CKE restaurants CEO Andy Puzder claimed yesterday that raising the federal minumum age would hurt low-wage employees.
Forbes notes that Puzder makes 291 times more than the minimum wage employees at his fast food chains Hardees and Carl’s Jr.
“When there’s a demand for labor, the cost of labor goes up," Puzder told Yahoo! Finance (video below).
"When there’s no demand for labor, it goes down and you can’t solve that problem by having the government artificially mandate a wage increase when there’s no economic growth to support that,” Puzder said. “What businesses do is they increase their prices and they move to automation so you have less jobs.”
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However, that false corporate claim has been debunked in numerous studies by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center for American Progress and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley.
The studies note that higher wages paid to employees give them more purchasing power in the U.S. economy, creating a larger demand for goods from companies, which actually creates more jobs.
According to BusinessWeek.com, with today's inflation, a worker earning minimum wage today is worse off than an employee who made $1.60 an hour in 1968.
Alternet.org notes that Australia's minimum wage is a whopping $16.68 and their unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, while the U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 and unemployment is 6.1 percent.
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Puzder also claimed that if wages go up, young and inexperienced workers will be pushed out of the work force.
“The real problem with youth is, you have to have these entry-level jobs to get the experience you need to move forward in your life," Puzder stated. "If they don’t have those jobs, they’re sitting at home. I don’t know, looking at the posters from the last election or waiting for mom to make dinner, as opposed to being out there actually working and getting the experience that they need to go forward in life. The experience is the important part and we’ve got a whole generation of kids ages 16 to 29 who are missing out on that.”
However, millions of adults currently rely on fast food jobs to keep a roof over those kids Puzder appears to be so concerned about.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research found in 2013 that the average age of fast food workers is 29, 40 percent are 25 or older, and more than 26 percent are parents raising children.
Additionally, the Economic Policy Institute found in a study: "The warnings of massive teen job loss due to minimum wage increases simply do not comport with the evidence."
According to a study by University of Massachusetts–Amherst economist Arindrajit Dub, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would actually lift 4.6 million Americans out of poverty, reports The Huffington Post.
Sources: Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center for American Progress, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley, BusinessWeek.com, Alternet.org, Economic Policy Institute, The Huffington Post