BUSINESS
08/21/2013 01:30 pm ET

Ex-McDonald's CEO: Raising The Minimum Wage To $15 Would 'Absolutely' Kill Jobs

If lawmakers were to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, it would “absolutely” kill jobs, former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi told Fox News host Neil Cavuto Tuesday.

Rensi, who was head of McDonald's in the mid-1990s and now runs a burger chain of his own, argued Tuesday that a $15 minimum wage would put 15 to 20 percent of small businesses out of business.

Fast food workers across the country took to the streets earlier this summer, with some demanding $15 per hour. Many fast food workers have said they're struggling to survive on their near-minimum wage paychecks and that their employers could afford to pay them more, citing the billions of dollars in profits some chains take in.

A $15 minimum wage is higher than most lawmakers are considering. But many studies have found that raising the federal $7.25 minimum wage by a couple of dollars -- as President Obama proposed earlier this year -- wouldn’t affect unemployment rates in any noticeable way, according to the Washington Post.

Current McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson earlier this year disputed the idea that his company pays poverty-level wages, telling Bloomberg that the company has always been “an above minimum wage employer.”

But it's not just a higher minimum wage that's threatening business owners, according to Rensi. “Obamacare is going to drop 15 to 20 percent of small businesses off the face of the earth,” he told Fox News.

The Obama administration disputed that claim in a recent study, which found that Obamacare would drive down the cost of health care coverage for small businesses.

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