I just love seeing fat, rich men who have received massive tax cuts paid for with borrowed money like John Key and Phil O’Reilly saying that a $15 an hour minimum wage is unaffordable (Key also says governments can’t raise wages, yet he claims to have done just that). Lets check out one large minimum wage employer’s ability to pay.
Restaurant Brands owns 208 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks stores, employing 4,500 workers, most of them minimum wage.
For simplicity’s sake and to estimate on the high side, lets say they all do 40 hours a week and all would get the $2 an hour raise. That comes in at $1,900,000 a year. Since wages are tax deductible, the cost to Restaurant Brands would be $1,300,000
Restaurant Brands made $25.1 million after tax profit in the year to March, up from $19.9 million the previous year. So, an extra $1,300,000 would reduce its profits by 5% while boosting its employees’ pay by 15% and having a dramatic impact on their families’ living standards.
This is not a poor country. We have a GDP of $200 billion per year, $50,000 for each man, woman, and child. An extra $500 million for the lowest paid workers who are often in the crappiest jobs is nothing. Except to the elitists who are hogging all the wealth for themselves and don’t want to share.
[update – curse of the late night typo. The gross cost would be $19m, not $1.9m, meaning net cost of $13m. 50% of profits. Still completely affordable. Remember that’s on my high assumption that everyone is full-time on the minimum wage, real cost would be much less]