Monday, December 31, 2018

What Does Bussing Your Own Restaurant Table Show About Minimum Wages?

By Art Carden

With the New Year’s Day right around the corner, various outlets are reporting on workers who will “get a raise” with increases in the minimum wage going into effect in several states. But will people—potential low-income workers especially—be better off in the long run as a result of higher minimum wages?

Not necessarily. And we can see how if we follow the economist Ronald Coase’s advice and look out the window for an example. I saw one at a restaurant in Boston with a sign on the wall that said “Please put away your own plates & silverware when you are done.” They don’t have anyone on staff to bus the tables; hence, we have to do it ourselves.

Lest I be misunderstood—I can hear someone sneering “look at mister fancy man who is too good to clean up after himself!”—scraping a plate and putting it in a bucket is no great imposition. But what, I wonder, is happening to the bussers who would otherwise be earning money doing it? Where did they go?

Simple: they’re being priced out of the labor market by minimum wages. At $8 an hour, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to bus tables. At $11 an hour, Massachusetts’ minimum, it probably isn’t. With the minimum wage in Massachusetts set to rise to $12 an hour in 2019 on its way to $15 an hour over five years, we should expect to see fewer and fewer jobs like these.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. The greatest skill of progressive/liberal/Democrats is to embrace policies that are idiotic and harmful when it comes to their real economic impact upon the people who matter (those being the people who work hard to make ends meet).