An editorial at Bloomberg is talking about raising wages for places like McDonald’s to a ridiculous $15 an hour, and how the company can afford to do it with minimum impact. I say bull crap. Here is why:

I wrote here that paramedics made $14 an hour in 2002, and Florida’s minimum wage (pdf alert) was $5.15.
The Florida minimum wage is now $7.79 an hour, or 151% of what it was ten years ago. A paramedic now makes $13.23 an hour, or 94% of what it was ten years ago.

You reach a point where a person with no skills, no education, and no experience is making the same amount as a person who took the time to get an education or learn a skill, and you have just removed all incentive for anyone to go to school or work in a risky profession.

Many claim that a raise in minimum wage causes a “trickle up” effect by forcing everyone else higher, but that just doesn’t happen unless the employers can raise revenue by raising prices. Since the federal government has price controls in place through Medicare billing laws, there is no way for an employer to come up with the money to give his paramedics a raise.

You eventually hit a wage point where a job that requires no education, no risk of injury, and no responsibility becomes attractive. I think we have already crossed that point.

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