Minnesota saw its minimum wage go up 75 cents to a total of $8 an hour this year, and there is at least one restaurant owner in Stillwater who isn’t too happy about it. Not content to simply raise prices to adjust for the additional burden, the owner of the Oasis Cafe decided to add a conspicuous 35-cent fee to the bill. Predictably, customers have taken to the internet to complain – and complain loudly – about what they perceive as a political stunt.
“It’s Oasis way of blaming our government for trying to set a fair living wage. It is political grandstanding,” said one customer on social media, quoted by the local Minnesota CBS station.
For their part, the owners were only too quick to explain their side of the story on their Facebook page. “Thumbing my nose at the law change, you’re right. Part of my thinking was to shine a light on this matter, which I truly believe is in the best interest of both my business and employees.” The restaurant’s management calculated that the minimum wage increase was going to cost them more than $10,000 a year.
Obviously, this is a pretty bold move on the part of Oasis Cafe ownership as it risks alienating a certain percentage of their customer base. Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to mix your political messages with your food. At the same time, you have to respect an owner willing to potentially sacrifice business in an effort to protest state law. And, frankly, most businesses in Minnesota are undoubtedly doing the same thing. The only difference is that they aren’t making it clear to customers what the price hikes are all about.
Minimum wage hikes aren’t the worst plague on the United States, but they are one of those areas where we’ve allowed the country to slip away from economic freedom. It’s one of those regulations that essentially act as a supplement to welfare, and there are plenty of liberals who would like to see it continually increased until everyone can afford a two-bedroom house on a fry cook’s paycheck.
The real problem isn’t with providing a minimum wage increase here or there, it’s that people see minimum wage as something on which to base a life. You see all of these articles blasting McDonald’s and other restaurants for paying unfair wages, and the sentiment behind the criticism seems to indicate that most of these workers plan to make minimum wage for the rest of their lives. Raise a family on it. Buy property. Retire. That’s not the way it works!
Minimum wage is meant as a starting point. The bottom rung on a giant ladder to the sky. Hard workers who want to move up will. Smart workers will look for every opportunity to educate themselves, increase their workplace value, and climb that ladder to success. Lazy workers will go on strike for another 50 cents in their hourly check. At the end of the day, a higher minimum wage affects prices and taxes. At least the owners of the Oasis Café are letting their customers know where they money if going.