Yesterday, scores of fast food workers across the nation stood out in front of their respective places of employment and raised their voices in favor of a minimum wage increase. The same here happened in the Lowcountry.

According to these workers, the state’s paltry $7.25 minimum wage is far from a livable one. There’s rent to pay, insurance to buy, and mouths to feed, and frankly a measly $15,000 just doesn’t cover all those expenses.

As expected, the fast food industry, not to mention the big box retailers that regularly employ these largely unskilled workers, is against any sort of increase, while the nation’s top economists just can’t agree whether a wage increase will save the economy or destroy it. 

Unfortunately, they’re all thinking about this problem the wrong way. In fact, the solution is staring us right in the face and has been for some time. It’s time to abolish the minimum wage entirely.

And the only way we can do that is if fast food restos and big boxers finally do their part to look after their employees by offering them free housing, healthcare, clothing, food, and, get this, education in exchange for any and all of wages. It’s not only the financially feasible thing to do. It’s the humane thing to do.

Here’s how it’ll work: The fast food restaurant, in this case we’ll call it Burger Gin, will build multi-unit single family housing on their properties where their employees will live rent free. Each day Burger Gin will provide their workers with three square meals, not all of which are limited to the chain’s dollar menu. In addition to giving employees free uniforms, Burger Gin will also provide workers and their families with other company-branded clothing, from undergarments to Burger Gin-approved church clothes. Once a week, Burger Gin’s doctors will visit each site and check up on the employees and administer to them as needed (Bonus: Dental and psychological counseling will be included.) And Burger Gin will provide free — yes, free — classes to all family members under their care. Every day, the young people — and any of the older set who wishes to receive a refresher course — will be instructed in the in-and-outs of working the grill, the fryer, and the milkshake machine. 

Sounds like a plan right? Of course it does.

However, some blowback is to be excepted, which is why Burger Gin and the rest will have to win the PR war before it starts. And the way to do that is to choose the appropriate name for the cause, one that harkens back to a time when our forefathers had the courage to stand up for what’s right, a time when the more fortunate stood up for the less, while tying the efforts of the past to the cause of the present, the abolition of the minimum wage.

My recommendation: We’ll call this new movement Abolitionism and the champions of this bold new plan Abolitionists. And if history is any indication, victory is ours.

Abolition today, abolition tomorrow, abolition forever — for a kinder, more caring America.

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