Minimum Wage

How Raising the Minimum Wage Destroys Jobs

Computer screens are replacing workers at restaurants and stores.

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For anyone who dismissed as a bunch of right-wing propaganda the claim that a higher minimum wage and mandatory health benefits would mean more workers replaced by computer screens, here is a reality check.

McDonald's announced this month that it will deploy computer kiosks at 7,000 restaurants in Europe, allowing customers to place their own orders and pay by swiping their own credit card. Another restaurant chain, Panera, is deploying the computer kiosks for customers in the U.S., a development that Bloomberg News reported under the headline, "More Kiosks, Fewer Cashiers Coming Soon To Panera."

The fast-food trade publication QSR reports that a McDonald's in Laguna Niguel, California, is experimenting with iPads that let customers customize their hamburgers. A White Castle in Columbus, Ohio, has deployed computer kiosks that let customers place their own orders, unassisted by a paid human being. "Both Chili's and Applebee's recently announced that they are adding tablets throughout their restaurants, allowing customers to order and pay at their tables," the QSR story says.

Nextep Systems, a Troy, Michigan-based firm that specializes in touch-screen self-order systems, says its sales for 2013 were up 50 percent from the prior year. At some point, you won't even need the kiosk—you'll be able to order from an app on your smartphone, maybe even before you arrive at the restaurant.

And it's not only restaurants. Even Costco, a firm that President Obama has praised for its labor practices, features self-checkout lanes where customers scan the bar codes on their own purchases, then pay by swiping a credit card and signing on a computer scanner. No cash-register employee needed, whether at minimum wage or "living wage."

For the restaurants and customers, the technology has potential benefits besides savings on labor costs. Accuracy is supposedly improved, and the restaurants seem to hope they can sell more food to customers who don't have to worry about being embarrassed when they ask out loud for that supersize fries.

For people who worry about jobs and joblessness in America, though, there's a concern that yet another occupation may have its ranked severely thinned by technological progress. The number of travel agents in the U.S., for example, declined to about 64,000 in 2013 from 117,000 in 1997, as Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, and Travelocity, not to mention the websites of the airlines and hotels themselves, replaced human agents with self-service. Automated corporate telephone answering systems and voicemail trees had roughly the same effect on the number of telephone switchboard operators. Smart meters that communicate automatically directly with utility companies have put meter readers on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of fastest declining occupations. "Pay at the pump" with a credit card at self-serve gasoline stations has reduced the number of gas station attendants, and windshield-based transponders like E-ZPass have reduced the need for human highway toll collectors.

Optimists will point out that there are some jobs that are difficult to automate—the BLS lists home health aides, physical therapists, dental hygienists, and substance abuse counselors among the fastest growing occupations. And there is something awesomely powerful and efficient about the dynamism with which the invisible hand of capitalism reallocates labor to more productive tasks.

Still, even political moderates well familiar with the laws of economics are voicing concerns about the effects of technology. The economist and former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers warned recently of "the devastating consequences of robots, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, and the like for those who perform routine tasks. Already there are more American men on disability insurance than doing production work in manufacturing. And the trends are all in the wrong direction, particularly for the less skilled, as the capacity of capital embodying artificial intelligence to replace white-collar as well as blue-collar work will increase rapidly in the years ahead."

Microsoft founder Bill Gates warned recently, "you have to be a bit careful: If you raise the minimum wage, you're encouraging labor substitution, and you're going to go buy machines and automate things."

Gates, who made himself one of the richest men in the world and founded a company that employs a lot of people, knows that machines and automation can create jobs and wealth as well as destroy them. But that's one thing when it happens on its own, another thing when it happens when politicians, through regulation, making hiring an employee so expensive that it's cheaper for the employer just to buy a machine instead.

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  1. Calling Reason editors!

    “Even Costco, a firm that President Obama has praised for its labor practices, features self-checkout lanes where customers scan the bar codes on their own purchases, then pay by swiping a credit card and signing on a computer scanner. No cash-register employee needed, whether at minimum wage or “living wage.”

    Please use correct information when you are criticizing an issue.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/…..13946.html

    1. Haven’t disappeared yet in the Costco nearest me.

      Also Kroger

      (in case you don’t like shopping at Costco)

    2. A year old report…way to show those editors! I’ve seen various stores take them out…only to put them back in. I would bet by popular demand. I’ll be honest, I can check my groceries better than half the employees at these stores. I’d rather not have to interact with them either.

  2. The economist and former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers warned recently of “the devastating consequences of robots, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, and the like for those who perform routine tasks. Already there are more American men on disability insurance than doing production work in manufacturing. And the trends are all in the wrong direction, particularly for the less skilled, as the capacity of capital embodying artificial intelligence to replace white-collar as well as blue-collar work will increase rapidly in the years ahead.”

    Luddite. Fallacy. Will. Not. Die. The consequence of automation is that within a century, everything from mining to manufacturing to medicine will be automated, leaving human beings to pursue other, emergent interests. And the idea that low-skilled workers will somehow become denizens of tent cities without an income is absurd, particularly within a republican system of government that has a 100-year tradition of giving away huge sums of money to ensure voter loyalty.

    Socialism may suck, but if the market succeeds in eliminating 90% of the scarcity we currently face–particularly in energy and medicine–we’ll be a massively wealthy society that can handle the parasitism of people living on handouts. And if we eliminate most all scarcity, having a population composed entirely of the idle rich dedicated to art, philosophy, and research doesn’t strike me as such a terrible thing.

    1. Please don’t tell me you are part of the “Venus Project” cult.

      1. Never heard of it. I’m more a Cult of Economic Development sort of guy.

        1. “Fresco argues that Earth has enough resources and that the practice of distributing resources through a price system method is irrelevant and counterproductive to survival.”

          Good luck with that.

      2. I’m part of the ‘robots will allow us to have everything we have no *and* free up labor to create even more stuff’ cult.

        1. He’s right. So many of these arguments about technology replacing labor start from a pretty absurd place: “Imagine that robots can do everything? What will the poor do then?

          Well, imagining a word that needs no labor is about as close as I can come to fantasizing about a post-scarcity society. The hypothetical question is essentially, imagine that the “Venus Project” cult actually pulled it off! What would happen then?

          Well, in a post-scarcity world, or near post-scarcity world, the poor don’t have much to worry about. Because, all you need is one of these magic robots and say “Go feed, clothe, and provide medicine to everyone.” And it’s done.

          And, any, more realistic hypothetical implies that labor is still valued, which implies that there’s something for people to do for money.

          Also, the poor can’t be completely driven out of society by market changes, since they are the primary customers for a lot of goods. Poor people demand food, shelter, and clothing, and those things have to be provided even more cheaply and efficiently if their incomes are low.

          In other words, there’s a reason poor people can still buy food, even though the US has drastically diminished is agrarian farm employment. They didn’t all starve to death, and a loaf of bread is still a few bucks, and much cheaper than before. Worrying about agricultural technology is a non-issue, in terms of what to do with poor people.

          I assume that, back then, socialists were terrified of the idea.

    2. With replicators, holodecks, starships with dilithium crystal warp drives, and hot female aliens a certain captain seems to enjoy quite often.

      1. In a world with minimal scarcity, there will be hot female aliens for everyone!

        1. Bitches and blow, bitchez.

    3. “The consequence of automation is that within a century, everything from mining to manufacturing to medicine will be automated, leaving human beings to pursue other, emergent interests”

      I’m pretty sure you’re optimistic there, but the question here is not whether automation is good but whether distortion of the market by the government will gain or lose jobs.

      1. Most economists’ estimates (I know) are that individual wealth will increase by 5-10x in the next hundred years. That’s subject to huge variation (what if molecular printers become a reality in 20 years, what if Google Car technology automates all travel and delivery of goods, what if Obama gets us into a nuclear war as his final hurrah, etc.), but chances are that the people of 2114 will find our homes, medical technology, and entertainment options as quaint as we’d find those of 1914.

    4. Yeah, run on that platform.

      “Vote for me! Things will be great in 100 years!”

    5. “Luddite. Fallacy. Will. Not. Die. ”

      To be fair, while many on the Left repeatedly shout that refrain, despite their history of being wrong about it, that’s not what Larry Summers was saying.

      His comments are usually of the, let’s ensure that these people who get pushed out of work by rapid automation have access to training money and temporary unemployment benefits.

  3. Doh, you mean a business is going to get a machine that functions well, doesn’t take a sick day in general, doesn’t complain, and saves money?

    Serious though, I would like to see what the break even point is. Say a Kiosk cost 10,000 so it take 667 hours of use (not counting electricity or repairs) so 17 weeks to become profitable? I can see it saving in training and turn over.

    1. …and health insurance, and vacation/time off, and “shrinkage” (theft–both of firm equipment and firm time), and lawsuits from various aggrieved persons….

    2. Yes, but a Kiosk can’t replace everything a human cashier does. According to the article it’s more likely that a store with 3 cashiers working at peak times, adds 8 kiosks and cuts down to 2 cashiers. However, even at non-peak times they’ll still have to keep one cashier on duty and there are no direct savings at those times.

      The big win is that Panera’s can cut the wait time, which is usually where they suffer.

  4. We don’t have a shred of evidence that incremental increases in minimum wage increase unemployment or hinder economic growth, but because fast food companies are now using a thing called a computer to serve its customers we’ll be sure to blame that on this. Or is it this on that?

    Ira, have you been to a grocery store, oh, in the last 15 years or so? Notice anything different in the 10 items or less aisle?

    1. Well, you’ve convinced me. Let’s just turn it up to $100.00 per hour and everyone will be prosperous.

      1. Do you know what incrementally means?

        1. Yes, but I think that highlights the problem. If the minimum wage were $.01, I don’t think anyone would say it would cause any unemployment or disruption. If it were at $100.00, it would cause a major disruption. We can therefore conclude that at some point between $.01 and $100.00 that there would be major dislocations. Government prognosticators don’t have a crystal ball as to where that price point may be.

          And P.S. – There’s a vast amount of literature regarding the minimum wage aside from Card/Kreuger. I would count that as more than a “shred of evidence.”

          1. Name one study that hasn’t been thoroughly debunked or isn’t from some paid off right-wing “think” tank?

            1. You do realize that you can read a simple wikipedia article and get the information you’re demanding to see on the assumption that it doesn’t exist, right?

              There are too many to link and cite.

              Minimum wage:
              “Using Federal Minimum Wages to Identify the Impact of Minimum Wages on Employment and Earnings Across the U.S. States”. 1 Oct 2011.
              “Teen employment, poverty, and the minimum wage: Evidence from Canada”. 1 Jan 2011.
              “Are the Effects of Minimum Wage Increases Always Small? New Evidence from a Case Study of New York State”. 2 Apr 2012.
              Meer, Jonathan; West, Jeremy (2013). “Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics”. NBER Working Paper No. 19262.
              “Minimum wage effects on youth employment in the European Union”. 14 Sep 2013.
              “Minimum Wages and Employment in China”. 14 Dec 2013.

              This is research from people at universities and the Natuional Bureau of Economic Research. This isn’t from right wing think tanks.

              1. The funny thing is, you come here ready to troll, as if you’re going to educate us all on what peer reviewed research has to say. You challenge us to

                Name one study that hasn’t been thoroughly debunked or isn’t from some paid off right-wing “think” tank?

                As if you’re completely unaware that such information exists. Then, when such evidence is provided, you move the goal posts, cite the Center for Economic and Policy Research (i.e., a left-wing think tank), and act like the debate is settled (that is, a debate that you didn’t even know existed).

                1. And why? We deem labor immune to the law of supply and demand because of meta studies of calling fast food employees before and after mild adjustments in local minimum wage policies.

                  That’s not deriving an intelligent conclusion from peer-reviewed data. That’s called cherry-picking research that supports your own confirmation biases and running with it. Even the authors of these papers make sure to couch their language in qualifiers like “modest adjustments in minimum wage rates produce no measurable effects on teen employment in these phone survey studies.”

                  Yet, your takeaway is

                  “The evidence is in. Increases in the minimum wage don’t increase unemployment.”

                  If you want to go moving the goal posts, and then cherry picking your research from progressive think tanks and declaring that superior to the peer reviewed literature that you weren’t even aware existed, but are some how sure can’t be as good as your confirmation bias-supporting nuggets, then you’re not a serious thinker, and no one should take you seriously.

                  Now, please, get back to parroting socialist talking points and googling the Center for Economic Policy Research.

                  1. “If you want to go moving the goal posts, and then cherry picking your research from progressive think tanks and declaring that superior to the peer reviewed literature that you weren’t even aware existed, but are some how sure can’t be as good as your confirmation bias-supporting nuggets, then you’re not a serious thinker, and no one should take you seriously.”

                    Is this better or worse than citing a Krugman article (didn’t know he was a socialist, BTW) written in the Washington Monthly and calling it a technical article? I cited four technical papers– one of which I found from the dreaded CEBR. The rest I found by typing in minimum wage and unemployment rate and reading this entries This is wrong how? And you using a wikipedia article to cherry pick research that supports position paper libertarian arguments is different somehow than me using Google. I’m searching for truth… are you?

                    “Now, please, get back to parroting socialist talking points and googling the Center for Economic Policy Research.”

                    No problem… this is the first entry I get when I type in “minimum wage and employment”

                    http://www.care2.com/causes/as…..-jobs.html

                    Does it get better from there?

                    1. “american socialist – No problem… this is the first entry I get when I type in “minimum wage and employment”

                      http://www.care2.com/causes/as…..-jobs.html

                      Does it get better from there?”

                      Apparently, you didn’t even bother to read your own link. From the link:

                      “There have been some studies that found a higher minimum wage will hurt job growth, such as a Congressional Budget Office report that estimated a $10.10 wage would reduce jobs by about 0.3 percent.

                      Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/as…..z32GRVdfEs“

              2. There are six articles here. Three of these articles are about economics outside the United States. Did I claim anything about that?

                Of the three remaining articles one is a case study that shows an outlier and the other two have substantial caveats– in addition to being papers that are for the most part attempts to establish a mathematical model. I find them at least honest. The world is a complicated place with contradictory data. After looking at them objectively and considering contrary articles am I convinced that modest increases in minimum wage increase unemployment? No.

                1. “After looking at them objectively and considering contrary articles am I convinced that modest increases in minimum wage increase unemployment? No.”

                  Define modest.

                  “The Congressional Budget Office report estimated a $10.10 wage would reduce jobs by about 0.3 percent.”

                  So, if you are arguing for a $0.25 increase to minimum wage, then knock yourself out. Most probably an increase at that level will not cause any detectable change in unemployment.

            2. Interesting way to phrase that. Almost seems like you are ready to throw out anything you disagree with.

            3. Are you a fan of oxymorons?

        2. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 6:21PM|#
          “Do you know what incrementally means?”

          Yeah, asshole, it’s code for ‘you think you can find a low enough change that the effects will be hidden’.

          1. Demand curves just keep sloping down regardless of whether you raise prices slowly or quickly. It’s the damndest thing.

          2. The reason you right-wingers result to profane hysterics is you don’t have any facts on your side.

            “If you are strong on the facts, but weak on the law pound on the facts . If you are weak on the facts, but strong on the law, pound on the law. If you are weak on the facts and weak on the law, pound on the table”
            -commonly attributed to Clarence Darrow

            http://www.cepr.net/documents/…..013-02.pdf

            1. Yeah, asshole, I’m sure you missed:
              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..28174.html
              And the reason I get “profane” is a thorough distaste for murderous assholes who use death to push their agenda.

              1. Huffingtonpost is peer-reviewed?

                I’ve got plenty of insults so far, but yet still no academic studies. Here’s another…

                http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/w…..157-07.pdf

                From the conclusion: “…These estimates suggest no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States…”

                1. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 11:52PM|#
                  “Huffingtonpost is peer-reviewed?”

                  No, asshole, the studies cited there were.

                  1. A Washington Monthly article is peer-reviewed? I did not know the peer review process had gone so democratic. Did I mention you were pathetic?

                    1. Says the guy that wets his pants about right wing sources and then quotes the Center for Economic and Policy Research and then the IRLE of Berkeley. I mean, silly me for not buying the arguments from noted centrist organizations CEPR and IRLE.

                      Confirmation bias is okay when it comes from the left, correct?

                      Who is pathetic again?

                    2. Really not sure why this guy keeps trotting out this “right wing” conspiracy tripe on a libertarian board.

          3. Yeah, asshole, it’s code for ‘you think you can find a low enough change that the effects will be hidden’.

            Not only to keep the effects hidden, but also to disguise the outright theft.

            If you commanded every employer to give their employees a lump-sum bonus of 5% of their previous year’s pay, even the employees would understand how wrong what you’re doing is.

            How a government takes money with virtually no obligation of return and then demands a compulsory amount of dispensation from corporations is beyond me.

        3. So, everyday we’ll increase the minimum wage by $1.

          INCREMENTALLY!

          1. AS – do you not understand that the appropriate increment for increasing the minimum wage is to increase to the minimum wage that’s actually being paid?

            At which point, there’s no point in having a minimum wage in the first place.

        4. Why should the minimum wage be the same in Manhattan as in Peoria, in Seattle as in Lafayette, in D.C. as in Fargo? Why should the minimum wage be the same in June as in December? Why should it be the same for someone with their first job as someone with experience. Why would it be the same during a boom as during a recession?

          It’s a foolish, ridiculous idea.

      2. I actually advocate $50 per hour minimum wage in all seriousness. The eventual baffled looks on the faces of those who thought they’d reap the benefits if it would be worth it.

        1. I agree. We need to just say loudly, it will never work and we won’t vote for it but we won’t stand in their way either. Then let them cause a depression and see what they have reaped.

    2. Yes. We have at least a shred of evidence. It’s called the “Law of Supply and Demand”. I think it’s been empirically confirmed a few times.

      Since you are a socialist, I wouldn’t expect you to understand such things. Run along and play now.

      1. What peer-reviewed articles support the idea that raising the minimum wage incrementally increases unemployment? Put up or shut up, right- wing drone.

        1. Raising the minimum wage will at some point either cause the destruction of jobs or prevent the creation of jobs. It doesn’t much matter if you reach that point all at once or ‘incrementally’. Of course there is alwasy the boiling frog analogy.

        2. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 6:21PM|#
          “What peer-reviewed articles support the idea that raising the minimum wage incrementally increases unemployment?”

          What peer-reviewed articles support the idea that gravity causes things to fall? Put up or shut up, lefty twit.
          Sorry, the fall in demand is a given with a rise in price; no one writes papers about it, no more than the note on gravity.
          We get plenty of breathless ‘it’s a myth’ claims from other lefty twits, and they all doth protest too much.

          1. I’m still waiting for a graph of unemployment rate versus minimum wage, or a graph of economic growth versus the top rate at which we tax income? Either or will do. Thanks bro,

            1. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 9:02PM|#
              “I’m still waiting for a graph of unemployment rate versus minimum wage, or a graph of economic growth versus the top rate at which we tax income? Either or will do. Thanks bro,”

              Still waiting for a graph showing gravity doesn’t cause things to fall. Thanks, asshole.

              1. Here’s another– this time on unemployment rate and economic growth. I got this from huffingtonpost so you could look up articles you consider peer reviewed. Let me know if you can decipher it.

                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..30852.html

                1. american socialist|5.20.14 @ 12:12AM|#
                  “Here’s another– this time on unemployment rate and economic growth. I got this from huffingtonpost”

                  “Of course, these data are limited, measuring only businesses with fewer than 50 workers. They don’t account for broader economic trends, such as the tech boom affecting West Coast cities like San Francisco and Seattle, that might affect job growth,”
                  Pick those cherries, asshokle.

                  1. Right winger bangs on keyboard some MOAR, fails again to provide any evidence. American Socialist scoffs. You are pathetic.

                  2. Put up or shut up drone.

            2. I doubt the minimum wage had been a plot table factor before versus all the other variables. I think that’s the point here. In addition to all the other negative shit going on, you want to suddenly crank up this variable to significance?

              1. Plot table = plottable

                FFS, Reason join the 21st century and editable comment systems.

                1. AS wants to see a graph linking editable comment systems to economic growth. If you can’t provide, it you’re a right wing shill and an asshole.

                  1. I guess then it is fair to ask AS for a plot showing that the unemployment rate remains flat over a change in minimum wage from $.01 to $100.0? Right?

        3. Actually dude – you want a legislative action – its up to you to provide the proof that that action will provide the benefits that you claim it will.

        4. american socialist:

          What peer-reviewed articles support the idea that raising the minimum wage incrementally increases unemployment?

          Well, you could ask Paul Krugman. But, it depends on what decade you ask him.

          Or, the wikipedia page on the minimum wage. Most economists are opposed to minimum wage laws.

          … “mild positive, yet statistically insignificant association between the change in the employment of teenagers” at state minimum wage levels. However, when minimum wage is set at the federal level, they found “notable wage impacts and large corresponding disemployment effects”.[77]

          Minimum wage laws receive less support from economists than from the general public.

          I mean, I know you ascribe to a heterodox school of economic thought, and are ready to cite Card and Krueger’s work, who noted that, one time, one place, the minimum wage went up in a state and they couldn’t measure an effect after a year. But that hardly seems a good reason to declare labor immune to the law of supply and demand. If it were true, however, it would be very convenient for your socialist economic fantasies. What a coincidence.

          1. Maybe you should also talk to someone that gets a substantial increase in their wages when the minimum wage is increased instead of focusing on the 0.2% increase in unemployment. Want to see a study that says increasing the minimum wage increases economic growth? Because those are all over.

            1. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 9:08PM|#
              “Maybe you should also talk to someone that gets a substantial increase in their wages when the minimum wage is increased instead of focusing on the 0.2% increase in unemployment.”

              Maybe you should spout bullshit to someone who doesn’t notice the goalpasts moving, asshole.

              1. Did I move goalposts? You think a 0.2% increase in unemployment is significant when measured against broader demographic trends. Hah, hah… you are a douche.

                Here’s another…

                http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v…..1&type=pdf

                “Based upon findings in Table 9, and these further analyses, we conclude that changes in the minimum wage in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the 1980’s and 1990’s probably had little systematic effect on employment in the eating and drinking sectors of the two states.”

                Is there a section in the CATO manual describing how to deflect arguments based on facts with rude and profane comments. You must be a rude lout at the dinner table.

                1. “Here’s another…”

                  Yes, there is is:
                  “We have previously written that, be-
                  cause of frictions in the labor market, a minimum-
                  wage increase can be expected to cause some
                  firms to reduce employment and others to raise
                  employment, with these two effects potentially
                  cancelling out if the rise in the minimum wage is
                  modest”
                  So if the m/w tracks the market, why, even assholes find that the market is correct!

                  1. Do you know what cancel out means? One wonders.

                2. american socialist:

                  “Based upon findings in Table 9, and these further analyses, we conclude that changes in the minimum wage in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the 1980’s and 1990’s probably had little systematic effect on employment in the eating and drinking sectors of the two states.”

                  Is there a section in the CATO manual describing how to deflect arguments based on facts with rude and profane comments. You must be a rude lout at the dinner table.

                  Is there some bizarre school of thought where studying peer-reviewed literature with results that have so many qualifiers like what you just cited can lead to the overall conclusion that:

                  The evidence is in. Increases in the minimum wage don’t increase unemployment.

                  There are studies that show that medicaid has no measurable effect on health outcomes.

                  So, I’m ready for you to tell me that the evidence is in: socialized medicine isn’t beneficial.

                  1. Once the evidence is in, there is no going back. See: climate change or turbulence or whatever the fuck raving psychopaths like AS are calling it this week.

            2. Cause and effect backwards there. Wage increases are likely the result of growth, not vice versa.

          2. “Minimum wage laws receive less support from economists than from the general public.”

            Bullshit. Economists overwhelmingly support minimum wage laws and don’t agree with position paper pushing “libertarian” right wingers. Sucks for you.

            http://www.igmchicago.org/igm-…..q5a9E77NMV

            1. Yeah, asshole:
              “Question A:
              Raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour would make it noticeably harder for low-skilled workers to find employment.”
              Lose, asshole

              and then:
              “Question B:

              The distortionary costs of raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour and indexing it to inflation are sufficiently small compared with the benefits to low-skilled workers who can find employment that this would be a desirable policy.”
              That is a question of desire, not result.
              Asshole.

              1. Boo… you are pathetic. 34/32 % agree/disagree with Question A. Hardly a consensus. That’s your peer-reviewed consensus? Laughable. Did I mention you were pathetic? The problem with this study is that they just needed moar paid-off CATO liars in the study.

            2. “Minimum wage laws receive less support from economists than from the general public.”

              Bullshit. Economists overwhelmingly support minimum wage laws and don’t agree with position paper pushing “libertarian” right wingers. Sucks for you.

              http://www.igmchicago.org/igm-…..q5a9E77NMV

              Bullshit. You’re survey doesn’t even address the issue of whether economists in general support minimum wage laws. It was a survey over expected outcomes of adjusting one minimum wage to one specific amount.

              Come back when you have something relevant.

              1. It’s funny how the takeaway from The Economist reading your very same survey result, is this:

                Academics continue to trade studies on whether minimum wages cost jobs. A recent survey of economists by the University of Chicago showed that a narrow majority of respondents believe a rise in America’s minimum wage to $9 per hour would make it “noticeably harder” for poor workers to find jobs. Yet a narrow majority also thought a rise would nonetheless be worthwhile, given the benefits to those who could find work.

                Yet your well informed take away from the peer reviewed data is:

                Economists overwhelmingly support minimum wage laws and don’t agree with position paper pushing “libertarian” right wingers. Sucks for you.

                How does a narrow majority one way, ignoring unemployment effects, become “overwhelming support”?

                Oh yeah, it always does in socialist, confirmation bias supporting, cherry-picking fantasy land.

                If you want to school us on how to properly think about issues, then figuring out how to accurately interpret data is a prerequisite.

                1. “overwhelmingly support minimum wage laws”/= “support for increases in minimum wages”. Who is moving goal posts? I’m beginning to be disappointed in arguing with you since you like to put words in people’s mouths. I find this essentially dishonest and the mark of someone who has let ideology rot an honest and open-minded search for truth.

                  1. Does it make you want to line him and his family up in front of a ditch for a ballistic lobotomy? Just curious.

                  2. american socialist:

                    Who is moving goal posts? I’m beginning to be disappointed in arguing with you since you like to put words in people’s mouths.

                    american socialist:

                    What peer-reviewed articles support the idea that raising the minimum wage incrementally increases unemployment? Put up or shut up, right- wing drone.

                    Brian:

                    Try these.

                    american socialist:

                    Maybe you should also talk to someone that gets a substantial increase in their wages when the minimum wage is increased instead of focusing on the 0.2% increase in unemployment. Want to see a study that says increasing the minimum wage increases economic growth? Because those are all over.

                    Moving the goalposts…is an informal logically fallacious argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded….The term is often used in business to imply bad faith on the part of those setting goals for others to meet, by arbitrarily making additional demands just as the initial ones are about to be met.

                    1. Let me be clear. I don’t think raising the minimum wage in incremental amounts affects the unemployment rate. I’ve posted numerous studies using meta- data analysis to prove my point. Where have I been dishonest?

                    2. If you are below the optimal wage in a certain location at a certain point in time and you raise the minimum wage incrementally, then no, of course it won’t cause much unemployment. So if they keep the minimum wage at 5.35 for 15 years and in many parts of the country employers already pay more than that, then raising it to 5.75 probably won’t hurt.

                      Why should the minimum wage be the same in Manhattan as in Peoria, in Seattle as in Lafayette, in D.C. as in Fargo? Why should the minimum wage be the same in June as in December? Why should it be the same for someone with their first job as someone with experience. Why would it be the same during a boom as during a recession? Why should hundreds of totally different jobs in hundreds of totally different businesses all have the same wage? And why should this never be allowed to go up or down unless some politicians say it can?

                      Good article on what democratic and leftist think tanks say about the minimum wage.

                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

        5. Wasn’t positive before now, but socialist in America are rude. Must come from having to be a nag to get a point across.

    3. A minimum wages (and subsequent increases) will always have *some* effect. ‘How much’ is the argument and whether it’s worth it.

    4. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 4:48PM|#
      “We don’t have a shred of evidence that incremental increases in minimum wage increase unemployment or hinder economic growth,”…

      Right. Why, ignorant dipshits tell me that raising taxes on, oh, cigarettes causes a drop in demand, but RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE MAKES EMPLOYERS HIRE MORE PEOPLE!
      Cause, lefty unicorn fart magic!
      Fuck off, asshole.

      1. Did I say that? I said it had no effect. Different, right. Breathe and read… Breathe and read.

        1. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 9:10PM|#
          “Did I say that? I said it had no effect.”
          Of course, raising prices on a good has no effect.

          “Different, right. Breathe and read… Breathe and read.”
          Read and reason, read and reason, asshole.

    5. I really don’t care what evidence there is, or is not. You can not increase “value” or increase productivity simply by raising a worker’s salary.

      If Costco pays its employees $15/hr, and the minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, then Costco is going to have to raise their wage to get the more productive workers that they desire.

      Ultimately, a rise in the minimum wage will spread across the entire payscale, and all prices will go up, and that increase in the minimum wage will not be diddly in terms of real dollars.

      Then add to that, the Fed, in all it’ss infinite wisdom, may see the rise in prices as “inflation” and raise interest rates.

      The more you fiddle, the more you need to diddle. Now, go to Venezuela and get me some fucking toilet paper. That is after you get past the rationing that has resulted from price controls.

      LTV is crap. It always has been, and always will be, and for that reason, Socialism will always fail.

    6. American socialist:

      Ira, have you been to a grocery store, oh, in the last 15 years or so? Notice anything different in the 10 items or less aisle?

      You are aware, aren’t you, that:

      1. Grocery checkout people probably earn at or close to minimum wage
      2. There have been minimum wage changes over the past, oh, 15 years.
      3. There have been labor saving improvements in grocery store checkouts, including self-checkout (i.e., drastically reduced labor)?

      I mean, you’re bringing this up as if Ira missed something. However, after giving it a second’s worth of thought, it sounds like you’re making our point for us. Which, you can’t be, because you disagree.

      I can never figure out where you trolls really stand, because of how frequently you come in here, start spouting wisdom, and, the next thing you know, making our case for us.

      Was that your point? If not, what was your actual point?

      1. It’s a genetic predisposition that Socialists lack the mental ability to stay consistent.

      2. You just think trolls are people that disagree with you. Sucks to be you. Maybe you missed the last three or four articles on Jimmy Carter, voter ID, and immigration where I defended the Reason writer from the usual and predictable right-wing attacks.

        1. When AS disagrees with you, you’re doing something right. Eh, Comrade?

  5. The title of the article should be “how technology destroys jobs.” That’s a real stretch, blaming the current debate on minimum wage as the fall man for the loss of jobs, when it appears all the author is doing is listing examples of how apps and kiosks are making order taking easier. Quick Check went the route of order kiosks almost a decade ago. No one made a hubub about minimum wage back then. It just made sense to leverage technology. Does that cost jobs? Sure. Ask any lamplighter how technological progress affects the workforce.

    1. If you’ve ever worked in the real world, an employer making a decent profit reacts only when an expense that is a particularly large portion of his costs suddenly jumps in price. If he has one minimum wage employee out of fifty, no big deal. If he has forty out of fifty, damn right the robot salesman will be getting a call.

      1. Appeals to anecdote and situational circumstance do not a statistic make.

        1. american socialist|5.19.14 @ 6:23PM|#
          “Appeals to anecdote and situational circumstance do not a statistic make.”

          Claims of unicorn farts a fool doth make.

        2. Statistic. LOL. Unless you can show causation, deductive reasoning trumps your statistics. Good luck showing causation with all the dynamic variables in the economy, and the fact that value is…wait for it…..SUBJECTIVE.

          LRN2LGC

          He uses staatistics the way a drunkard uses a lamppost; for support, rather than illumination.

        3. american socialist:

          Appeals to anecdote and situational circumstance do not a statistic make.

          And arguments from ignorance are fallacies.

          1. The evidence is in. Increases in the minimum wage don’t increase unemployment. How is this an argument from ignorance when the best peer-reviewed studies show that the null hypothesis works out?

            1. american socialist|5.20.14 @ 12:14AM|#
              “The evidence is in. Increases in the minimum wage don’t increase unemployment.”

              No, asshole, the claim is in. See above; you’ve been called on all your bullshit.

              1. Put up or shut up, right wing drone.

            2. american socialist:

              The evidence is in. Increases in the minimum wage don’t increase unemployment. How is this an argument from ignorance when the best peer-reviewed studies show that the null hypothesis works out?

              That was your argument after you moved the goal posts.

              Your original argument was “Minimum wage laws have no negative effects. And I’ll prove it by asking you to prove to me that they do.”

              That’s a classic argument from ignorance, and you only gave it up after citations were provided to peer-reviewed research that you were apparently unaware existed.

            3. “The evidence is in.” NO MOAR DEBATE!!!! SCIENCE IS SETTLED! NO STUDY HAS EVER BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY DISPROVED!!!!! SSSSSSCCCCCCIIIIIIEEEEENNNNNNCCEEEE!!!!!!!

  6. A certain part of me agrees with the sentiments of other posters that point to the fact that job replacement is not really a minimum wage argument. Having said that, there is a slope in technology whereby in its infancy, its cost is quite high, then it steadily drops as user adoption takes over until it becomes commoditized. Replacing low wage workers with kiosks even 10 years ago was expensive and user adoption was low. As these kiosks become more commoditized and lower in price, they definitely do impinge on low wage positions.

    Having said that, we constantly see this wherever there is unskilled labor providing a service. Even with skills, many positions have gone the way of the Dodo. This is where flexibility and retraining become crucial in the workforce. 25-35 years ago, I installed business phone systems for a living (25 pair cables running to each phone, a MDF, etc). Now all those skills are pretty much useless. I now run a team of systems and network engineers that build and maintain “cloud” services. Such a thing did not exist 25-35 years ago, so I would not have even known to train for it. I had to adapt and retrain (much of it on the job).

    As technology proceeds, we all will have to learn to do so, or we will go the way of the cooper and the blacksmith.

    1. Thatchers have had it made though.

    2. I think the big question is what will people do who find their skills becoming obsolete. It seems to me that the more skills new jobs require, the longer any retraining takes. Not everyone will be able to do this. There will be some number of people (I have no idea how many) who will have to fall back on Welfare or something similar. The more technological society becomes, the more skills new jobs need, the bigger problem this will become.

      1. The solution is not to keep these people in work they are (now, due to technological changes) unproductive in – that’s just a disguised form of welfare where the costs are passed onto businesses and hidden from the taxpayers.

        That’s just a recipe for stagnation.

        1. See Japan.

      2. “There will be some number of people (I have no idea how many) who will have to fall back on Welfare or something similar. ”

        This is why, I have some ideological leaning towards a “guaranteed income”. That being said, I’ve never seen any realistic proposal for such a scheme.

        It might be, like socialism, an idea that is good in theory, but a complete failure in practice.

    3. Curtisls87|5.19.14 @ 5:34PM|#
      “A certain part of me agrees with the sentiments of other posters that point to the fact that job replacement is not really a minimum wage argument.”

      Yes it is. You’re focusing on tech change, which merely redirects employment to a general increase in welfare.
      What we have here is a government-enforced distortion of the labor market which has none of the dynamics of tech change.

  7. “Gates, who made himself one of the richest men in the world and founded a company that employs a lot of people, knows that machines and automation can create jobs and wealth as well as destroy them.”

    The only “automatons” I can think of that actually destroy wealth are built for war. And even then they aren’t really “autonomous”.

  8. The biggest expense of any business is payroll. When a business owner/franchisee looks at a profit and loss statement, they look for ways to lower their variable expenses since they can’t lower fixed expenses like rent. The easiest and fastest way is to lower payroll thus the pushback of raising minimum wage. The other option which Neil Cavuto correctly pointed to today was that costs of items like meals will have to go up to offset the additional costs.

    What is never mentioned about Costco from anyone is that their wages are high because they are a union shop. Their starting wage is under contract with the Teamsters (at least in Maryland when I worked there 20 years ago). However, UPS to this day STILL pays seasonal employees $8.00 which is what I made when I worked for them 30 years ago.

    Don’t know about the kiosks though, the Jack in the Boxes here in Vegas have them but there is still someone to take an order.

    1. The Jack In the Boxes in Denver have them and all the guy at the counter does is hand you your food and the empty drink cup. It’s faster, less prone to error and I don’t have to put up with someone who thinks they speak English forcing me to ask them what the hell they said 3 times before I give up and just pray I’m not drinking a shake with sputum in it.

  9. I would support raising the minimum wage at Costco if only to eliminate the employees whose job it is to stand by the exit not so implicitly accusing customers of thievery. Fuck off.

    (Yes, I know it’s in the membership agreement, but it still pisses me off every time some twit sits there and counts everything in my cart, like I’m so desperate for two pounds of cheese-its that I’m going to try and walk out without paying)

    1. I don’t know about membership agreements, but when I shop at WalMart I tell the cart inspector to screw off.

      Politely though, unless he gets pushy about it.

      Had one in a Best Buy threaten to call the cops on me – don’t know why he would bother, I don’t *have* to allow him to inspect my cart.

      1. I’m not in the least bothered by these folks. There are entirely too many people who will pick Costco’s pocket without a hint of shame and drive the costs up for everyone else.
        Those guys can’t possibly make the judgements of who might do that and who won’t; they have no choice but to check ’em all.

      2. There is case law somewhere that a store can’t detain a shopper who refuses to show his receipt (or at least if they do the shopper is allowed to sue for wrongful imprisonment), UNLESS that shopper has signed a membership agreement allowing as much, then the store can be as pushy (or as grabby) as they want. This is why you can tell Best Buy and Walmart to fuck off and they likely won’t do anything, but Costco can grab you until the cops show up, because you’ve previously agreed to let them do it and waived your rights to sue them for it.

        1. That’s a big factor in both Costco and Sam’s club being membership only. Their shop lifting rate is much lower than a general store.

  10. Driving through California’s central valley with my died in the wool liberal mother, we saw a bunch of farm workers picking lettuce.

    My mother said “Those poor people. They should make 50 dollars per hour.”

    All I could think of was those poor people watching robots take their place.

    1. The problem is if they made $50 an hour then everyone else would have to also make more to counteract the rise in food cost.

      I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t buy much lettuce if the farms were selling at a price point that allowed day labour to make $50 an hour.

  11. You guys shouldn’t care about the unemployment rate at all. That’s not a value factored into your principles. If the market wants high unemployment, that means high unemployment is good. Praise be.

    It’s extra strange to moan about technology replacing workers on a mission of efficiency. Where does Ludditism fit in to all this?

    If a worker is a couple bucks an hour away from being replaced by a touch-screen, we need to think a bit longer-term for that guy.

    Minimum wage is an intervention in the market, and it’s a good one, and if it has the effect of increasing technological efficiency then that’s good too, especially on your standards, but also on mine. I like how labor standards have contributed to innovative ways of manufacturing and serving. More important, how they’ve increased human standard of living. Who needs computerized machinery when you have 100 Asian kids at half the price?

    Get back to me when there’s real data about significant unemployment effects.

    1. “Get back to me when there’s real data about significant unemployment effects.”

      You might be waiting for a while, Tony.

    2. Tony:

      Get back to me when there’s real data about significant unemployment effects.

      All the studies that you and socialist refer to only study modest adjustments in existing minimum wages. It makes sense that you won’t have a significant effect in such a scenario.

      Get back to us when you have a study showing that a significant increase in minimum wage only produces modest effects. Otherwise, you’re just playing within the noise of inflation and pretending to deem labor immune to the law of supply and demand. Which is absurd.

      1. You can’t measure it, BUT IT’S THERE! CATO libertarians and right wing politicians and arcane economic theories trump data that you can plot on a x and y axis. I must go back to reading Friedrich Hayek books and talking about goalposts

    3. Here’s one Tony…

      http://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/b…..6-428.html

      “Card and Krueger’s meta-analysis of the employment effects of minimum wages challenged existing theory. Unfortunately, their meta-analysis confused publication selection with the absence of a genuine empirical effect. We apply recently developed meta-analysis methods to 64 US minimum-wage studies and corroborate that Card and Krueger’s findings were nevertheless correct. The minimum-wage effects literature is contaminated by publication selection bias [see Brian’s above citations], which we estimate to be slightly larger than the average reported minimum-wage effect. Once this publication selection is corrected, little or no evidence of a negative association between minimum wages and employment remains.”

      1. american socialist:

        The minimum-wage effects literature is contaminated by publication selection bias [see Brian’s above citations]

        I’m not sure you understand what publication selection bias is. The idea isn’t that only works that don’t make the minimum wage look good are biased, i.e., as in, only my citations.

        Do you see this part of your quote?

        Unfortunately, their meta-analysis confused publication selection with the absence of a genuine empirical effect.

        That’s publication bias. Here’s another explanatory example:

        Publication selection exists when editors, reviewers, or researchers have a preference for statistically significant results. Because all areas of empirical research are susceptible to publication selection, any average or tally of significant/insignificant studies is likely to be biased and potentially misleading.

        Again, if you’re going to pretend to school everyone in how to think appropriately, you should probably know what you’re talking about first.

        You know, you can actually check the references to the article you’re citing, and you’ll find that this work you are citing actually doesn’t address any of my previous citations.

  12. AS and Tony, let’s forget the argument for a minute about unemployment. Answer me this instead.

    If I start a company and I hire an employee, you state there is a minimum that I have to pay this individual. What if my company doesn’t make a profit? Should somebody pay me a minimum? If so, who?

    If not, why not? What if I give this person equity in the company, then do I still have to pay them a minimum? Again, if the company makes a loss, do I still have to?

    You can’t answer these questions without coming up with a bunch of gibberish rules that nobody could ever follow.

    Again, say I want to pay a kid to cut my grass. And we agree on $10, but it takes him four hours. Is this illegal? What if he wants to come clean my toilets at my company in the evenings? Do I have to measure how long it takes or can we agree on a fixed price?

    You can’t answer these questions without confusion and ultimately who will enforce all of this crazy stuff. If the kid wants to work for $4 an hour, why can’t I pay him $4 an hour?

    1. Nobody’s here anymore but I’ll answer. I would support a subminimum wage for youths, potentially. As for your first question, my general belief is that if you can’t figure out how to make a profit without paying minimum wage (or obeying safety codes, etc.) then you don’t deserve to make a profit. Try harder.

      1. Good article on minimum wage

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

      2. If you’re going to (potentially) support a sub minimum wage for youths, why stop there?

        What about someone in that’s just getting out of prison for 20 years with no relevant job skills? Don’t they deserve the same opportunity as a youth?

        What about a mentally handicapped person who would rather work but can’t do much but bag groceries and sweep?

        Do you see where this is going? Who would make all these rules and enforce them?

      3. Also, say I can make a business run by paying 5 people $6/hour (and who by their own volition want to be there), but I can’t make it profitable at $8/hour.

        Wouldn’t it benefit everybody (myself included) paying them the $6 rate rather than shutting down and paying them nothing?

  13. What is left unsaid in all of this is that although the minimum wage has increased over the past twenty years, salaries in general have not. They have remained stagnant or, in some cases, even fallen while prices of goods and services have continued to rise. Your dollar does not buy what it used to, not because of inflation, but because salaries have not kept up with inflation.

    1. Dang,CP, I guess we came too late.

      Nobody wants to talk anymore.

    2. And just exactly what do you think causes inflation? Our primary source of inflation is the monetary inflation that the Federal Reserve adds to the economy. This is normally about 3% per year, but Helicopter Bernanke went a little crazy while we were having our “economic crisis”, and only the sheer conservatism of the financial institutions has kept us from having massive inflation in the last few years. But prices keep going up to catch up with the monetary inflation.

      Better to end the Fed and end the monopoly on the production of money, as they keep hurting all of us with their crazy idea that they can just inflate away all our economic problems.

      Then it won’t be necessary for wages to “keep up” with inflation.

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  15. If the market decides jobs would be better performed by robots, let’s welcome the future with open arms.

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