For clarity - I'm a big booster of a livable minimum wage. It solves all sorts of pernicious social ills. It is also bare-faced wealth redistribution, which I'm also a big booster of. I'm mostly here as an annoying gadfly to pick apart your arguments. We actually disagree about very, very little.
So in that vein:
This may be true. However, it has become less so in the last several years, correct?
Quite. The rise in fast food strikes/minimum wage protests is in direct correlation to the rise in structural underemployment due to the aftermath of the 2008 recession. I read in The Week today that since 2000, minimum wage workers under 18 have dropped from 27% in 2000 to 17% in 2012, while those with "some college" are now in a majority. We're back in the space where we instituted a minimum wage to get rid of the wetbacks.
No doubt automation might relieve some minimum wage pressures, but I'm not sure that McDonald's has standard wages as they are franchised, and I wonder how many franchise owners would benefit so much so that making them available would be worthwhile, along with the repairs, etc.
Franchises function on standardization. You charge what we say you charge for a burger, you make it our way, and if you want to maintain your right to use our logos and brand identity, you pay $2500 for a Blizzard machine.
If McDonald's decided that their interests were better served by BurgerBot, every franchise would have one. They don't - McDonald's response to Super Size Me demonstrates that they're intensely aware of their public image and will sell salads at a loss even when nobody buys them. However, they've also managed to create a bifurcated culture where there are long-term employees and itinerants. It's just not as simple as either of us are making it out to be.
True, but a legislated minimum wage does force employers to pay employees more when they might have paid less.
Yeah, but it's not a tax. This is an important distinction. The government can also mandate that McDonald's can only serve beef that's been inspected by the USDA - that's also not a tax, despite the fact that it redistributes wealth from McDonald's to USDA-compliant beef processors.
Also, it does increase the payroll tax on employers.
And increases the tax burden paid by employees. Yeah - a minimum wage is a form of wealth redistribution. It still ain't a tax, and shouldn't be thought of as one.
Is it necessary and good to have shitty corporations in addition to the good ones?
HELL NO. We draw a line as to what corporate behavior is permissible and dissolve corporations that cross the line. What you're asking is if we need corporations just this side of "too shitty to live." Nope.com.
Ha. It's funny. I made a similar argument about Amazon to wasoxygen in a previous post, and never finished it, and it was a question that he asked me that spurred me to write this one.
Here, let me finish it for you.
IF: Amazon has gained tremendous marketshare through cut-throat behavior and abusive labor practices
AND: They destroy a competitor that does not employ cut-throat behavior and abusive labor practices
THEN: The greater marketplace suffers despite any savings to the consumer because Amazon has made it that much harder for an honest business to remain in the marketplace.
It's social darwinism, pure and simple: survival of the fittest leads to the biggest, nastiest shark in the tank and nothing else. Even Adam Smith believed in protectionism.