The problem with people who promote economic policy such as increasing the minimum wage is they seem to think the labor markets won’t adjust to said policies. They think the government can wave its magic policy wand and low-skill workers will just make more without any side effects. Like higher prices for goods and services.
Or cashiers put out of work by automation. Which is happening in Europe where labor laws have driven up the cost of employing people far further than in America:
The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.
The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data. McDonald’s could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget, and large shake you order.
See also: 3D printed pizzas.
Automated check out kiosks have become a staple even in stores here in North Dakota. And I would be surprised if, buried somewhere deep in lobbying disclosure forms, we couldn’t find a money connection between advocacy for the minimum wage and the companies that make these automated kiosks.
Because let’s face it. Driving up the cost of employing low-skill human labor is only going to make it more practical for businesses to replace that labor with automation.
Which isn’t to say there’s necessarily anything wrong with automation. Only that policies like the minimum wage distort the labor markets in favor of automation, at the detriment of the workers the policies allegedly help.