During her acceptance speech, Iowa Senator-elect Joni Ernst joked that “It’s a long way from Red Oak to Washington, from the biscuit line at Hardee’s to the United States Senate.” Ernst hadn’t forgotten her days working at the fast food chain, and her shout-out to her former employer didn’t go unappreciated. Hardee’s took out a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register to congratulate Ernst and thank her for reminding us that “your job and your life are what you make of them.”
My cousin saw this as a good response to the “living wage” minimum wage hike. Hardees taught Senator-elect Ernst to show up on time, do a good job, get along with co-workers, etc. That is what minimum wage jobs are supposed to do. They are meant to be the beginning, not the be-all and end-all of a career. My cousin pointed out that theaters used to have ushers, gas stations had attendants, and all of the grocery stores had bagboys. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there was 60.5% labor participation for 16 to 24 years old this part July, compared to 77.5 percent in 1989. Another hike in the minimum wage, and that will drop even further as companies automate and cut back on service.