Celebrity businessman Jon Taffer saves hospitality jobs for a living on the hit TV show “Bar Rescue.” He helps small business owners reduce costs, increase revenues and obliterate obstacles.

Taffer can solve complex problems, but decries an inability to preserve jobs threatened by soaring minimum wage mandates.

“The employees lost on this,” Taffer said recently of New York’s new $15-an-hour minimum wage.

The economy is so hot the Fed is edging up interest rates. Overall unemployment is falling and the GDP is growing.

Just don’t celebrate with entry level and low-skilled workers, who live in fear of layoffs and reduced hours. With overall employment dropping to 4.3 percent in May, youth unemployment remains near 12 percent.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a $15-an-hour minimum wage in 2016.

“So here’s the result, employment growth was at 6 percent to 7 percent in the restaurant sector for employees,” Taffer told Fox Business Network. “It’s now down to 1.2 percent. A lot of restauranteurs have cut back staffing by 10 percent, reduced employees to part time. the restaurant decline in employee growth is greater than during the recession as a result of this.”

Since Colorado voters imposed a wage hike last year, we have heard from small business employees, owners and managers about staffing reductions and hours cut to part time. A recent study by the University of Colorado-Boulder confirmed our concerns.

“The fact is, you know, machines can flip hamburgers too in fast food restaurants, you know, machines can package,” Taffer said.

Former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi warned of an entry level employment crisis after he witnessed entrepreneurs introduce inventions designed to circumvent higher wage mandates.

“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fires,” Rensi said. “It’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across the country like you’re not going to believe.”

Negative consequences could be lasting, explains a report by The Employment Policies Institute.

“High minimum wage rates hurt teens’ chance at learning valuable life skills that cannot be taught in a classroom,” the institute explains.

“When entry-level job hunters are able to find work, they earn more than just a paycheck. They learn valuable life skills like the importance of meeting deadlines, how to report to a manager, and how to get along with co-workers.”

Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.

We share the sentiment of politicians and voters who want higher minimum wages. Just pass a law and improve conditions for people who often work hardest for the least. In a perfect world, it would be just that simple.

If those were the rules we would be cruel to set wages at $12 or $15. If mandates could improve incomes, without unintended consequences, we would be compassionate and wise to raise thresholds high enough to ensure big homes and high-end cars for all.

Aggressive minimum wage hikes feel good and look good for politicians who promote them. Meanwhile, mounting evidence proves they quietly price young people and low-skilled workers out of important jobs they want and need.


(c)2017 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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