the worker's real value is and what his actual wage is, but our total may actually wind up being more than what McDonald's saves.

So, overall, we're probably paying more for a Big Mac than the $1 on the menu. And, that worker could conceivably get a couple dollars or more for his time without significantly changing what we really pay for the Big Macs he produces.

If wages, especially at the lowest tiers were really market driven, no one would take the jobs unless they were enough to live on. However, the harsh reality is that those jobs are generally all filled not because the pay is adequate, but that it's $7/hour better than nothing. Being halfway there is sometimes better than going nowhere.

There are certainly opportunities for change within the fast food model. The question is whether there's any motivation or good rationale for the stakeholders to make the sacrifices. Will we consumers buy Big Macs at the same pace if they cost $1.50, $2.00, or even $5.00. And, will the upper tiers of the pay scale stand for reductions in their pay so that those beneath them can at least climb above the poverty level. And, is the poverty level anywhere close to society's actual break-even point for productive workers? I'm sure there are some clever economists out there that have some magic formulae that will tell the CEO at McDonalds what his menu prices and wage scales should be in order for all workers to be paid fairly according to the value they provide the company, but I'd bet that once the numbers got spit out, other than the economists, there's be a lot fewer happy with the outcome than are upset.

Gary Miller

Get real Kevjlang.

If Wal Mart cut their CEO from $500,000 a year to minimum wage that would let them increase pay for their 1.4 million employees 40 cents a year or less than 1 cent a week.
Same for McDonalds or Target or name your own hated company providing jobs for millions.

Lars Faltskog

Perhaps the fast food industry should be run much like many of the clergy is set up. That is, build living quarters on the premises. Allow the workers to have room and board, file with the IRS similar to clergy in that they file a self-employment tax return.

They can study at the "burger universities" much like McDonalds has in place.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Magister Ludi for the less intellectually inclined, Mr. Severige??

Actually, that is how most of the Mrs. Paul's or Captain Horton frozen fish in the world is produced: hundreds of workers are imported from the poorer countries in the Orient, to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians, where they live in dormitories on the campus of the fish factories and do nothing but work, sleep, shower and eat for months at a stretch. No 'fish universities" in Dutch Harbor though. Last thing the giant fish corporations want to do is educate their workers, even just about fish.

The hotel the fish corporations built to be used by their visiting overseers (managers) is really a beautiful place.

Sorry, I think I tangentalized there...need some fresh fish from Katie's.

Lars Faltskog

Response to miceal o'laochdha posted at 12:25 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013:

Either that, or the fast food workers can be the new Ooompa Loompas. Belonging to an "order" can give a sense of belonging, cut down on costs. Sounds like a "win-win" situation.

Gary Miller


I see another way.
Outlaw minimum wage laws. Many minimum wage workers already are paid more than their job is worth. Let wages return to reflectting what a job is worth to the employer. Let employes choose where they will work. Competition for workers will set the wages in every industry.

Kevin Lang

I think we need some proof that the job market is a Seller's Market. There are some sectors where that's the case, but definitely not in the "menial" jobs market.

What would the cost be to our society if no one picked the lettuce, tomatoes, corn, ect.? What would the cost be to our society if no one fed the cattle on the ranches? What would be the cost to our society if no one cleaned the bathrooms at the factories? What would be the cost to our society if no one cooked food or stocked grocery shelves?

What would Wal-Mart's or McDonald's profits be if no one worked their minimum wage jobs?

As long as McDonald's and Wal-Mart continue to pay wages higher than what people can make not working, without minimum wage laws, that's where the wages would settle.

If all of the hotel companies started paying $15/hour, and doubled their staffs, you'd find McDonald's and Wal-Mart begin to struggle to find and keep people. Or until the likes Marathon, ANICO, UTMB, etc. decide that unskilled workers could fill up their rank and file and management positions, with the standard scale in place.... Or, when cows fly....

I've done those types of jobs before. If they paid what they're worth, it's possible I wouldn't have sucked it up to finish college. Certainly, they shouldn't be priced as "career" positions, but there is no reason that people should be considered unworthy to earn their basic needs while performing services for ingrates.

Gary Miller


Minimum wage laws are a reflection of union policy. That being that every employee earn the same. But good workers are worth more than poor workers.
Without minimum wage laws good employees could earn what they are worth.
With miimum wage employeers limit employees to the minimum wage because the law says they can.
Every job has a value.
Good employees are worth more than poor employees. Without a minimum wage good employees could increase their worth by being more productive. Employers would pay them more to make sure they didn't lose them. Competition for the best workers would force them to reward their best morkers with higher pay and benefits.
If all the low value jobs you list paid less they would still be done by low value workers. Higher value workers would be earning more in higher value jobs.
Unions use minimum wage laws to demand higher pay without any increase in productivity. Government wants higher minimum wages because higher earnings pay higher taxes.

Kevin Lang

IHOG, I know you're smart enough to not actually believe that. Wal-Mart and McDonald's and others see those low wage positions as commodities. They feel that the CEO is irreplaceable, so they pay him about a thousand times more than they pay the people doing all the physical grunting. They don't really care if they have a revolving door in those roles. In fact, it's politically beneficial. If workers aren't sticking around long, it's much easer to support the argument that these aren't "career professionals", so they're less pressured to provide quality benefits plans.

As Bigjim noted, there is nothing that keeps Wal-Mart from practicing meritocracy. Sure, the floor is the minimum wage, but they can easily give tremendous workers $20/hr if they wanted to. The lower quality workers would get the minimum wage.

For companies such as McDonald's and Wal-Mart, a bump of the minimum wage to a living wage would have no appreciable affect on their bottom line, unless they wanted it to. If someone starts at $15/hr and they aren't any good, they can still do exactly what they do today--let them go and bring in someone else.

Lars Faltskog

Response to IHOG posted at 2:25 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013:

You're not British, are you? Can you tell us how Maggie Thatcher was special in your life, being a citizen of the US of A and all? After all, another poster here said that N. Mandela didn't affect the day-to-day lives of Galvestonians. Did Thatcher affect our lives in Galveston so much in the 80s/early 90s? I only recollect seeing her mug mainly on the A2 and further-in sections of the papers.

I would think that Obama would be more prevalent in our everyday lives, more than Thatcher ever did. Even saying Obama is or will make a big effect is stretching things. I still have to pay my taxes, still have to get my car inspected and I still have to go the speed limit, and wait my turn at the supermarket lines.

Jim Forsythe

“Without minimum wage laws good employees could earn what they are worth“.
So IHOG what wage would you want peoples wages set at. Most people now are only working 30 hrs or less. As far as good employees not getting paid what they are worth, nothing is stopping companies like Walmart from paying more as they are mostly non union.
Or could it be greed thats stops them from paying more?

George Croix

Minimum wage $7.25.
Demanded wage by low skill workers $15.00.
Some 'bump'!!
When's the last time anyone you know got a 200% + raise, for doing the same work?
The answer to more money for workers is more jobs for workers that are not part time and that pay better.
The answer to that is a good jobs and business friendly environment.
The way to get that is to get rid ASAP this Administration of dependency advocates and as many of their sycophnats in the House and Senate as possible, and roll back the THOUSANDS of new regulations strangling business growth and dump this ACA mess strangling current jobs.
Preferably before these tunnel-visioned ideologues' 'war on energy' starts 'necessarily skyrocketing' our electric bills.
Imagine what a 50% or 100% increase in your monthly electric bill would do to your bottom line, courtesy of the 'green' agenda of a guy far better at golf than governing.
We already know what his last Big Effort did for the physical and economic health of most of the nation.
Given their way, the 'government is the answer' folks will continue demanding more for less and that others decline so that they may elevate. before long, they'll be chopping down the last money tree, and the result will be just like what it was in the movie Rapa Nui - what do we do now for trees?!?!

Kevin Lang

If we get all of that, perhaps unemployment will go down below 5%. Not that we have much experience with rates that low in the past few decades. One thing I recall though from the significantly lower unemployment rates during the 80s and 90s was that there were still a lot of jobs paying at the minimum wage.

I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure, but what I recall hearing about during the WWII years is that even though we were pretty close to full employment then, most of the workers weren't getting paid a whole lot.

By far, the biggest thing strangling the economy is lack of demand. The single biggest reason for companies not hiring is because they won't afford to make something that people aren't buying. No store is going to hire 20 cashiers if they only have 5 customers. No manufacturer is going to staff an extra assembly line if there are no orders coming in. I don't care how many regulations you strip away. If demand doesn't go up, hiring won't, either. The recession wasn't triggered because Bush decided to be "anti-business". The business climate in 2008 was pretty much the same as it was in 2005, and 2001. There certainly could be impacts to the rate of growth of business when demand starts picking up, unless some changes are made with regards to the cost of compliance with some of the regulations you despise, but I know of no regulations that are telling businesses to not produce things they can sell. Can you point me to a single regulation that would prevent GM from building 1,000,000 new vehicles if they had buyers requesting them?

George Croix

I can point you to thousands of new business strangling regulations in just the last 60 months that lower the bottom line of businesses and/or cause so much confusion that they are afraid to invest for fear of spending it all on compliance auditing, and/or force them to close altogether. I can point you to the ACA regulations that have caused employers to go more and more to part time workers and/or not hire anybody at all, and/or dumpo some they already had employed.
GM certainly can build those 1,000,000 new vehicles right now. Perfectly true. Absolutely no regulation that says you can'r build what there are not enough consumers to buy.
It's not a matter of what CAN businesses do.
It's a matter of what is profitable for them to do, when their customer base has shrunk and likely to shrink more.
Recall the line in "Other People's Money', where DeVito reminds the audience that surest way to fail in business is 'Getting an ever increasing share of an ever shrinking market'.
Build 'em, GM. Go ahead.
You've still got 10 billion of taxpayer money they lost bailing you put and now you don't even have to pay that back.
Build 'em.
Show us what that helps...

Kevin Lang

How many of those thousands were in place the day the recession started? How much pent up demand is there that just cannot be fulfilled unless regulations get lifted?

One thing that is pretty much true under any ecomomic or regulatory climate is that it's seldom profitable to make something that no one's buying. Now, there are some stupid companies out there, but I don't think there's enough of them that, if all those regulations were lifted, would go all in with production in hopes that if they build it, the consumers will magically appear.

The regulatory environment might affect how aggressively companies ramp back up, but it's hardly the primary reason they're mostly stagnant.

I agree with you that the regulatory environment is an impact on the economy. I don't agree that if we merely strip away regulations that we'll magically have our economy fixed. Ingredient? Yes. Key ingredient? No. That would be like telling an Italian Chef that regardless of all of the other incredients, that the key to great spaghetti sauce is the second pinch of salt.

Gary Miller


You are old enough to remember the 4.7 unemployment rate in 2006. And the 2007 budget deficit of $179 billion. 10 % of her first budget for 2008.
Pelosi's welfare state was running out of clients. She called the shrinking welfare state the worst economy in U.S. history. She rescued the welfare state with a recession. The economy today, with more welfare than ever, must be the best economy ever according to Pelosi.

George Croix

"It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance. The biggest bang for the buck," she said.
Nancy Pelosi, October, 2010
Here we are 3 years later, still 'progressively' banging the economy...[lol]

George Croix

I forgot to add the corresponding quote for Pelosi's statement:
"You can't fix stupid."
Ron White

Kevin Lang

There was some smoke and mirrors and voodoo going on with the economy in middle of the decade. Of course, our economy almost always masks its true health. Irrational Exuberance was a phrase I heard quite frequently during the 90s and 2000s. I never understood Pelosi's comments then, and, frankly, I never really tried to understand the context. I try not to fixate on very many things that politcians say.

But, yes, I do recall the low unemployment It wasn't there for long, but it does happen once in awhile. And, it generally takes years of good economic results to reach that point. It's great when it happens, but sometimes it appears that our economy needs to red-line in order to reach those numbers, and then, something happens, like 2007, to bring the economy crashing back down to Earth. Despite all the talk about "soft landings", I think we found that there is no such thing in our economy.

George Croix

Seems to me that a more apt analogy would be your chef adding a thousand pinches of salt to a recipe that people already found tasty, or at least acceptible, for no better reason than because he could.
I'm guessing the people on their 90th week of unemployment or using their college degree to get a job at Wendy's might prefer my sauce over his...[beam]

Happy Friday the 13th to all.
Always been a lucky day for me.
But, I don't suffer from triskaidekaphobia.
Actually, all days are lucky ones to me, because I also don't suffer from being a 'progressive'.

Ciao! Enjoy your Linguini in Brine Sauce...[beam][beam][beam]

Lars Faltskog

Response to gecroix posted at 2:10 pm on Fri, Dec 13, 2013:

"There is some subliminal message that is being sent out there about us and them, meaning people who need food stamps and the rest of the country, which I think is an unfortunate course to go down," said Pelosi.

Pelosi is right. I would think that both you and I would never wish food stamps on our closest relatives. To admonish folks who need them (even though there are some that abuse the program) is indeed unfortunate.

Gary Miller

The proper responce for food stamp need is jobs.

Gary Miller

Increased productivity provides the means for increased wages.
Increased pay without increased productivity cheats everyone.
Paying un productive employees more than the job is worth leads to more un employeed and more corporate bankruptacy.
A resturant in Arizona is doing away with servers by putting I pad device on tables for customers to order with.
The device will notify customers when their order is ready for them to pick up. Server pay drops to zero. Prices will be cut by what servers had earned. The device with software costs less than $1,000 a year. A $15 an hour server costs $31,000 a year.
Most of us have already used the "wait buzzers" at busy resturants. The job of locating and notifying us our table was ready were eliminated.

Gas station server pay dropped to zero when Minimum wage laws did away with "full service" gas stations. Elivator operators were eliminated by minimum wage laws. Teliphone opperators were eliminated by minimum wage laws. The list is endless.

Kevin Lang

Are you saying that if people want to be food servers, they'd better be willing to work for (and live on) $1,000/year?

I imagine that the president in office when those devices hit the streets will be called a "job killer" because of it?

Just how big of "productivity" factor is the CEO of McDonald's? Is he really more than 1,000 times more productive than the people working the grills and registers at his stores? Spread out over 2000 hours, the CEO of McDonald's makes about $9,000/hour. Please explain how that fits your "productivity" model.

Jim Forsythe


Minimum Wage For Restaurant Servers .is $2.13 an hour if they get more than $20 in tips a month. This is for state of Texas.

Kevin Lang

Bigjim, I believe the law is that the base hourly wage can be as low as 2.13/hr, but, if the tips aren't adequate to match the 7.25 minimum wage, the employer must cover the difference. I do believe, though, that in Texas, most of the burden of proof is on the worker that they were undercompensated.

Jim Forsythe

Was trying to say that most restaurants are not paying min wage. How long would someone last if they requested for a restaurants to make up difference ?

Jim Forsythe

I would think that advancement in technology has more do with these jobs deaths and not Min. wage killing them.
Do you think we would still have Elevator operators if we had no min. wage?

Kevin Lang

The US passed its first minimum wage law back in 1938. Telephone operators, Service Station attendants, and Elevator Operators continued to exist for decades after. If minimum wage laws were the cause of death, it sure took a LONG time for the poison to take effect.

There were many more factors at play than the wages. Look at how many telephone circuits we have, and how many phone calls per day we're making. It wouldn't be possible to have people doing that work anymore. Elevator systems are much more complex now than they were then. There might be an argument there with service station attendants, but I think it had more to do with consumer pressure for reduced gas station margins. Of course, service station attendants became convenience store clerks. The gas stations make much more money off those employees behind a counter than they ever did at the pump island.

George Croix

Most people I'd guess want to be rich and successful and pretty/handsome and tall and thin.
Life is not about simply what you want.
Who would take a low wage job if higher wage jobs were available to them in their skill level, except as temporary.
It's all part of our two-faced desire for top dollar wages for ourselves but rock bottom price services and products, in concert with a 'progressive' political phylosophy that seeks to make people dependent on government to an ever greater degree, whether directly or by creation of a hostile business atmosphere and low wage or no jobs becoming more than the temporary state they once were.
Witness the evidence...just look around now.
I doubt even the CEO of McDonalds takes 100 million buck vacations...[whistling]...while damning the 'wealthy 1%' at the same time...
And for sure he hasn't increased the debt of his company an average of over 133 million bucks every hour over the last 6 years, while making things worse for his employees than they were....[ohmy]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.