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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/2/21

Why Your Chipotle Burrito Costs More

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From Robert Reich Blog

Republicans have finally found an issue to run on in next year's midterm elections. Apparently Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head weren't gaining enough traction."

"Democrats' socialist stimulus bill caused a labor shortage and now burrito lovers everywhere are footing the bill,"said an NRCC spokesman, Mike Berg.

You heard that right. They're blaming Democrats for the rise in Chipotle burrito prices

The GOP's tortured logic is that the unemployment benefits in the American Rescue Plan have caused people to stay home rather than look for work, resulting in labor shortages that have forced employers like Chipotle to increase wages, which has required them to raise their prices.

Hence, Chipotle's more expensive burrito.

This isn't just loony economics. It's dangerously loony economics because it might be believed, leading to all sorts of stupid public policies.

Start with the notion that $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits is keeping Americans from working.

Since very few jobless workers qualify for state unemployment benefits, the Republican claim is that legions of workers have chosen to become couch potatoes and collect $15,000 a year rather than get a job.

I challenge one Republican lawmaker to live on $15,000 a year.

In fact, the reason workers are holding back from reentering the job market is because they don't have childcare or are still concerned about their health during the pandemic.

Besides, if employers want additional workers, they can do what they do for anything they want more of but can't obtain at its current price -- pay more.This is free-market capitalism at work...which Republicans claim to love.

When Chipotle wanted to attract more workers, it raised its average wage to $15 an hour. That comes to around $30,000 a year per worker still too little to live on, but double the federal unemployment benefit.

Oh, and there's no reason to suppose this wage hike forced Chipotle to raise the price of its burrito. The company had other options.

Chipotle's executives are among the best paid in America. Its chief executive, Brian Niccol, raked in $38 million last year which happens to be 2,898 times more than the typical Chipotle employee. All Chipotle's top executives got massive pay increases.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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