Why People Are Using McDonald's Denmark As An Argument For A Higher Minimum Wage

"I work for McDonald's [in Denmark] and I make $21 an hour," wrote Louise Marie Rantzau for Reuters in May of 2014, explaining why and how that could be with remarkable clarity. Thanks to an agreement between the country and the fast food company, that $21 an hour would be standard for employees over the age of 18. Rantzau also noted that those younger than 18 make at least $15 per hour, which happens to be the precise amount to which Democrats have been, for years, ardently hoping to raise the minimum wage over the next four years (via CNBC).

On Feb. 25, 2021, those hopes were dashed by the Senate Parliamentarian's decision to keep the proposed increase out of budget reconciliation legislation (which would have virtually ensured the increase passed due to simple majority rules) on grounds that "the minimum wage" is not actually an appropriate topic for a budget reconciliation bill (via Fox Business). The Senate Parliamentarian, currently, Elizabeth MacDonough, is in charge of matters such as these, in which a question arises as to whether the substance of particular legislation should even be put to the floor. 

The decision has greatly disappointed Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who responded by reiterating his party's intention of continuing the fight to raise the minimum wage (via Slate). How that will happen remains a question, although it appears that McDonald's Denmark's wage practices may be used as an argument. Read on to learn why.

McDonald's Denmark pays its workers well beyond the minimum wage sought by Democrats

The Senate's decision to exclude the Democrats' proposed minimum wage increase from upcoming legislative debate disappointed and raised the ire of Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who on March 2, 2021 tweeted her outrage that the question of raising the minimum wage is even up for debate, let alone excluded from debate, thanks to the Senate Parliamentarian's interpretation of legislative procedure. In stating her case, AOC cited that McDonald's workers in Denmark are paid $22 per hour and allotted six weeks of paid vacation.

Notwithstanding Louise Marie Rantzau's having confirmed the same for Reuters back in 2014, some people were apparently shocked that fast food workers anywhere could be compensated so generously, leading Snopes to do some fact-checking. As Snopes confirmed, full-time McDonald's Denmark workers making around "$44,000 per year, which works out to a little over $21 an hour — and they truly get several weeks of paid vacation."

Some who oppose raising the minimum wage claim the effect will be higher consumer prices, citing the price of Big Macs in Denmark being significantly higher than in the United States, but this is fundamentally incorrect, according to Newsweek, citing The Economist's "Big Mac Index," which lightheartedly compares prices of the Big Mac among nations. Apparently, the "BMI" has the Big Mac as priced lower in Denmark than the U.S.