Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour could increase the price of a hamburger by about 438 percent, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) argued at a town hall meeting with constituents on Thursday, Think Progress reports.
“You guys wanna pay $20 for a hamburger at McDonald’s?” Mullin said. “If you wanna increase it, that’s great,” he added, “but what you’re gonna do is punish everybody along the way.”
The math behind Mullin’s argument is a bit hazy and it’s not clear from his remarks how a 38 percent increase in wages would lead to a more than 400 percent increase in prices. We reached out to Mullin’s office Monday afternoon but didn’t receive a response. Other economists predict a much more modest increase in fast food prices as a result of a minimum wage increase.
We do know, as Think Progress points out, that the price of a Big Mac in Australia –- where the minimum wage is $14.50 an hour –- is just 6 cents higher than in the U.S. where the average Big Mac costs $4.56.
While acknowledging that fast-food companies are profitable on the backs of low-paid workers, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki points out in a piece last week that a $10.10 minimum wage is something that “companies can easily tolerate.”
There are also a number of examples of successful fast-food restaurants that pay their employees above the minimum wage, including In-N-Out Burger, which starts its workers at $10 an hour, according to CBS DFW.
Mullin’s comments come a few weeks after fast food workers went on strike across the country demanding higher pay and as Congress mulls over a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25.