Let’s run a quick thought experiment.Imagine your favourite kind of food. Mine is pizza. So while you read this next part, substitute “pizza” with whatever your favourite kind of food is.Imagine if tomorrow, all the pizza makers in the world decided that they feel their product is worth more than people have traditionally been willing to pay for it. Instead of $30 for a decent pizza with some extra toppings, they’re suddenly going to start charging double that: $60. This is so that the pizza makers can start earning a “living wage.”Can you really not see why that would be upsetting to me? If pizzas are going to double in price overnight, or even over a time span of 5 years, I can guarantee that I’m going to stop eating as much pizza. If the price doubles, I’m probably going to end up buying half as much, because my junk food budget is pretty rigid. Then again, that’d leave half my junk food evenings without any meals to fill them, so the more likely outcome is that I’ll switch over to my second-favourite junk food (let’s say burgers), one that hasn’t had its price increased so arbitrarily, and I’ll just make do with that. Maybe I’ll get pizza twice a year as a special treat, but no more than that.That’s exactly what happens with the proposition of a living wage, and it’s for pretty much the same reasons that some people don’t think it’s a great idea. Just suddenly declaring that a product (in this case, labour) should cost double what it’s been costing up until now (the infamous $15/hr demand) will force many businesses to make do with less labour (hello, automation!), or with cheaper labour (hello, outsourcing to Mexico and China!).The living wage argument is also based on the assumption that every job that exists is somehow worth enough of a wage for the person doing that job to live off. That’s not even close to being true. Who is going to pay Timmy to rake leaves and give him enough money to live comfortably off of it? Some jobs just aren’t worth a living wage. Some jobs have always been meant to be part-time affairs, or entry-level positions designed to provide part of the remuneration in the form of experience (which is crucial to newcomers fresh out of school). When you’re just starting out in the job market, experience is much more important to gain than money (learning how to take orders, how to be proactive, how to survive the corporate fishtank, how to handle customers, how to defer and when—there are hundreds of job-related skills that can’t really be taught in an academic setting, and have to be learned on the job, and I know because I spent 6 years studying and firmly believe I learned most of my job-related skills in that first 6 months of going to work and actually‡ you know, working.)The living wage argument doesn’t take experience into account, which is a big problem with it. It wants to make labour more expensive to purchase without bothering to increase the value of the labour being purchased, which is another big problem with it.Remember, it’s not that people don’t want those who work not to earn a living wage. If we could magically create more (inflation-free) money and ensure everybody had a living wage (along with sparkly ponies), I’m sure hardly anybody would object to that. It’s the paying for that living wage that’s the problem. Because that money doesn’t just materialise out of thin air. Someone has to pay for labourers to receive a living wage. And nobody wants to pick up the tab.These are some of the reasons why people don’t like the idea of a living wage. It’s arbitrary. Kinda like declaring that $30 pizzas should suddenly cost $60. You can’t do that and then fault people for going “WTF?”UPDATE 1Interesting comments so far, but they tend to focus immediately on the profitability of pizza specifically, which wasn’t really the point I was making. I was merely pointing to why people would be upset if a key expenditure of theirs (in my case, pizza; in Walmart’s case, labour) were to suddenly double in cost overnight by decree of the government. In my mind, that sufficiently explains why many people (businesses in particular) are not happy with the concept of a living wage.But the comments did raise another interesting and thoroughly flawed idea that I hear bandied about very often: The notion that if a business (let’s say a pizzeria) cannot afford to pay its employees a living wage, then that’s a signal that society does not really value the product it provides, and hence that business should, in a display of karmic justice, be demolished, since it does not deserve to thrive.This shows a stunning lack of consistency of thought. Such an argument wants to pay homage to the free market forces that must decide whether society values a business‡ product (i.e. they want free market forces to reign supreme on the output side of the equation), while at the same time wanting to prevent those same free market forces from operating on the input side of the equation!How convenient.If the free market (let’s say, for pizza) ought to be given the right to determine whether society values pizza enough to pay for it, then certainly the free market for labour (the employees working at the pizza place) should also be allowed to freely decide whether they want to work at the pizza place for whatever pay they want, whether that’s a living wage or not. (Experience over the last handful of decades has shown that employees of pizza places are more than willing to work for less than a living wage.)Either the market gets to decide freely on both sides of the equation, or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways to suit your narrative.UPDATE 2Okay, if one more person says I am actually comparing my ease of access to pizza with other people’s ease of making a living wage (and preferring the former at the cost of the latter) I might lose my mind!Please, guys. The pizza is just an EXAMPLE. It can be anything that one spends money on routinely. It can be gasoline. It can be health insurance. For crying out loud, I could have used INSULIN as an example. Come to think of it, maybe I should have.The point I am making is not “Muh pizza! nom nom nom”The point is “Just as I would hate vendors doubling the price of my pizza/gasoline/insulin overnight, businesses are hating the idea of doubling the cost of their labour overnight.” That is the point. I am trying to make it relatable to anybody reading this, so they can imagine how THEY would feel if something that they routinely spend money on suddenly doubles in price. Shame on me for thinking that loving pizza is a relatable trait. :/I repeat: It is not about the pizza. (And honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed for the general level of critical thinking skills in these here parts that I am having to point this out.)In fact, in the grand scheme of things, pizza is a luxury item with a very high elasticity of demand, so it was not the best example—my bad. For most businesses, labour has a very low elasticity of demand (until they can afford full-scale automation, anyway). So please, for the love of all that is sacred, stop focusing on the PIZZA specifically. In my original answer, replace “pizza” with “insulin” or “dooberry” or “product X” if that helps you make better sense of the underlying argument.