McDonald’s workers in Denmark and the costs of the country’s Big Macs have once again been brought into the debate over whether the United States should more than double the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.
New York MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has long advocated for wage hikes, condemned Democrats’ decision not to include an hourly wage increase in their COVID-19 bill, while also mentioning what workers are doing from the European country.
“It is utterly embarrassing that ‘paying people enough to live’ is a position that is even debated,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“Replace the parliamentarian and increase the salary. McD workers in Denmark are paid $ 22 / hr + 6 weeks of paid vacation. $ 15 / hr is a deep compromise – a big compromise, considering the phased in set-up.
Ocasio-Cortez’s numbers are correct, and McDonald’s workers in Denmark earn around $ 22 an hour from the heavily unionized de facto minimum wage set in the country, in addition to other benefits.
A 2014 opinion piece on Reuters, titled “I make $ 21 an hour at McDonald’s. Why not you?” Also states that employees under 18 earn the equivalent of $ 15 in Denmark, more than double what many adults in America earn working in the fast food chain at the current minimum of $ 7.25.
A frequent argument made against increasing the minimum wage to $ 15 is the suggestion that it will have a ripple effect and that the prices of affordable fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell will also increase dramatically.
In criticism, many use the price of a Big Mac in Denmark as proof that such claims are unwarranted. On social media, a number of Twitter users say the cost of a Big Mac is around $ 5.15, compared to $ 4: 80 in the US, even with very different staff salaries.
However, the figure of $ 5.15 appears to come from The Economist’s Big Mac Index 2014 – a “light guide” for comparing different currencies using purchasing power parity theory. The Big Mac Index is not a rigorous study and is more of a gimmick than an official price measure of the Big Mac.
Indeed, the most recent Big Mac Index even states that the burger currently costs around $ 4.87 in Denmark, cheaper than the average cost of $ 5.66 in the US
While not a true measure of cost, the Big Mac Index seems to show the price of a Big Mac fairly accurately.
In a 2020 opinion piece for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof noted how a Big Mac “turned over by workers at $ 22 an hour isn’t even much more expensive” than an American.
“Big Mac prices vary by outlet, but my spot prices suggested that one could cost about 27 cents more on average in Denmark than in the United States. Those 27 cents are the price of dignity. “, he added.
Although the cost of a Big Mac in Denmark has not changed massively due to the hike in the minimum wage, the country still has a very high cost of living compared to the United States, as well as slices of money. higher taxation.
As Numbero noted, the price of an average McMeal in the Danish cities of Aalborg, Copenhagen and Arhus is between $ 12 and $ 13. In Denmark, taxes are included in list prices, unlike in the United States