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  • seattleoutcast

    Of course, this is socialism in action.

    Rather than address the real issues, such as housing prices, health care prices and educational costs, socialists want to force others to absorb the costs. This is, of course, because they benefit from said costs. To reduce the costs of housing, health care and education means a paycut for democrats (and, very often, republicans.)

  • f1b0nacc1

    Given the high capital costs (as well as still somewhat immature technology) involved, this would have probably been an issue for 5-10 years down the road were it not for the fools on the Left. By drastically raising the cost of labor, they are pushing businesses into moving towards automation far more quickly than would have otherwise been the case.

    • Blackbeard

      But are those on the Left truly fools? Consider: Aggressive minimum wage increases, increases in mandatory overtime, and other similar supposedly pro-labor regulations will certainly help those who can get or keep a job but many others will be shut out of the labor market entirely. But will the Left be blamed for this pain, as they should be? First, recognize that they have cleverly phased these changes in over many years. Will the average low information voter be able to connect regulatory changes today with the loss of their job say four years from now? Particularly because the media will be doing everything they can to confuse the issue and blame it on the Republicans.

      Isn’t the lesson of the Obama years that slow growth and increased inequality are good for the electoral prospects of the Left as they can dodge the blame and harness the frustration?

      • f1b0nacc1

        You make an interesting point, but I suspect that some of it is more a question of these people (as RE Lee would say) simply not understanding how businesses work. There seems to be a general assessment by many (most?) on the Left that when confronted with higher labor costs, businesses will simply reach into their secret money stash and pay what is demanded. Now this has in fact been practical (or at least tolerated) in the past by larger businesses who seem to value labor peace over profitability, but smaller businesses just simply go under. I suspect that the rise in technology gives smaller businesses some options (automation that doesn’t require adopting the extended family of the consulting firms that recommend it), we may see a different solution.
        With all that said, your broader point (that the Left will simply lie about who to blame, and count upon the public’s ignorance to sustain their lies) isn’t a bad one. It means that we need to respond to this sort of thing aggressively.

  • Maddog

    Mr. Mead thank you for all your hard work. I posted this to my blog come visit (it includes the hyperlinks which disappear here):

    If you are stuck in a mindlessly repetitive minimum wage job, remember it is the progressives who wish to tether you to that job . . .

    . . . not Maddog.

    “Minimum wage hikes are rippling across the economy, and corporations are responding just as you would expect them to. Investor’s Business Daily reports:

    Wendy’s said that self-service ordering kiosks will be made available across its 6,000-plus restaurants in the second half of the year as minimum wage hikes and a tight labor market push up wages.

    It will be up to franchisees whether to deploy the labor-saving technology, but Wendy’s President Todd Penegor did note that some franchise locations have been raising prices to offset wage hikes.

    McDonald’s has been testing self-service kiosks. But Wendy’s, which has been vocal about embracing labor-saving technology, is launching the biggest potential expansion.”

    We at the Lair discussed this here:

    Wendy’s, regarding that new minimum wage, there is more than one way to skin a cat . . . (disappeared hyperlink)

    “This was going to happen anyway, and the elimination of mindless, routine work thanks to automation is, in the long run, a great blessing for the human race. But at a time when we haven’t yet mastered the art of creating new jobs fast enough to ensure rising living standards and steady employment in the face of rising automation, it seems like a bad time to accelerate the job loss trend.

    We don’t need laws against robots or progress, but we don’t need laws that hasten the elimination of low-skilled employment either.”

    This is what happens when one believes in ideology to the level of religious fervor. One becomes incapable of seeing the world as it is, and can only see the world as it is believed. Nothing will stop these changes. It is we who want to pay less, and it is we who want to remove the human from the burger making chain. We don’t have to worry about dropped burgers, washed hands, or working while sick if a robot makes them.

    “If we’re concerned about improving opportunity for those at the bottom, we should be looking at ways to supplement incomes for low-skilled workers (such as the EITC, or government matches for retirement, child care, and health savings accounts), or at policies that might help them acquire more skills. Passing radical minimum wage increases that risk condemning thousands to permanent joblessness is the wrong move.”

    Progressives are hidebound to maintain the current system, mostly because if offers the greatest amount of graft, but also because they spent the past 100+ years optimizing it. And now, it is kaput. No amount of Miracle Oil, or carnauba wax will bring it back to life. Maddog finds it impossible to believe that progressives like being wrong as much as they are, but until they throw off the yoke of the secular progressive religion, and begin to see the world as it is and not as they wish it were, they will continue to be wrong.

    And as Mead notes, the fix for most of this is relatively simple and inexpensive. Retarget the EITC to address these concerns, and have some significant amount of the EITC pay directly into retirement, medical payments savings accounts, unemployment savings accounts, etc. Additional matching funds, would be a very good idea, as would EITC funding for children of the poor to help defray the cost of education, among other things.

    These economic changes cannot be stopped, they can be delayed, or accelerated. Why progressives seeking to delay them would cause acceleration and fete this outcome is beyond me.

    This is the Jodie Foster Effect:

    “How do these people have all the time to know the things that they know?” She searched for the answer to her own question, and smiled. “I think I’m just not . . . I’m not a fact person. I don’t really care about facts. I don’t even really retain them and I find them anxious-making. I like ideas.”

    They don’t care about facts, they find facts make them anxious, and so avoid them. And like Jodie, they simply bask in ideas they like. Mostly this means adopting an ideology which makes them feel good about themselves, regardless of actual outcomes.

  • First, automation enabled offshoring of medium-skill jobs. As the medium-skill demand contracted, it sent “previously skilled” workers into the low-skill labor pool, as well as cutting off the traditional paths from low- to medium-skill through promotion and on-the-job training. (Why promote a low-skill worker to train when you’ve just displaced a whole bunch of proven medium-skill workers from other jobs?) The result is a glut of low-skill labor, and consequent low wages.

    What WRM is describing is the other shoe dropping, as automation starts to eat into the low-skill market, which so far at least has maintained decent demand. As automation eats into the demand, the next cycle is to send a lot of low-skill workers into long-term unemployment or out of the labor force entirely.

    If anybody’s interested, I made up a set of labor-flow charts here, which describe my take on the dynamics.

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