The Effect of a $15 Minimum Wage

Former McDonald’s CEO says 15% of small businesses would go under

NEW YORK -- If lawmakers were to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, it would “absolutely” kill jobs, former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi told Fox News Tuesday, according to a Huffington Post report.

Rensi, who was head of McDonald's in the mid-1990s and now runs a burger chain of his own, argued Tuesday that a $15 minimum wage would put 15% to 20% of small businesses out of business.

Fast-food workers across the country took to the streets earlier this summer, with some demanding $15 per hour. Many fast-food workers have said they're struggling to survive on their near-minimum wage paychecks and that their employers could afford to pay them more, citing the billions of dollars in profits some chains take in, according to the report. Fast-food and retail workers are expected to strike across the country on Thursday, Aug. 29.

A $15 minimum wage is higher than most lawmakers are considering. But many studies have found that raising the federal $7.25 minimum wage by a couple of dollars--as President Obama proposed earlier this year--wouldn’t affect unemployment rates in any noticeable way, according to the Washington Post.

Current McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson earlier this year disputed the idea that his company pays poverty-level wages, telling Bloomberg that the company has always been “an above minimum wage employer.”

But it's not just a higher minimum wage that's threatening business owners, according to Rensi. “Obamacare is going to drop 15% to 20% of small businesses off the face of the earth,” he told Fox News.

The Obama administration disputed that claim in a recent study, which found that Obamacare would drive down the cost of health-care coverage for small businesses.