Sen. Kamala Harris wants to stand out in the race for the Democratic presidential ticket by doing what all other Democratic candidates do: bet on the base’s growing anti-capitalist sentiment.
During an event organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the aspiring presidential candidate attacked McDonald’s for not raising its workers’ wages across the board.
“You can’t go around talking about the Golden Arches, as a symbol of the best of America, when you are not conducting yourself in the best way in terms of supporting the working people of America,” Harris told the audience.
In what is clearly an effort to get organized labor to back her campaign, Harris showed attendees she was well aware of SEIU’s “Fight For $15” campaign, which has long targeted McDonald’s. But she also demonstrated she is aware of the union’s failure to secure an agreement with the iconic fast food chain, supporting the “right to negotiate” working conditions and wages that is often used to justify the existence of these predatory organizations.
But despite this focus on unions —a major talking point for Democrats for decades — reports show that the number of workers who are represented by these organizations is falling.
In 1983, 20.1% of waged and salaried workers nationwide were members of unions, but in 2016, the number had fallen to 18%. In 2018, only 10.5% of workers claimed to pay union dues. Still, these organizations have enough support from the overall American population to make the pandering worthwhile.
According to Pew Research, 51% of Americans see the drop in union representation as being mostly bad for U.S. working people as opposed to only 35% who see the drop as an asset.
If Harris is aware of the wide support unions still have, standing against companies like McDonald’s makes sense. Even if the firm is on a countrywide campaign to hire more senior citizens, whose access to government-backed benefits is about to go bust.
With the rate of American workers over 65 estimated to keep on growing, McDonald’s is doing its part. But if federal officials continue to pressure the firm to raise its wages, then hiring more senior citizens may not be as good of a deal.
Making long story short, what people like Harris are doing is to force McDonald’s to cut on payroll to stay afloat, and all because Democrats (and many Republicans) seem hell-bent on forcing private companies to give fewer workers greater wages on the expense of the poor and unskilled. Or in this case, on the expense of seniors.
Wage Laws Are Immoral
While we must always explain that the wage law violates the business owner’s property rights, we must also remind proponents of the policy that it is also a violation of the employee’s rights.
When an unskilled worker looks for a job, he finds it difficult to meet the needs of most employers who must follow strict wage laws. After all, when an employer is forced by the government to only offer potential employees high wages, he has to be very careful about who is being hired. Most often than not, the employer won’t be willing to hire someone without any experience as an unskilled laborer is worth much less than someone who would not require any training.
So even if the potential employee is willing to work for less in order to obtain some experience, he will not be allowed to do so. After all, wage laws keep him from going anywhere.
What Harris and labor unions are really fighting for when they push a $15 minimum wage is to keep the needy and unskilled poor, while benefiting a small number of workers in the process. Unfortunately, the truth never got presidential candidates much support from the broad public and candidates act on it, by supporting and pushing the policies that will get them ahead. Even if these policies hurt the very people electing them.