As the debate over minimum wage heats up, Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants – the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. – is responding to former McDonald's USA CEO Ed Rensi’s comments that “it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient making $15 [per hour].”
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“You’re seeing automation across a very broad spectrum; You’re seeing banks with ATMs, gas stations, airports, grocery stores – so automation is coming,” Puzder told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Puzder then explained how policies such as a minimum wage hike impact business leaders’ decision-making process.
“The question is, ‘should we be implementing policies that make low-skilled, working class Americans more expensive than the job that they’re taking justifies?’ In other words, it takes more money to hire them than that job produces in benefit for the employer. When that’s the case, employers don’t hire people.”
Because of this, Puzder views a $15 an hour minimum wage as having a significantly negative impact on the U.S. job market.
“So there’s absolutely no doubt that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is going to result in very significant job losses. The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] said at $10 an hour you’d lose half a million jobs. Nobody wants to see half a million people put out of work,” Puzder said.
The CEO sees a minimum wage hike as speeding up the shift towards even greater automation.
“When you make employing somebody more expensive than automating a position, you’re going to get more automation; I think Ed’s absolutely right,” said Puzder.