Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage Boosts Are Great—For Robots

Making low-skill workers more expensive means getting them replaced by automation.


Richard B. Levine/Newscom

In recent weeks, Illinois mandated a huge increase in the state minimum wage, Pennsylvania's governor proposed to double his state's minimum wage, and New Mexico lawmakers moved forward with a plan to raise the minimum wage there, too. Hiking the cost of labor is a popular cause once again—even among people who've demonstrated in the past that they know perfectly well this is a recipe for limiting opportunity and trapping people in poverty.

It's tempting to say that people are actually getting stupider about economics. But maybe, instead, it's all part of a conspiracy by robots who are poised to be the big beneficiaries of an artificially crippled job market.

"Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market," wisely editorialized The New York Times. "It would increase employers' incentives to evade the law, expanding the underground economy. More important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired."

That's as important an insight now as it was when it was written in 1987. Unfortunately, since then the Gray Lady's editorial board has had its economic savvy surgically removed and replaced by a fuzzy wad of good intentions.

"A recent study on Seattle's $15-an-hour minimum wage law reignited the debate over whether higher minimums help workers by lifting pay or harm them by leading employers to cut hours. The study, by University of Washington researchers, found more harm than good," the Times acknowledged in 2017. Then the editorial board went on to insist, "what is not acceptable is to do nothing in the face of uncertainty. Minimum wages have to go up."

So much for the laws of economics, which haven't changed in the last 30 years. We'll just hand-wave them away because … they're mean or something.

If the laws of economic haven't changed, technology has—in ways that make artificial hikes in the price of labor even more damaging. Robots are ever-more available to take over when people become too expensive.

"To curtail rising labor costs, businesses are investing in automation that can replace 'low-skilled' workers, high school educated or less," warned payroll and human resources company ADP last year in an article acknowledging the new popularity of boosts in the minimum wage. "Automation has already taken hold in grocery stores with self-checkout lines and fast food restaurants with touchscreen order entry kiosks. We see it with smart ATMs and the robots installed in manufacturing plants."

The ADP article points to grocery stores, with a high percentage of low-wage workers and low profit margins (2.2 percent in 2017) as especially ripe for automation. If you've used a self-check aisle at a grocery store in recent years, you know that the process is well under way. But it's not just that one industry.

"Increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become nonemployed or employed in worse jobs," Grace Lordan of the London School of Economics and David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, reported in a paper published last year in Labour Economics. They drew their conclusions after reviewing data from 1980 through 2015.

"These effects are relatively larger for individuals employed in manufacturing, and are larger for the oldest and youngest workers, for females and for blacks," they add.

To some extent, the researchers found, higher-skilled workers benefit from automation because of the need for somebody to run and maintain machinery. But that doesn't help new workers trying to break into the job market, or established workers who don't have the skills to justify the higher price mandated by law for their labor.

As The New York Times noted in wiser days: "Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired."

From a tech standpoint, this opens up intriguing possibilities. A few years ago, Momentum Machines was a buzzy startup leveraging the movement to boost minimum wages by promising to replace wage-earners with burger-flipping robots. Now, under the name Creator, the company has opened a high-profile demonstrator restaurant that does just that, with hamburgers cooked and served, untouched by human hands. A few actual people take orders on iPhones and keep the automated burger line stocked with supplies.

That even some of those remaining humans can be replaced is obvious to anybody who has ordered drinks or paid their tab through a Ziosk or similar tabletop tablet at a casual dining restaurant. "The biggest fear is that eventually the Ziosk will take over the job entirely," NPR reported in 2015.

Well, yes. If lawmakers keep pricing humans out of the job market relative to ever-more-innovative and automated alternatives, I expect that tabletop terminals and robotic line chefs will replace the biological competition at the low-skilled end of the job market. Maybe they'll be kept company by a well-paid live technician or two, but certainly not by anybody who has little more to offer than their muscles (but who could become more valuable and harder to replace if given time to learn in lower-paid work).

Will minimum wage advocates relearn the errors of their ways and come to recognize, once again, that a flexible and dynamic job market is a healthy job market—for humans? I wouldn't count on it.

In New York, where the $15 minimum wage is an accomplished fact, "advocates for low-wage workers" now push for more rules on scheduling and dismissing fast food workers. That would, it goes without saying, make hiring those workers more expensive.

If I was a robot, or if I manufactured them, I'd root for those "advocates" to succeed.

NEXT: This LGBT Activist's House Was Burned Down. Police Now Suspect He Set the Fire Himself.

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  1. I think it’s a conspiracy by autistics, because we don’t like dealing with people.

    Also landlords love minwage because they can almost immediately hike rents in an inelastic housing market.

    Bernie complains that people “have to work 3 jobs just to get by”. Well I think that’s a good thing. Keeps them busy if you know what I’m saying.

    1. The greed and hypocrisy of top corporate management has been thoroughly documented, and I’m not trying to apologize for them, for that. But in all fairness, we should understand their perspective. The government does not require many (if any) benefits be paid to robots, nor require safe operating environments (for the robots as opposed to humans). Limited protections for humans is good, but have we gone too far? Corporations are required to pay Social Security, workman’s comp, unemployment, self-esteem therapy, and tons and tons of insurance mandates for the humans. Whether or not I need or want (or object to, on a religious basis) alcohol and drug abuse therapy, organs transplants, sex assignment changes, or space alien abduction therapy, a lot of all this stuff is mandated, in insurance coverage. No opt-outs and price cuts for you, or for me! But not so for the robots! Should it be any surprise that the robots are taking our jobs?

      I am thinking that we should disguise ourselves as robots, and assign ownership of our robotic selves to a trusted friend or family member. Trusted human owner (of myself) can then collect rental fees on me, take a small administrative fee, and kick the rest back to me! Problem solved! Now I can be allowed to compete with the robots, if I desire to bypass all the mandates!

      1. “Dilbert” proposed something similar several years ago, only using foreign workers contracted through himself; that way he could have several people doing work and collecting a percentage on each.

        1. Sounds like contract workers to me! AKA “temp” workers… Google, Microsoft, Apple, HP, IBM, they ALL do this to keep their so-called “permanent” workers reduced in numbers. The contract agencies (OTSI, MPhasis, etc.) keep like (best guess here) 1/3 or so of the workers’ paychecks. What a rip-off!!!

          1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

      2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

      3. “The greed and hypocrisy of top corporate management has been thoroughly documented”

        As has the The greed and hypocrisy of top politicians. The difference is corporate managers don’t have a police force, nor an army behind them, to impose themselves on people.

        “Corporations are required to pay Social Security, workman’s comp, unemployment, self-esteem therapy, and tons and tons of insurance mandates for the humans.”

        Corporations don’t pay any of those things. The workers receiving the “benefits” of these things do. You’re falling for the obvious propaganda involving basic and completely transparent accounting tricks. Obviously wages are LOWERED to pay for all of the “benefits” you listed.

        “No opt-outs”

        You can opt out of any “benefit” offered by companies.

        1. “You can opt out of any “benefit” offered by companies.”

          But the company is REQUIRED by Government Almighty to offer these bennies!

          Turn them DOWN and ASK for the equivalent in pay, for having turned them down… Try it, I dare you!

          I will NOT be holding my breath, awaiting your equivalent in raised pay!!!!

      4. SQRLSY One|2.26.19 @ 3:13AM|#

        “I am thinking that we should disguise ourselves as robots, and assign ownership of our robotic selves to a trusted friend or family member.”

        “I am the AWESOME-0 5000.”

    2. “in an inelastic housing market”

      No such thing. Housing prices are extremely sensitive to supply and demand.

      1. khm001|2.26.19 @ 1:33PM|#

        “Housing prices are extremely sensitive to supply and demand.”

        If you artificially limit supply, demand is all you’re left with.

  2. I’ve tried multiple times to use McDonalds ordering kiosks.

    My experience is horrid. So horrid I’ve yet to ever complete an order without giving up because it takes so damn long that the line I hoped to avoid vanished. Easier to walk up and spend 10 seconds talking to the low skill drone than to spend 120 seconds to order for 3 people.

    Honestly it feels like something designed in 2009 running on hardware from 1999.

    Self checkout at least isn’t too terrible, so long as you only have a couple items.

    1. McDees got an app.

      That’s probably the way to go. If you basically order the same stuff all the time, you probably just refill your order with your last, and make adjustments from there.

      Still, somehow their site is down as I try to sign up from my desktop and with their app, so maybe even that minimal competence is just too much to ask of the world these days.

    2. I’ve tried multiple times to use McDonalds ordering kiosks…. Easier to walk up and spend 10 seconds talking to the low skill drone

      Did you mean the “low skill drone” that is capable of doing what you apparently aren’t?

      1. The drone’s entry screen responds quickly to their touches.

        The kiosks on the other hand respond to touch like a mid-2000s vehicle navigation system, and then they animate the hell out of everything so after each touch you wait 3 seconds for it to look pretty.

        1. The kiosks are annoyingly slow…. Much much slower than taking to a competent employee taking your order. Of course, the last time I skipped the kiosk and went to the counter (no line)…. They screwed my order up. Go figure.

        2. The kiosks are annoyingly slow…. Much much slower than taking to a competent employee taking your order. Of course, the last time I skipped the kiosk and went to the counter (no line)…. They screwed my order up. Go figure.

          1. Had zero problem ordering with the kiosk the one time I used it.

            1. Same. No issues when I was in Zaandam.

    3. have you considered the possibility of you be a stupid fuck who is unable to push the correct buttons in the correct sequence to get what you want?

      1. You are aptly named, Radioactive. Damned near troll perfect.

    4. Never even tried at McDonalds, because I usually just roll through drive throughs for fast food… But I can’t even stand the ones at the super market.

      Some I’ve done when lines were really bad were better than others, but as somebody who is uber competent with computers and technology, I find that a lot of the stuff they do to idiot proof the process is REALLY annoying and slow. I imagine it is the same in burger land.

      Honestly though, I just don’t want to deal with it. I prefer to pay for the service of a cashier ringing up all my stuff, and a bagger bagging it. Some things that can be automated are NOT worth automating to many people. Honestly I hope lots of people keep this view for some things as I would be quite irritated if every grocery store REQUIRED me to ring myself up in 10 years, and a single man against the world is not enough to keep them having cashiers, it will require sufficient numbers of people who want it.

      ALSO, for employment, it may well be a good thing for reasons I will state below…

    5. It will improve over time. Most new technology or techniques to.

    6. The kiosk response time is a little slow. But I’ve got a family of 6. So, it’s perfect to use the kiosk and have each kid look at the picture and ok what they want. Plus you can customize the order, taking a lot longer, but not making a line of people behind you wait.

      Plus the local McDonald’s generally only has 1 person at the cash register while there are two additional touch screen kiosks.

  3. On fire, Mr Tuccille, on fire. Nice snark, nice breakdown.

  4. I am earn with Google, Im making over $2000 a month operating low maintenance. I kept listening to extraordinary humans find to me how an awful lot money they can make on-line so I tested it. everything thought of it as, became all considerable and has definitely changed my lifestyles. For more records go to below site..

  5. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

  6. I am earn with Google, Im making over $2000 a month operating low maintenance. I kept listening to extraordinary humans find to me how an awful lot money they can make on-line so I tested it. everything thought of it as, became all considerable and has definitely changed my lifestyles. For more records go to below site..

  7. So much for the laws of economics, which haven’t changed in the last 30 years. We’ll just hand-wave them away because ? they’re mean or something.

    That’s exactly it. Supporters of a high minimum wage feel that everyone deserves a “living wage,” regardless of if they actually earn it or not. Saying someone needs to actually earn their pay is unfeeling and mean. The intention is for employers to hire these people anyway and pay for it out of their obscene profits. And as we all know, intentions are magic.

    1. The thing that’s kind of a bitch about it, and in a way it does “suck” and is “unfair,” is that many of these jobs USED to be valued jobs. So they’re butt hurt that they’ve turned into shit jobs, because our labor market is so weak and flooded at the low end of the spectrum, that shit just doesn’t pay well anymore.The thing is the world ain’t fair, and denying reality isn’t going to help anything.

      The industry I work in, if I was performing at the same quality/quantity level as I am now with my business saaay 30 years ago, I’d probably be making ehhhh maybe $500K to 1 million a year, give or take… I don’t bring in anywhere near that nowadays. Solid money that I can’t complain much about, but definitely not that kind of money. Because the world has changed in ways that are not conducive to my industry. It sucks, but I willingly work in the field still because I like it. But it’s hard to not think “How awesome would it be if I had a mansion, several vacation homes, a yacht, etc” which is likely where I would be with things a few decades back.

      These people are thinking that first part, and then saying “SO I WILL TRY TO FORCE THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE IT WORK LIKE THAT AGAIN!” Which is where they go wrong.

      1. ‘”because our labor market is so weak and flooded at the low end of the spectrum”

        Reason has PROVEN that immigration has no effect on wage rates and housing prices. Immigrants are like neutrinos. No local conditions change, except that employers get cheap labor and the well to do get an unenfranchised servant class.

        1. I’ve always found it incredibly hilarious how Reason will say:

          Immigration helps keep costs down for employers and lower consumer costs!


          It doesn’t hurt native wages at all!

          When those two things are impossible, logically speaking, to both be happening at the same time. I guess it might be true if 100% of illegals worked in industries that 0% of natives did, but that’s clearly not the case. Lots of natives work as cooks, dish washers, lawn guys, carpenters, etc etc etc.

          How they can’t see the obvious stupidity of that is beyond me.

          1. “Logical consistency is a social construct of the white supremacist cisheteropatriarchy used to oppress marginalized peoples”

    1. more magic!

      1. screwing is way more fun than wrenching though…

  8. This may tie in with the recent supreme court ruling about the draft. If we raise the minimum wage high enough, we will have to return to the draft so there will be a mechanism to teach entry level workers basics like getting up on time, reading, writing, following orders, and basic personal hygiene. Not to mention that will be a more effective way to get DNA samples of the entire population, and to assure they have at least a year or two in a totalitarian environment to get used to the idea.

    1. That’s a thing that minimum wage supporters ignore completely. It totally fucks over the young and unskilled. Or retired people who want to get out of the house and make a little cash.
      When you are 16, you don’t deserve to get paid much. But you need to work so you can figure it out.

      1. That’s a thing that open borders supporters ignore completely. It totally fucks over the young and unskilled. Or retired people who want to get out of the house and make a little cash.

        Because, when you have a glut of low skilled labor, the best way to help them is to bring in LOTS more low skilled labor.

      2. “That’s a thing that minimum wage supporters ignore completely. It totally fucks over the young and unskilled.”

        Check your premises.
        The Left’s social policy is *designed* to create a permanent and hereditary government dependent underclass.

  9. JB the Hutt has almost guaranteed that all of western Illinois hops the river. Forget 2 Californias, lets make the state of Cook a reality.

  10. This is a feature, not a bug. More people will need help. Modern government thrives on having lots of people who need help.

    1. ^this exactly, eyeroller.

      Its another reason you see no desire from govt for skilled immigrants, favoring low skilled and/or illegal labor. Why China gets better shipping rates than US manufacturers. Why employment is burdened with mounds of regulations and obligations. Why healthcare and college prices are driven up through deliberate policy.
      Modern government absolutely has the incentive to grow its base of dependents. That’s how you get feudalism from a republican/capitalist system.
      Whittle down the independent middle class until only a top and bottom are left – neonobility and postmodern-peasants

    2. “Modern government thrives on having lots of people who need help.”

      Yes, very true! Government Almighty COULD, if it wanted to, get OUT OF THE WAY of the poor, when the poor want to earn an honest living, by getting rid of mandated licenses, degrees, credentials, and regulations (including minimum wages), all of which stand in their way. But to do this, Government Almighty would have to get SMALLER, not BIGGER, so it won’t go that way.

      Instead, Government Almighty (under the Trump Troglodytes, AKA the Trumplodytes) makes itself bigger by building more walls and tariffs, and telling the poor that those that them thar ferriners takem R jerbs, R to B blamed! And the Trumplodytes fall for it, hook line and sinker!

      1. Wow, that is some of the most twisted logic I have ever seen.

        “Modern government thrives on having lots of people who need help”

        “Instead, Government Almighty (under the Trump Troglodytes, AKA the Trumplodytes) makes itself bigger by building more walls and tariffs”

        So, the belief here is that bringing in millions of low skilled people who will want, and get, government assistance is contrary to “government thrives on having lots of people who need help” and that a wall that might assist in reducing those millions of low skilled people coming here is demonstration of the government desire to grow.

        Follow that folks? Trump’s attempt to reduce the number of low skilled people coming here is actually an attempt to grow government by increasing the number of people who need help. SQRLSY logic indeed!

        1. All you wall-builders are making excuses for the ever-increasing power of the Collective Hive!

          The collective hive mandated WAY too many licenses (& other regs), before we’re allowed to earn an honest living… Put too many of us into poverty. To “help” with this poverty problem that The Collective Hive created, The Collective Hive gave us welfare. Welfare then attracts too many illegal sub-humans, sometimes, so to fix THAT problem, The Collective Hive now wants e-verify and giant border walls and giant border armies? And now also property confiscations for wall-building? So I suppose The Collective Hive will next fire up the military draft to fix THAT problem! (Lack of a large enough wall-and-army forces).

          Those of us who like individual freedom, would like for Government Almighty to SHRINK, for once, instead of always making itself BIGGER to fix all of the problems created by Government Almighty in the first place! And just about every day, I see arguments on these pages, that justify the ever-increasing might and power of The Collective Hive, especially when I want to hire, or otherwise associate with, an illegal sub-human.

          1. Hey man, let’s bring this down to Earth, shall we?

            If I hire a young (native-born) physically and-or mentally handicapped person to mow my yard or do other simple tasks for me, and I patiently help teach them some job skills while doing so (and paying them), I am generally “socially admired” by most folks. If some asshole lectures me about how, now, I am going to have to be responsible for all of the education, emergency room costs, etc. (beyond the taxes that I already pay) for such a person, the vast, vast majority of common folks will look at such a lecturing asshole, and call him or her an asshole, inwardly if not verbally.

            Now suddenly if I do the same, while also teaching an illegal sub-human about speaking English, and American culture, there’s a HUGE number of assholes who want to lecture me about me now having to play nanny to, and assume all costs for, said illegal sub-human! WTF, what justifies this??

      2. Funny. I thought “under Trump” there was a DE-Regulation path going on.. Oh wait, whats this! briefings-statements/ president-donald-j- trump-delivering-deregulation/

        And you want to claim blame on implementing any sort of tax on foreign manufacturing (that was never taxed and mostly subsidized! Just look into the UPU treaty and our subsidized USPS.) Which Trump has also dedicated a task team to renegotiate that rotten deal.

        The Left – Tax domestic 90%, Subsidize Foreign
        The Right – Reduce domestic tax, Tax Foreign the SAME!

        Then the wall;
        The Left – Subsidize the Invaders its a “humanitarian” issue (Pelosi) and dismiss law by executive order (DACA)
        The Right – Enforce the Immigration Laws and STOP the invasion!

        The Right HAS to stop the invasion – there is utterly no denying that immigrants are invading this country through the Democratic Party. U.S. County Maps showing D/R affiliation match EXACTLY the same maps of Hispanic origin population rate per county.

        1. In other words — The “Collective Hive” is being brought into the USA by the invaders! The courts must either develop a STERN enforcement of the Constitution or legislation must deter those who have consistent records of violating it.

          1. That’s not what the walls are about at ALL…

            The walls are not a cost-effective measure at ALL… They are political show-pieces. If we wanted cost-effective, we’d do this:


            A simple technology could secure the US-Mexico border for a fraction of the cost of a wall ? but no one’s talking about it

            But Trump is obsessed about what LOOKS intimidating… Walls (old tech thousands of years old) and barbed wire (dating from the late 1800s). And the psychology (hate the other tribe or troop) dates back to apes and monkeys. To hell with effective; it is all a political show. And since we are racists, we do NOT bother with the political theater with respect the the Cannucks. (No walls to the north, no fear of the light-skinned).

            Once again, if we’d want effective, we’d go fiber-optic sensors. Leaves the wildlife alone as well…. But NOOOO, Trump and the troglodytes want highly visible political theater!

            1. Actually the article is entirely INCORRECT. IT HAS/WAS ALREADY DONE/TRIED!

              The technology approach was/has already received Billions in grants/implemented in the past on large sections of the border and it resulted in FALSE alarms going off for wind, animals, along with a plethora of other issues like finding what set the alarm (hide and go seek) wasted time. Requiring tons of more border patrol agents.

              That doesn’t even take into consideration the “humanitarian” issues created already by the left in which when said person actually GETS across a whole costly, expensive and subsidized legal process has to go down. In other words; once that immigrant has crossed said “technology” line and got a drone picture taken of them; even if border patrol does find them — they’re now entitled to a plethora of humanitarian legal challenges – they don’t get just shoved back to Mexico.

              When you find that banks are selling off their WALLED vaults and storing all their assets in the wood shed with an alarm and picture taking system – you may have a point but until then; its been PROVEN by experience to be ineffective.

              1. Citations please. To my knowledge, the older versions of an “electronic wall” were crude sensors, mostly above-ground sensors. Comparing the very latest and greatest to the way-old stuff is like saying your younger 25-year-old brother may NOT borrow your new sports car, because you recall VERY well, how irresponsibly he pooped his diapers at age 1.5!

                  1. Thanks… I saved the link.

                    The link doesn’t mention fiber or fibre (either term is used for “fiber optics”). The newer tech is much better (or so they say). It should at least be given a try, it could save a TON of money! But it’s not a “big, beautiful wall” as Trump says… It doesn’t look as pretty as a wall, for political theater!

            2. Business Insider?…..lololololololol.

  11. “Making low-skill workers more expensive means getting them replaced by automation.”

    That relies on bourgeois notions of supply and demand; does not take into account a controlling political party that would never ever let that happen.

    1. …or, we could have robots do all of the work robots can do, and just put everyone on the dole. Full time paid social justice warriors to look for every nuance of grievance as nausea.

      1. ad nausea

  12. Progressives want Europe’s labor laws and wages. They don’t realize that comes with Europe’s unemployment rates.

    1. Or Europe’s tax rates either. Higher income tax rates kick in at much lower income levels and VATs are high and start on the first dollar.

      1. Yup. Most countries in Europe you are at a 50-60% income tax rate starting in the $30-40K a year USD range. People would SHIT if they saw their paychecks cut bu that much in the USA.

        1. This is why I tell my leftist friends to put their socialistic fantasies out of their minds. If you want to spend like Europe, you need to tax like Europe, and raising taxes here to European levels is politically untenable.

          1. The part that fascinates me, is why progressives MUST impose their views on everyone else. They can’t stand that ANY place not be as they want it.

            If they want to live in a place like Europe, move your silly ass TO Europe. If you want to live in a place like China, move you foolish ass to China.

            Apparently, the only way to make them stop demanding that we all live as they prefer is to kill them. And that is just sad. I fear it will come to that. I hope not, but it ain’t lookin’ good.

            1. What’s funny is it’ll just be another Civil War over the EXACT same fight — SLAVERY. The Democratic Party even today continue to INSISTS “those people” must supply their house, food and medical services by FORCE and for FREE.

            2. It’s all true. Honestly, as much as I love being an American, with some family roots here back before the Revolution… If there were a place as awesome as America USED to be somewhere freedom wise, I would bail so fast it would make your head spin.

              Since progs have basically the entire rest of the world with their beloved high taxes and lack of personal freedom… I have never understood why they don’t move. I mean England, Canada, and Australia you don’t even have to learn a new language!

    2. “They don’t realize…”

      Check your premises.

      Predictable and predicted outcomes that benefit the actor are *intended*.

  13. But can a robot screw up my drive thru order every damned time? I think not.

    1. Nope, but the cook and the bagger still can!

    2. Nope. You’ll do that yourself!

    3. Press the button for “low level human worker experience” and the app adjusts.

  14. And yet these same people support carbon taxes because they believe that making carbon-based fuels more expensive would reduce the use of carbon-based fuels…

  15. If you are young, learn to fix and program robots.

  16. I think the elephant in the room here no one has mentioned yet is the davis bacon act and prevailing wage laws in certain states. I’m from PA and our minimum wage hikes are usually more tied to paying off unions, via prevailing wage, with perceived compensation increases than they are actually raising wages for common workers.

    Reason you should definitely investigate and cross reference states pushing these increases with their davis bacon compliance and prevailing wage laws, as well as union backing/campaigning in those states. Because here in PA our unions go hog wild campaigning for these things.

    1. Davis-Bacon applies to federal contracting not the economy in general. This is not to say that it isn’t a factor in distorting labor costs since the feds are involved in a large segment of the construction market. And, of course, many state and local governments have their own versions of it.

      1. Right, but were talking about states wanting to increase minimum wage. In states that still follow davis bacon or have prevailing wage laws id guarantee the unions are pushing to increase it since their wages are tied to increases in minimum wages.

        And these prevailing wages kick in, at least In PA, on any job over $13k that use ANY government money. Federal, state, or local. And every single contractor must use them, regardless of unionized competition.

        So as i said the elephant isn’t the low amount of workers making under minimum wage whose labor costs will wise…its that these increases in minimum wage increase the labor cost of literally EVERY SINGLE construction contract a government, community, or public school issues.

        I work in paving. I bid private work at 20$/hr. My lowest prevailing rate in PA for my lowest scale laborer is $48.60/hr. So the labor cost on public jobs is at minimum 250% higher than it would be if it was private sector.

        Now apply that to literally every construction project a school, municipality, township, city, county, or government tries to execute in a year.

        It’s a giant fucking elephant

  17. Holding down wages to limit the spread of automation is a ridiculous idea. Fast food service workers aren’t the only ones to have their livelihoods threatened by robots. Drivers, salespersons, health professionals, accountants and a host of other middle class jobs that are more highly paid than the $15 mentioned here will be replaced by robots in the next few years.

    1. But it’s something that is NATURALLY occurring… The market is NOT raising wages THAT much, although they have gone up plenty in recent years. Almost NOWHERE in the country actually pays the federal minimum wage for even basic work, even if they theoretically could… Because market wages are higher than that even in really low cost of living states.

      What you’re advocating is ARTIFICIALLY driving UP the wages to ENCOURAGE automation. Left to its own devices human labor and automation will compete in a way that makes the most sense in terms of ROI for businesses, maximizing business growth and profits, as well as jobs.

      1. ” human labor and automation will compete in a way that makes the most sense in terms of ROI for businesses, maximizing business growth and profits, as well as jobs”

        The problem is that the workers are left out, and they are the ones who vote. If they can vote themselves a pay raise, why wouldn’t they? If they subsequently lose their jobs to automation, it’s no big loss as they were drudgery jobs in the first place. And now they have the opportunity to prepare to do other, more challenging, fulfilling work instead. Society has been encouraging automation for hundreds of years, especially in industry. These days, service and professional knowledge work is on the verge of being automated and society is fine with that too. Your idea of pitting a human who needs to eat, rest and play against a machine who needs none of this is absurd. We should welcome automation as long as we can control it. This is the Luddite position and I’m a proud advocate.

        1. @mtrueman, “We should welcome automation as long as we can control it. This is the Luddite position and I’m a proud advocate.”

          Automation doesn’t TAKE jobs; it creates massive amounts of resources for pennies on the dollar and thus makes EVERY person more wealthy with the job market. Consider how great we’d be off when all irrigation rivers were dug by fingernails, houses were made of hardened clay hand molding and the hospital had sticks and rock as their only tools.

          Just look around your house – If you had to make that WITHOUT automation; You wouldn’t have a darn thing but a pile of dirt to piss on.

          1. Point being; Say No to any legal controls on automation. For every nail digging position that closes a new entrepreneur/engineering/scientific one opens. Why try to “pointlessly” waste everyone’s time and labor on some idea that doing things stupidly/wasteful is some kind of “benefit” to society.

            1. I’m not against automation. If we want automation, we should have it. If we don’t want it, it shouldn’t be forced on us.

        2. You’re assuming that a worker is CAPABLE of doing the new, higher end job that may be created… This is fantasy. Many don’t have the intelligence to do it. This is actually a major structural problem in the 1st world already IMO. We don’t have enough high IQ people to do the high IQ jobs we have available, yet we outsourced all the jobs for low IQ people to low wage nations… Hence wages have been suppressed for those people.

          The fantasy that everybody is capable of doing whatever jobs come along is just not true. If a burger flipper loses his job, he’s probably not smart enough to become a robot repair man, or he would have been in a more lucrative industry like that already! He will simply be pushed to flooding the labor market for the other low skill jobs that can’t be automated yet, pushing wages down still further!

          1. Some may be cleverer than you give them credit for. At least give them a chance to realize their full potential. If it’s not up to scratch then some sort of dole is probably the answer.

            1. Well, and that’s kinda my point. The truth is we already KNOW the IQ distribution. We already KNOW the approximate IQ required to do lots of jobs… And they don’t look like they line up well for the types of jobs that are likely to come into existence in the coming years.

              Most people with some smarts and ambition have already got into better paying fields than flipping burgers or washing dishes. Note I threw ambition in there. There are some reasonably intelligent people that are lazy AF who end up in low end jobs too. Some of them may be FORCED to learn more complicated skills out of desperation, but most simply won’t have the ability.

              So, yeah, unless something unexpected happens, I really do think UBI may be required in a few decades. We’ll see.

              1. Within a few years a high IQ won’t be as valuable as you believe it to be. All sorts of middle class professions are going to be automated, because of their high wages as much as anything else. Perhaps cultivating family and social connections will land more jobs than a high IQ score.

                1. There won’t BE jobs to do. Don’t you get it?

                  With massive automation, including AI taking over cognitive tasks, you are going to end up with 2 types of jobs left:

                  Simple jobs that any idiot can do, but are hard to automate. Properly scrubbing down a house from floor to ceiling might be such a job.

                  Intermediate brained things that are mostly physical and can’t be automated. Maybe being a plumber or electrician?

                  And high IQ work where you need to be brilliant. High end programmer, the guy MAKING the AI advancements, scientists, etc.

                  As the many millions of low IQ jobs go away, and middle intelligence jobs do too, you’re going to have more people fighting for the remaining unautomated gigs. Low IQ people will be forced out of this work, as a smarter person will be a BETTER plumber than somebody JUST barely smart enough to do it. Shit rolls down hill, and most dumb people will be unemployed and unemployable. There simply won’t be enough jobs.

                  A high IQ is ALWAYS valuable. See, smart people can do menial jobs, and do them BETTER than dumb people… But dumb people literally are not capable of doing high IQ jobs. It only works one direction. If we don’t have enough jobs, spread throughout the intelligence scale, we’re going to have a shit storm on our hands.


      2. Yeah, the only reason minimum wages haven’t done a lot more damage is that they have usually been below the market wage for most unskilled work. Trying to use it to significantly increase a lot of people’s wages is going to be terrible.

        1. ” Trying to use it to significantly increase a lot of people’s wages is going to be terrible.”

          But relying on the market wage is unsatisfactory for many people. Enough to propel the issue on to the political stage. Women for example. The market actually punishes women for bearing and raising children, arguably their most important and irreplaceable function in society. A society where the most talented and ambitious women refuse to have children is going to be terrible.

          1. The market punished men for being more attentive parents too. Because a person only has so much time and has to choose priorities. You are going to make less if you spend less time devoted to work and more to other things like having a family.

            1. “The market punished men for being more attentive parents too.”

              Statistically, it’s women who suffer a decrease in wages after they bear children. Men don’t suffer the same punishment.

              “You are going to make less if you spend less time devoted to work and more to other things like having a family.”

              Having a family means more work, not less.

              1. Ugh. That’s because women have ACTUAL downsides in employment post having kids. Time out of the work force, more days off to deal with family matters, etc. Men tend to not take time off, hence don’t get dinged. I bet if you adjust for dads who take 4 years off to raise their kids the numbers look pretty similar.

                Either way, it is what it is. IMO women should just accept that if you take time off… GASP it slows down career advancement. And that’s OKAY. It’s a very worthwhile tradeoff to have kids.

                1. ” I bet if you adjust for dads who take 4 years off to raise their kids the numbers look pretty similar.”

                  You mean the market punishes anyone regardless of sex for raising children? Is that the society you want. Aren’t you one of the commenters here railing against invading caravans of raping robbers? Don’t you see a connection? I could spell it out for you if I thought it were necessary, but it seems clear to me.

                  1. It’s not being PUNISHED for having children… It’s a natural thing. If I don’t work for 4 years, why in gods name should I expect to be paid for it???

                    Having kids has ALWAYS required more work and more expenses. ALWAYS. This is not some new phenomenon. It’s like saying society punishes people for playing skiing because they have to take time off work (less pay!) and it costs them a ton of money. You do it because you want to, because you get something more important out of it.

                    The only alternative is to be in favor of subsidizing child bearing, which we already do in countless ways anyway.

                    I am against destroying western civilization by allowing in endless hordes of uneducated 3rd worlders faster than we can assimilate them… I am okay with sane numbers of skilled immigrants. Even without mass immigration that doesn’t mean we have to be cranking out 6 kids a woman or some nonsense either. The world probably would be a better place with fewer people. I’m okay with a slowly declining population. We need to reform Ponzi schemes like SSI, not try to keep them going longer by importing low skilled people who don’t pay much into the system anyway!

                    Declining pop actually brings a lot of upsides for new generations. Lower housing costs, higher wages, etc anyway. It’s not a universally bad thing.

                    1. “It’s not being PUNISHED for having children… It’s a natural thing. If I don’t work for 4 years, why in gods name should I expect to be paid for it???”

                      Less money is punishment in a market economy. The military is paid and they perform no productive work. Those raising children do perform productive work. It produces the next generation of citizens.

                      “This is not some new phenomenon.”

                      I’d argue dis-incentivizing people from having families is a relatively new phenomenon. Society can survive whether or not people choose to ski. It can’t survive if people stop bringing children into the world. It’s an important difference I’d have thought should be pretty clear. All life, even insects and fish and germs and things like that need to reproduce itself. A market economy doesn’t exempt humans from the same imperatives that all life on our planet faces.

                      “I’m okay with a slowly declining population”

                      Since when are you in favour of this kind of social engineering. It’s precisely the most capable, most ambitious couples that these policies are discouraging from having a family. What kind of conservative are you, with your anti-family stance?

                    2. Ugh.

                      It’s NOT punishment. It is a FREE CHOICE. People in the past suffered the EXACT SAME loss of income, and added costs when they had kids. People still had kids, just as most people do today.

                      I’m all for removing ACTUAL disincentives we have for intelligent people breeding… Like taxing them to death to support the welfare state that pays for idiots having 5 kids. THAT is a distortion. People having to choose how many kids they want based on their own personal desires and life goals is NOT a distortion.

                      I would LIKE for people, especially smart ones, to have at least replacement rate numbers of kids… But as a strong libertarian leaner I don’t think we need the government to coerce this into being. Especially since a slowly declining population, WHICH IS NATURALLY OCCURRING, is not the end of the world. Perhaps if we ended the dysgenic wealth redistribution to incompetents people would be at replacement rate again anyway.

          2. “The market actually punishes women for bearing and raising children”

            No, the market rewards people for working more, and working consistently. The market does not care WHY you don’t work more, or WHY you took 8 years off in the middle of your career.

            It is all about your value as an employee. And like it or not, having children is a choice, just as giving up your vacation to work on the “blah-blah-blah” contract is a choice. One may be more rewarding in emotional terms, but the other is more rewarding in career growth (and money) terms.

            For an in depth view of this, and support from Dept. of Labor Statistics, read the book “Stealing from each Other”. Pretty hard core economic analysis, but clearly demonstrates my point. It makes and demonstrates a number of others too, worth a read.

            1. “No, the market rewards people for working more,”

              Untrue. Bearing and raising children means working more, yet the woman is punished.

              “It is all about your value as an employee.”

              There’s more to life than satisfying an employer. People die out and have to be replaced. Society can’t be sustained without this.

              “Pretty hard core economic analysis”

              As I say, there’s a lot more to consider than a boss’s satisfaction. Take a country’s self defense. Society manages to pay those who volunteer to serve and makes sure to give extra incentives: socialized health care, education, respect and honour. If we relied on the market and employers to provide security, we’d have to go without. Society needs security and most here are happy with a non-market solution. Society also needs children to replace the population as it ages and dies out. A market solution dis-incentivizes this. It’s a recipe for trouble down the road.

              1. Actually it’s CULTURE, specifically this radical feminist crap from the last couple decades, that has created the problem. The most educated and affluent of 100 years ago had THE MOST children. And guess what? They had to suffer opportunity loss and tons of extra expenses to have those kids too.

                People have been brainwashed into thinking the child free, spend all your money on booze and traveling abroad lifestyle is THE way to go. If that goes away, I suspect we’d be fine right off.

  18. fuzzy wad of good intentions

    Good band name.

  19. What a shocker! Why people continue to push increases in a minimum wage or a “living wage” is beyond me. It should be obvious that these increase lead to an increased unemployment among low-skilled workers

    1. Of course it’s obvious. And that’s exactly why they do it.
      Check your premises.

  20. First off, I’m NOT saying we need to start fiddling with wages here. But I do think considering what the real world effects of the heavy automation we are likely to see is a smart move for libertarians.

    IMO, other than importing low wage workers/shipping jobs overseas TO the low wage workers, automation is directly responsible for most of the slow down/reversal of wage growth in low skilled jobs. This will obviously continue, and IMO increase considerably. The lower value of unskilled work is painfully obvious already, what about when it’s going 3x harder?

    I geek out on this stuff a lot, and it seems reasonable that the size and scale of the automation may well dwarf that of earlier spurts of automation. And there is really no productive work to take its place… For low intelligence people.

    See, this is the bit the “Learn to code!” guys never want to discuss. Most of the people in these types of jobs are literally NOT SMART ENOUGH to actually DO the new jobs that MAY come into existence going forward. We CANNOT have a plan that assumes 85 IQ people will somehow learn to be scientists or engineers, because it is fantasy. Yet that is LITERALLY the plan pushed by many in power, or passively through assumptions that this will happen by many libertarians.

    So what to do when the bar for how high somebody’s IQ needs to be to be a productive member of society keeps going up, and up, and up. What about when 20% of the population is useless economically speaking? 30%? 40%? 60%?

    1. We start to get into crazy territory there. It would basically make capitalism, sans a UBI strapped on top, impossible to keep “working” for society functionally speaking.

      In all my musings on the subject I can only think of a few things that can stop this from happening.

      1. People intentionally avoid some types of more efficient stuff/automation. In a way this is already happening. Think about the boom in artisanal XYZ thing, or handmade this or that. This is this effect happening with the people who have the cash to pay out the ass out of pure decadence. I avoid self checkout, because I DON’T WANT to ring my own stuff up, costs be damned. But I wonder if this can scale to the point it needs to to avoid massive unemployment of low IQ people. If it does, we’re literally returning to a lower productivity world a-la 1800/1900s just for kicks… Which is kind of weird/funny/ironic.

      2. A return to every middle class + family having multiple servants. This could take up lots of employment, but in the modern egalitarian west many people will find this degrading… And I suspect will be pissed and rather torches and pitchforks about this kind of an outcome. Also, much home work will require less work anyway with robo vacuums and such.

      1. 3. EXTREME, MASSIVE amounts of over consumption. It was normal in 1900 to have only a few pairs of pants, maybe 2 pairs of shoes. If in 2060 everybody has 100 pairs of pants, 50 pairs of shoes, a 4,000 SQFT house, etc this could help. Bear in mind that if productive efficiency doubles, but you consume twice as much, employment stays the same. This is largely why we have full employment today, we consume soooo much more… But again, I wonder how scalable this is. The 3rd world has a LONG way to rise up, which will help globally speaking rather a lot, but in developed nations it might be harder to double or quadruple our consumption.

        4. More long term, genetically engineered babies could reduce the % of low IQ people, so more folks can remain useful. This will not help in the short or mid term though.

        I suspect a combo of the above MAY keep things from utterly collapsing and REQUIRING a UBI to avoid total societal breakdown and chaos… But I really don’t see that they will be able to keep anything like the kind of income distribution we currently have. I think even with the above trends doing as much as can be reasonably expected we’re going to see the devaluation of labor moving farther and farther up the “food chain” so to speak.

        1. People in what would be considered mid skill jobs will start having downward pressure, then a bit higher up in skill, and so on. When reasonably intelligent guys that might have been mediocre accountants in the world today are outcompeting less intelligent people to become carpenters, because it can’t be automated yet, that will push things down the whole way along. That sort of thing.

          And this riles people. It could get REAL messy.

          Imagine if income inequality gets two, or three, or five times worse than it is today… You can argue ALL YOU WANT that it’s the market, it’s only fair because this guy has XYZ skills, etc… But that won’t stop people from wanting to riot and lynch “rich people” or whatever.

          So, I DO rather wonder how this is all going to work out. I don’t have a ton of faith things will go well honestly. Even if it works out okay in the end, I think it will be VERY messy in between. I plan on investing mostly in real estate, because no matter WHAT happens with other stuff, people, whether they’re on a UBI, or working as servants for techie overlords, or whatever, will need a place to crash. But what works for a single person isn’t enough to pull out the whole system.

          1. I usually agree and appreciate your comments; but I’ll have to disagree on this one.

            How much work today would it take to buy this house (From 1853)
   /wiki/ File:Frederic _Edwin_Church_-_Colombia ,_Barranquilla ,_Two_Houses _-_Google _Art_Project.jpg

            If people of today didn’t mind living like people of yesterday with the amount of automation we have today they’d be living on the $10/YR salary to mow someones lawn once a year and growing a garden in the woods. Its all a matter of perspective and that perspective changes drastically through time.

            In 3040 when machines create what we think is “everything” today – a persons yearly salary for what we “need” today will cost 1-mowed lawn a year. But by then perspective on what is “needed” will have changed again.

            1. That’s kind of my point… If we increase consumption massively, that is one way we can counter effects. As is doing superfluous work that is “nice to have,” but complete unneeded. I am very well aware that living to a lower standard in the modern world is very cheap.

              The question is, can 8-10 billion people, many of whom are low IQ and incapable of doing high skill jobs, actually create a capitalistic system that functions properly employing most people? If everybody had 180 IQs we might be able to have everybody doing super brainy stuff and robots doing everything… But if 70% of the population is unemployable because of all that automation, how does one distribute that productivity without a UBI or something?

              That issue is kind of my whole point. A UBI might work, but that’s a pretty big change, and will have many negative consequences socially IMO.

              1. Super Low IQ kind of steps into the boundaries of disabled people. A LOCAL welfare office State/City/County should “safety net” this UBI you’re talking about. Legislating minimums only creates a LOSE/LOSE situation for both the service provider who end up getting $0 minimum and the service buyer who can do-it-themselves for less than minimums. You’d have to force-ably stop people from working for themselves and require them to buy service (which we see materializing already through building-codes, licensing, and etc…).

                It is hard to imagine what exactly the Low Skill arena will be in 3040. People of 1800 didn’t have the imagination to peg “Operators” today like truck driving, pushing factory buttons, they didn’t know what all that was at the time and so it will mostly likely be the same trying to predict 3040 from today.

                1. TJ, you are correct that having a minimum is pointless.

                  But let us think:

                  First, this will not be 3040. This will be more like 2040, or 2050. These changes are going to come on hard and fast. Faster than many people imagine.

                  The problem is that when SOME people are making the big bucks, the uneducated will not ACCEPT being TOO far behind them without rioting.

                  If, for instance, we eliminated minimum wages, and in 2075 in order to under cut a robot doing something, somebody had to work for $5 an hour equivalent… But the standard of living they think is “fair” is the equivalent of $100K a year now, bearing in mind the wealthy have the equivalent of $500K a year by then… Well that job is all but pointless. If we have to subsidize via UBI $80-90K a year, why would the person even bother to work for the extra pennies?

                  These are the kinds of weird things that will come up. They COULD live a comfortable life on such a low wage when things are really cheap in the future, but they won’t accept that as being acceptable, just as people won’t accept living in a powerless shack today.

                  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride I suspect…

              2. UBI is *justified*.

                Lockean Proviso no longer holds.

                1. What am I missing here – The two most conservative commenters pushing for income socialism?

                  When the Speenhamland system ended, in 1834, people were plunged into a labor machine in which they had no role or say. The commission that repealed the system replaced it with Dickensian workhouses?a corrective, at the opposite extreme, for a program that everyone agreed had failed.

                  1. “What am I missing here – The two most conservative commenters pushing for income socialism?”

                    Understanding and applying Locke on property *is* conservative.

                    Thomas Paine as well.

                    Nixon + Friedman proposed a negative income tax.

                    Charles Murray came out for a UBI.

                    It shouldn’t be surprising. The ideas have been out there a long time.

                    1. Paine’s argument, from Agrarian Justice

                      It is a position not to be controverted that the earth, in its natural, cultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race. In that state every man would have been born to property. He would have been a joint life proprietor with rest in the property of the soil, and in all its natural productions, vegetable and animal.

                      But the earth in its natural state, as before said, is capable of supporting but a small number of inhabitants compared with what it is capable of doing in a cultivated state. And as it is impossible to separate the improvement made by cultivation from the earth itself, upon which that improvement is made, the idea of landed property arose from that parable connection; but it is nevertheless true, that it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property.

                      Every proprietor, therefore, of cultivated lands, owes to the community a ground-rent (for I know of no better term to express the idea) for the land which he holds; and it is from this ground-rent that the fund proposed in this plan is to issue.

                    2. Lockean Proviso

                      Nor was this appropriation of any parcel of land, by improving it, any prejudice to any other man, *since there was still enough and as good left*, and more than the yet unprovided could use. So that, in effect, there was never the less left for others because of his enclosure for himself. For he that leaves as much as another can make use of, does as good as take nothing at all. Nobody could think himself injured by the drinking of another man, though he took a good draught, who had a whole river of the same water left him to quench his thirst. And the case of land and water, where there is enough of both, is perfectly the same.
                      ??Second Treatise of Government, Chapter V, paragraph 33

                    3. E.I.C – Ya, its been around for a while and is nothing but wealth redistribution. Its right in line with the left wanting to tax the rich 90% or the millions of other ways they propose plan XYZ to steal from one person and give it to someone else. Robin Hood was a robbing criminal.

                      Just because a few Republicans have supported socialistic systems in the past/present through some RINO phase doesn’t auto-label the idea conservative. Conservatives should NEVER have to break their embrace-ment of individual freedom for a second to entertain the ideas of communistic ideology. I cannot think of a single Republican entertained socialistic program that isn’t a disaster today – from Social Security to Education to Medicare to Subsidies.

                      Social Securities future is bankruptcy with politicians hi-jacking the funds (If it was private someone would be going to court), Education is lined with liberal hogwash, Medicare has driven up prices so NO-ONE can afford healthcare anymore, Subsidies fill the pockets of the rich UN-justly. NONE of it was “good” no matter how well intended on the face. They are ALL the problems we deal with today!

                      The purpose of the government isn’t to cuddle and sympathize ever persons issue – its to ensure personal JUSTICE. Running over and stealing your neighbors cash because person-X needs a new paint job on their house isn’t JUSTICE delivered to the neighbor or the man who needs a paint job.

            2. “growing a garden in the woods. ”

              Lockean Proviso.

              1. TJ, you are correct that having a minimum is pointless.

                But let us think:

                First, this will not be 3040. This will be more like 2040, or 2050. These changes are going to come on hard and fast. Faster than many people imagine.

                The problem is that when SOME people are making the big bucks, the uneducated will not ACCEPT being TOO far behind them without rioting.

                If, for instance, we eliminated minimum wages, and in 2075 in order to under cut a robot doing something, somebody had to work for $5 an hour equivalent… But the standard of living they think is “fair” is the equivalent of $100K a year now, bearing in mind the wealthy have the equivalent of $500K a year by then… Well that job is all but pointless. If we have to subsidize via UBI $80-90K a year, why would the person even bother to work for the extra pennies?

                These are the kinds of weird things that will come up. They COULD live a comfortable life on such a low wage when things are really cheap in the future, but they won’t accept that as being acceptable, just as people won’t accept living in a powerless shack today.

                It’s gonna be a bumpy ride I suspect…

                1. I’m not ADVOCATING for a UBI mind you… I hate the concept. I also think it would do untold harm to peoples self worth, social structures, etc. I’m just struggling to see how the future will work WITHOUT ONE, IF automation becomes as extreme as seems probable.

                  This is from a purely practical stand point. I just don’t see how a potential future where 60-70% of the population may be unemployable can continue to exist as a fully capitalistic system. I think my “But these may help” suggestions in my initial post lay out some of the major variables that MAY prevent or mitigate such a massive lot of unemployment.

                  It’s fine and well to say just let things sort themselves out, but if that many people lose their jobs, you will have torches and pitchforks LONG before it ever gets that bad. That is practical reality. So if it comes down to the choice between mods burning down cities, or a UBI, I strongly suspect we will get UBI… And that may well be the reasonable response at that. I don’t like it, but it is what it is.

                  1. I don’t see UBI as an only option and believe it will actually be the very demise of the “poor”.

                    I believe current red tape has already cut the low skill market in 1/2 just as current healthcare and education subsidies and law has already increased the price substantially and in that same thought consider UBI in complete connection with Single-Payer ideas that are just more toppings of the same bad and failed approach. At some point one has to stop the path of destruction and return to what WAS working instead of adding more failure to fix the failure.

                    Just consider the amount of technology/automation gains over the past 18-years. One might think all the low skilled jobs would be gone but today we have the lowest Unemployment rate of the last 100-years. A good example is the landline – almost completely destroyed by cellular but today we have cellular businesses all over the country. There was never multiple landline businesses in place so the market actually expanded HUGELY when cellular killed landline.

                    I really don’t see any basis for this theory that an open technological markets puts 60-70% out of a job. What I do see is red tape sky-rocketing health, housing and education costs and killing the low skill market completely.

                    1. I am 100% in agreement that we should get rid of the red tape and nonsense… And then SEE where things naturally land. Totally agree.

                      A note though, we DO NOT have the lowest unemployment level right now… We have one of the highest in decades. The labor force participation rate NEVER rebounded after the great recession, people just gave up looking for work.

                      I don’t think we’re going to be at 60% unemployment tomorrow. As I said in another post, this is going to be a LONG time coming. It will happen slowly and steadily, not overnight. I’m just saying that IF we get to a situation where permanent, systemic unemployment is rising dramatically, a UBI is perhaps the last ditch thing we can strap on top of eliminating all kinds of other welfare to perhaps keep the peasants from rioting.

                      But we should get rid of red tape and see what they does long before we ever consider a UBI. That’s the final option if all else fails. Which I DO think is possible.

    2. “So what to do when the bar for how high somebody’s IQ needs to be to be a productive member of society keeps going up, and up, and up. What about when 20% of the population is useless economically speaking? 30%? 40%? 60%?”

      They may be too stupid for employment, but presumably they still can vote, and they’ll vote for politicians who promise to keep them alive on some sort of dole. This might rub against America’s puritan streak, but it wouldn’t be the first time we abandoned the ideas of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson, the economic visionaries upon whose ideas the country was founded. The overwhelming majority of the working population are employed. Not free or independent as the founders envisioned, but spend their entire working lives under somebody’s supervision. Even to be told where and when they can urinate.

      1. The problem is we have a generation who thinks they are too good for actual manual labor and they ignore skill s that have shortages like plumbers and electricians. You can make over $100k a year as a plumber if you are willing to put in your time as an apprentice and journeyman. Problem is most kids arent and refuse to get up early, work in the elements and work hard.

        1. “Problem is most kids arent and refuse to get up early, work in the elements and work hard.”

          Maybe the incentives aren’t there. Like a higher wage, for example. Look at Reason magazine, for example. They are constantly advertising for interns, essentially unpaid labour. Working class folk can’t afford to work for nothing, I’m sure these intern positions are filled by the comfortable middle class with wealthy parents.

          1. Explaining the low quality of Reason perhaps?

          2. What is deemed “unacceptable” today was the lifestyle of the highest ELITES just a few centuries ago.

      2. And that’s kinda my point mtrueman. At a certain point, unless something in my thinking is very wrong (like automation NEVER getting as prevalent as it seems it will), it almost seems inevitable that we will need a UBI or something.

        This worries me for a TON of reasons. The “New jobs will just pop up, duh!” argument ignores that people are not all equally capable. I’m sure there will be PLENTY of jobs for 180 IQ engineers in 40 years… But what will the 85 IQ guy be able to do that’s useful? There will still be plenty of un-atuomatable jobs… But if 60% of the population is chasing jobs that only have room for 20%, that’s going to push down wages, and cause all kinds of problems.

        1. I have a filthy house right now that I don’t want to clean. Gadgets that need to be built. Tools that need to be fixed. Weeds that need to be pulled.

          BUT – I’d rather “live with it” or do it myself BECAUSE to pay someone else to do it would require Employee Benefits, Red Tape, Minimum Wage, etc.. etc.. etc.. Without all of those there would right now be a few more Low Skill job openings. Minimum wage (or mandated UBI) ACTUALLY force-ably cuts that low skill market in 1/2 that you’re worried about shrinking in the future.

          1. That is true!

            But you’re ignoring the human part of the equation… Who WANTS to work for $4-5 an hour? Who can actually LIVE on $4-5 an hour?

            Answer: Not people in this country! Hell, or even most immigrants. That would put people at 3rd world living standards in the USA, given what the cost of living is here. You’d be better off being a peasant in Mexico than making $10K a year in the USA.

            People change their bar for what is acceptable with the times, so if the average “fancy, smart person” is making the equivalent of $500K a year in a few decades, they will NOT find it acceptable that they are making $10-15K a year.

            They will riot before they accept a situation like that. Right or wrong, that is reality.

            1. Its not the government (especially not the federal governments) job to steal from others to give yet others what they “WANT”. When 60-70% are making $4-5/hr there won’t be enough bank to feed the $500K income person his/her wages. The $500K income persons wages HAS to come from the people in a free-system. Laws that curb the natural path of money=value is the only way that $500K income will remain intact.

              Let them ‘riot’ against natural laws – It won’t/can’t go anywhere if its not justified. What you are trying to tell me is to let them ‘riot’ to take value without creating it. Once this is acknowledge/deemed legal it creates a whole “mob” of ‘rioting’ to take value without creating it… Oh wait, yep, that’s what the left is doing right now!

              1. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, rioting I mean. Merely that it WILL happen. So unless you propose just gunning down people in the streets en masse, it is something to consider.

                And YES, there CAN be lots of people making big money while everybody else lives in abject poverty. This is THE NORM globally. All 3rd world countries have massively wealthy people, and hordes of poor. If productivity (wealth creation) is mostly owned by the capital owners, and their $500K a year technocrats, we very may well end up with a world producing lots of value for a small portion of the population, while the rest of the population has very low market rate wages.

                1. Did you have the impression that the irresponsible, probably on drugs and societal liabilities shouldn’t be “poor”???
                  Most 3rd world countries are socialist/communist and are loaded with “help the poor” causes – Venezuela ring a bell? I do believe Venezuela had a UBI (“equality”) for EVERYONE.

        2. ‘ The “New jobs will just pop up, duh!” argument ignores that people are not all equally capable. ‘

          Horses went from being locomotion to being recreational pets and food.

          There isn’t always another job you’re needed for. Sometimes you’re simply no longer economically viable in an economy.

          People used to be able to count on being smarter, more agile, and more dexterous. All increasingly going by the wayside.

          People make the mistake of thinking that AI will never have the “human touch”. Actually, it will soon enough have a supra human touch, being more empathetic, charming, and sexy than any human can be.

          1. Indeed. Someday we might have literally 0% of the human population that can do anything better than a machine. In that inbetween time though, having a really high IQ will be an advantage as it always has been.

            1. Well, you both know what I think… You’re both “fear mongering” on “what ifs” which is a common practice of the left. What if the earth fries in 20-years because fire emits CO2 or cows fart.

              I’ll take that “what if” challenge and say “Al” will NEVER be counted on for being smarter, agile or more dexterous or equally capable UNTIL…………….. “Al” is held reliably accountable for being EXACTLY that.

              Putting “Al” into a situation where “Al” has no motivation to be anything but a bum will probably get exactly that — a bum.

              Its the same lack of motivation that is detrimental to communist countries; thus causing them to RESORT to human abuse tactics to get anything done (beating them). Its the same tactics that destroyed the family unit; killing the motivation to marry/demand better. Its the same tactics that brought down every failed communist society.

              The USA has gone through countless Industrial Revolutions and yet today we have BOTH men & women finding work which is 2-times the amount of human work today than that of the past but “what if” there isn’t any more work in the future?

              And “fixing” the “what ifs” and then later having to “fix” it over and over and over again (while it plunges into the worst situation possible) is exactly what the left does.

              1. I’m not a leftist, and not coming at this from a leftist perspective. I really HOPE that this issue never materializes. But as a geek who keeps up on cutting edge technology, I think there is a realistic possibility that the displacement of workers may be too hard and fast for PEOPLE to be able to adapt. Even if the same amount of technology rolled out over 100 years, we mgiht adapt… But if it happens in 20 years, it would be catastrophic, as there isn’t TIME for people to change/learn new skills/ etc potentially.

                As I said elsewhere, we SHOULD NOT even be thinking about implementing a UBI anytime soon. We’re nowhere near it being needed. But to say there are NO potential situations where it might ever be needed… I believe in shades of grey thinking too much to say such a thing, even though I hate the idea.

                You mentioned another point which I knew in my head, but didn’t type. Men and women BOTH work. In a world with dramatically fewer jobs, returning to single earner households could become more of a thing too. It really depends on whether or not we can maintain employment for low IQ people more than anything. A single smart person working could easily support a family in the future… But if neither person in a low IQ marriage are employable, that’s an issue.

                We’ll see how it all turns out.

      3. ” but it wouldn’t be the first time we abandoned the ideas of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson”

        Thomas Paine wrote Agrarian Justice.

  21. what is not acceptable is to do nothing in the face of uncertainty. Minimum wages have to go up

    But it is apparently acceptable for a rabidly pro-choice editorial board to put down their “keep your laws off my body” placards long enough to advocate laws putting a price floor on what I can sell my labor for.

  22. The basic problem with all the minimum wage hikes is Democrats have a fundemental lack of knowledge of business. First, they think the purpose of business is to provide jobs. Second, they think a business that makes a profit is evil and must be punished. Third, they have no clue how franchising operates. Finally, they think entry level jobs are supposed to be careers because all of their “programs” have crushed real opportunities for blue collar jobs whichbtje poor used to work in the past.

  23. I expect future president and economics genius Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will ban robots, so that situation will resolve itself.

    1. I bought a shovel to dig a hole to live in during the Obama Administration – Almost had to use it! Thank my lucky stars Hillary lost and the GOP got a hold of congress in time.

  24. But here’s the thing: capital formation is good for labor productivity, so the minimum wage is an incentive for firms to invest in capital. Even without the minimum wage, it would be good to automate.

  25. What is it about the Left that prevents them from understanding the concept behind Bastiat’s unseen?
    So even if the robots were not an issue, how many people would be out of work because of artificially placed mandates on wages?

    Do those on the Left have brains? Just wondering.

    1. “Do those on the Left have brains?” — No, they have emotions/feelings and thousands of sources of propaganda to play on those emotions all lined with mostly logical fallacies and cherry-picked numbers. They might have a brain but REALITY is just too hard on their emotions to allow it to function correctly.

  26. I say make the minimum wage even higher. The faster robots are improved, the faster they can become smart enough to solve the problems caused by the minimum wage.

    1. How about, “Its only worth what others will pay for it freely.” I don’t care what the minimum wage is; It cannot change economic principles. You want $15/hr for mowing the lawn – FIRED. I’ll do it myself. Its a loss for you ($0 income) and a loss for me (Have to do it myself). Its a LOSE/LOSE situation.

      1. I pay about $45 an hour to have my lawn mowed (3 guys, 20 minutes), probably by illegal immigrants. Anyone who does it for $15 is a sucker. $15 an hour is a really pathetic wage, suitable only for young children if that.

        1. And there’s the issue right there – Stated about 10-posts up by TxJack, “The problem is we have a generation who thinks they are TOO GOOD for actual manual labor”…

          $15/hr is $30.7K/yr which is REALLY good here. That’ll land those people in a 3-bed, 2-bath, garaged house. Exactly HOW MUCH do they really have to have in return for cutting grass anyways? If a person cannot make it in NYC with low skills perhaps they should consider a MOVE instead of compulsively complaining about living in their ROOT and crying about the wage they “Want” instead of the wage they “Deserve”.

          1. You’re right about people moving! Heck, I make really good money, and have still decided to finally bail out of the over priced trendy city I live in. It’s become too proggy too, but the expense alone would make it worth it even if it weren’t so progtarded.

            And there is a good dose of being too lazy/stupid to do better paying low skill jobs. I’ve never understood why somebody would be a dish washer or burger flipper, instead of learning to paint houses or be a carpenter… None are super hard mentally, but the pay gaps are considerable. I guess I’m just not a slacker though…

            My old lawn guy kept me at an old rate years after he raised his, so was still only getting about $25 an hour… He was a legal Vietnamese immigrant whose dad was in the Army over there back in Nam. But he bailed, and now I’m probably at about $50 an hour for the new guy. He IS a native born white guy. This is in an insanely expensive city too, I’m sure in other areas it runs a lot less.

  27. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

  28. If you have ever used self-checkout at a grocery store, you know that is not the way to go unless the human-operated lines are long and you only have a few items. The kiosks at convenience stores don’t really speed things up, because people dilly-dally instead of coming to a quick decision. There will always be a place for humans on the consumer-facing side of business.

    1. I kind of enjoyed using the self-checkout at my local Costco but they removed the self-checkout lanes because of massive shoplifting.

    2. If you scan and bag your own groceries, you just saved the grocery corporation a few bucks on labor & the clerk they didn’t have to pay. And the corporation passes the savings on to you, when you save more $ on your groceries. Oh wait, no they don’t and no you don’t.

  29. Every time the cost of labor goes up, regardless of the reason, automation gets easier to justify.

    1. ^THIS; And labor demand goes down ( Prices go Up – Demand goes Down ) so those worried about the job market must increase demand ( Pricing must go Down ) lobbying for artificial high prices will guarantee their demise.

  30. Here’s a good read about UBI —

    “As a form of redistribution of wealth, UBI will divert the flow of money away from its natural path toward value. Such diversion will necessarily change the demand that results from the processes of self-organization that operate in a market economy and make it efficient. Changing the demand will also affect the supply. As a result, UBI will distort the overall economic performance. The economy will follow the direction that will take it away from the path of efficiency.” 2019/ 02/04/ ubi-a-curse-or-a-blessing/

    Its nothing more than a new paint job (name) on the path to communism.

    1. “Rather than resort to UBI, we should look for ways to use human capital more efficiently and involve all people into the creation of values.”

      Here is their flaw. They assume ALL people CAN create value… Which is NOT a given. Many people do not today. In a world where most menial labor can be automated, far more might be genuinely valueless.

      As I said above, I HATE the idea of a UBI. I think it will have devastating effects in many ways. BUT if implements correctly, it is not communism as it allows the market to operate, and just skims off the top as we already do today. This will slow economic growth, just as taxation does today… But if the alternative is riots in the street because 60% of the population is unemployed, what is the alternative?

      Keep in mind, we are NOWHERE NEAR needing a UBI today. We probably won’t be for a minimum of a couple decades. We will have a LOT of heads up if we end up coming to a point where UBI seems to be the only alternative. When you see permanent labor force participation rates dropping lower and lower year after year that would be one key indicator.

      1. That article just spoke in empty platitudes about somehow magically ensuring every human helps create value… Calling human capital our most important asset! And it is… The problem is the human capital many people have is basically zero. They operate on the false premise that 85 IQ people can somehow rise to do some other new/important task, when they are just not capable of doing so.

        IF things don’t work themselves out magically, we will have a long time to think through the specifics and transition into some sort of UBI that is structured to promote as much working as possible. Things like eliminating minimum wages, all other welfare programs, etc could and should be coupled with implementation as well.

        We should fight any sort of UBI tooth and nail unless and until it has been very soundly proven that there is massive and permanent unemployment in the face of large scale automation. I hope it never happens, but I think it may well.

        1. LOCAL welfare office – done. Implemented by locals. Repeal all the federal red tape (open up the market for Low IQ) and put Dickensian workhouses w/subsidized travel tickets in D.C. for any local governments who refuse to implement any welfare support (though I doubt they’d ever exist).

          I really believe the Low IQ employment problem we see today is EXACTLY the effects of mandated benefits, minimum wage and wealth redistribution already infecting the Low IQ market right now.

          1. I pretty much agree with all that. We would have far more jobs if we didn’t have minimum wages and mandated benefits. In the here and now I am ALL FOR making people work for their welfare, a la what FDR did… At least it is getting some stuff done, and less ridiculous than giving money away for nothing. I’d rather have nothing, but that beats the current system.

            But interesting question: If a robot can mow the lawn at city hall cheaper than paying a person a “welfare” wage to do it… Why should you not just use a robot? Things might get real funky if we ever get to the point where there really aren’t enough gigs to go around.

            1. Does the mower run on gas(Oil Jobs) or electrical power(Solar Panels/Power Infrastructure)? If its gas does someone need to go pickup gas for it (Delivery)? Will it ever break (Mechanics)? Who built/designed this robot (Scientist/Engineering)? Who sold the mower (Marketing/Salesmen)? Who oversaw the effectiveness of all the above (CEO/Management)?

              I understand the point you’re trying to make; just don’t think it’ll ever happen. In 1853 we’d be talking about automobiles taking ALL the ranching, feeding, training and stall cleaning jobs – granite, all those jobs are pretty much gone but they were replaced by one of the biggest industries/employment of the USA and everyone can get from point A to point B 100x faster.

              A good way to look at this is; how many working people do you know of who don’t consider themselves, “too busy to get to job or getting task XYZ done?” Maybe my perspective is different but I’ve never heard about a person lacking enough “things to do”.

              1. Half of the stuff in half of those fields IS going to be automated or made far more efficient… A good chunk of the other half requires people that are A LOT smarter/more skilled than a simpleton that can mow a lawn.

                That’s my whole point! What if we end up with plenty of jobs for people with IQs of 115+, and almost none for those with 115 and lower. Shit rolls down hill, so almost 100% of the people with saaay 85-95 IQs are permanently unemployed. I already listed ways to lessen this (doing things inefficiently because it’s cool! Hiring servants. Etc), but that may not all be enough.

                1. Something just struck me; You’re speaking in terms of evolutionary hierarchy. The very reason humans became the “rulers” of the worlds resources and not the Dogs, Cows or even wilderness giants like Lions for that matter. In that respect one could say that the laws of nature and evolutionary hierarchy isn’t very “humane” but there’s no denying that Cows/Dogs have it pretty good due to the “rulers” now providing “lazy” food and shelter.

                  I guess what you’re pointing at is a question of how “low” in the hierarchy humans should be allowed to be if/when they become valueless due to the upper-evolution and their machines.

                  To that I respond – They’re only guaranteed life, liberty and property. The U.S. has 2.3 billion acres of land ( 788M Plains, 747M Forest, 349M Crops, 66M Urban, 44M Rural ) ANYONE short of severely mentally retarded should be “capable” enough to cut a tree, make a log home, burn wood for heat, and grow a garden and hunt for food. They shouldn’t “believe” they’re entitled to factory goods by default of being born.

                  1. And to add a bit — This stance (while by some might be considered cruel) keeps the factory ‘rulers’ in check (market balance). As more people move (or are driven) to a more 1800’S self-sustaining lifestyle the “factory” machines aren’t valued as much and their stocks will fall. In fact to the ones who enjoy being in a self-sustaining life it offers 0-value and there’s a lot of people out there that go that route on purpose.

                    I live in a Rural area. Yes, there are still people out here living in homes from axe chopped trees and wood burning fire places growing gardens and etc.. etc.. etc.. (Thanks to grandfathering laws making them still livable legally) Yep, its pretty cruel alright but its what they do and they “survive” just fine and surprising don’t cry/lobby about it. The ones who have the motivation to make that step into bigger incomes and fancy lifestyles often do exactly that by choice.

                    But gov regulating has made a lot of that illegal – so in that same line I believe regulating hurts the ability of the poor to survive more than it helps.

        2. “They operate on the false premise that 85 IQ people can somehow rise to do some other new/important task, when they are just not capable of doing so.”

          Per Jordan B. Peterson, the Army (I’m unclear if US or Canadian) concluded that hiring someone with IQ below 85 was positively counterproductive.

          1. Yup. McNamara’s Morons I believe they were called! They’re literally worse having them around than not having them in a military context.

            Those are people that can literally not balance a check book if their life literally depended on it. They can BARELY manage to do things like sweep a floor decently, or other similarly simple tasks. Problem is IIRC about 15% of the population has an IQ that low or lower… These are the people that create most of the problems in the world. They commit most of the crime, collect all the welfare, screw up your order at Burger King! ALL THE BAD STUFF.

            1. Maybe – Its a symptom of a failed educational / training route?

              Interestingly a socialized path in this nation.

              I’ve seen severly certified re-tarted people add value to society in some way or the other.. Sometimes off-the-charts (seen the movie rain-man). While they are incapable of job-X and must have assistance there they often just might be astonishing at job-Y.

              1. …. But when the (socialist/uniformity) powers that be educate / train ONLY for job-Z (a mandated path/curriculum) what derives is utterly “useless” for X/Y….

                So the “educated” Z-Type ends up utterly dependant on subsidies only to go on to accept the subsidized job of teach Z-Education in a Z-Building inflicting more Z-Education like a subsidizing plague.

                Until the mandated curriculum is repealed and the usefulness (a societal benefit) of job-X/Y education are determined by laws of supply and demand the ROOT (Z-Education) can re-en-cycle itself right into pure “useless” destruction.

                1. There are idiot savants, like rain man… But most dumb people are just dumb. Not BAD people mind you, but just not smart enough to understand many things.

                  You cannot train an 85 IQ person to be a doctor. They are utterly incapable of it.

                  They CAN be trained to be a janitor. Or a lot of other things, provided they have good personality traits other than being not bright, AKA they’re not a slacker or miscreant.

                  But again, these types of jobs will likely be disappearing really fast. At a certain point if too many jobs that people with 100 IQs do now disappear, they will displace all the 85 IQ people at jobs that are currently done by those 85 IQ people now as they will be better at them.

                  There is no amount of training that can fix this. Despite all the nonsense propaganda that we’re all equal… We’re NOT all ACTUALLY equal. The smart will displace the less intelligent if there is not enough work to go around.

                  1. The correlation of the two subjects of Low IQ and Automation as to infer Automation will block Low IQ from being able to sustain themselves is where I’m arguing the premise.

                    I believe the reality is – Automation is what has allowed the Low IQ to get their hands on those sustaining resources to begin with by making them so lucrative that even the lowest valued employees can still get a hold of those resources.

                    In the (what should be separate) argument about Low IQ – Its the same as it was before automation. Stupid people end up being liabilities whether in a factory or in the middle of a cotton picking field they end up burning down. The Stupid’s liability is a liability whether automation is there or not.

                    I guess my counter and clarifying argument is that — I don’t think automation is going to create a future of 60-70% of humans being too Low IQ-ed (Stupid) to find enough value in themselves to be sustainable — But here’s a though; maybe the 40% that haven’t lost all their IQ to the machine will only have to work a couple hours a day instead of full-time. Actually that’s probably already being shaped as history tells us 80hrs a week wasn’t all that uncommon.

  31. Food made and sold by robots is the best kind. Unless the food is so bad in the first place that no-one can tell the difference. Is this even really “food”? And won’t McD’s et al replace workers with robots someday anyway? Why wouldn’t they, if the technology is available/affordable/efficient? McD’s has always been obsessed with the technology of mass-producing food-like addictive substances, ever since their very beginning, with the technology of automated soft-serve “ice cream” and milkshakes making the whole junkfood chain possible in the first place. Going fully-automated would be a very McDonald’s thing to do.

  32. This entire article about minimum wage never mentions the current minimum wage: $7.25/hour. Ten years ago the minimum wage was raised to 7.25, but there it stayed, while the price of food and rent has doubled or tripled in the decade since then. Unless you live in one of 19 states where waiters/waitresses/bartenders get a minimum wage of $2.13/hour. Yes, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, food service professionals may be forced to work for about 2 bucks an hour. Okay, maybe in LA, San Fran, Seattle, NYC, etc, those jobs could still be lucrative due to tips, but that really lets all the owners/employers off the hook, doesn’t it? But in the rest of the country, like New Mexico, the poorest state in the country, there’s not a lot of tip $ being thrown around. And many people have no choice but to take minimum-wage-type jobs, if that’s all there is in their region.

    1. Said service is ONLY worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

      To distort that basic principle would require FORCING someone to pay more than they need to or FORCING someone to work for free (i.e. Slavery). It all leads back to communism and slavery; failed time and time again. There is no market checks and balances in a communistic system. Its a violation of the laws of nature and mother nature doesn’t forgive and the consequences always ends up being fatal.

      What you fail to realize is EACH and EVERY single waitress/bartender CAN start a bar or shop of there own ( so long as communist laws don’t violate that principle ). If they believe their service is worth more and that owners are exploiting them they have EVERY opportunity to prove that by being the “owner”.

    2. I’m looking to relocate to a cheap state so my relatively high income will have me living like a king… As a business owner I researched going rates for hiring people of various skills. In one of the cheapest places in the country, I did not see ONE SINGLE JOB LISTING offering only the federal minimum, even though that is all they’re required… Because market wages are higher than that.

      In other words, the market WORKS. It set the minimum at about $8.50-9.50 for the most menial jobs out there. In more expensive areas, market wages are far higher. The market works. If somebody wants a higher wage, learn a more useful skill. Move if you have to. These are all options open to people.

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