Most Americans want the minimum wage to be raised -- 73 percent of them, including 50 percent of self-identified Republicans. But Big Business wants to fight an increase, and has enlisted its allies in Congress to block it.
Last week, the Senate held a hearing on the minimum wage and a business owner testified that a wage hike may force businesses to fire workers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) deftly dismantled this talking point, pointing out that, for example, it would only cost McDonalds four cents more per meal to provide a $10.10 minimum wage to all of its workers.
WARREN: During my Senate campaign, I ate a number 11 at McDonald's many, many times a week. I know the price on that. $7.19. According to the data on the analysis of what would happen if we raised the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, the price increase on that item would be about four cents. So instead of being $7.19 it would be $7.23. Are you telling me that's unsustainable?
BUSINESS OWNER DAVID RUTIGLIANO: Senator Warren, not all restaurants are created equal. I'm in a full service restaurant business. McDonalds has efficiencies and they operate completely differently than I do. I have many jobs, many jobs that pay well above minimum wage. We have a retirement plan. We offer health insurance to our salaried employees. So my business is a little different. I can't raise a four cent price. I mean I don't have, I don't operate like a fast food restaurant. I would hope you appreciate the distinction.
WARREN: I do appreciate the distinction and I'm not going to be in the business of being a McDonald's representatives but they would talk about having some higher paid jobs and some opportunities for management and advancement as well. But I get your point, maybe it's only four cents on $7.19. But if your entrees are $14.40 we'll see how fast I can do the math -- are you telling me you can't raise your prices by eight cents?