Did you know that California has passed a law to bring more robots into the workforce?
Well, not exactly, but here is how Ben Boychuk describes California's recent boost of the minimum wage to $15:
California’s legislature [last Thursday] voted overwhelmingly to automate most of the Golden State’s fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, and mid-sized retail chains by 2022. No, that wasn’t the stated intent of Senate Bill 3, which sailed through the Assembly and Senate on mostly party-line votes and after little debate. But that will be the likely effect of the law, which is supposed to phase in a $15 hourly minimum wage starting in January.
California's new minimum wage hike will be a boon for public sector workers and for politicians who'll use it as a talking point. But will it actually help people who need to get an entry-level job and begin to gain skills and try to move up? San Francisco is the test case. Boychuk writes:
Will a $15 per-hour wage really help workers in San Francisco? As the city began phasing in its own $15 minimum wage law last year, locals were shocked to discover the law of unintended consequences. Business owners who supported the city’s ordinance have found themselves raising prices, cutting hours, or in a few notable cases, shutting down altogether. “If you can only raise prices so much,” one political consultant with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce told the L.A. Times this week, “you’re going to be forced to cut hours, cut employees, change your business model and frankly, automate.”
That—and maybe relocate your corporate headquarters to Tennessee while you’re at it. Last month, Andy Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants (owners of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains), announced that the company would leave Santa Barbara for the more accommodating tax and regulatory climes of Nashville.
But Puzder’s greater sin, at least judging from the scorn and ridicule he garnered online, was his unapologetic view of how best to boost his company’s bottom line in the years ahead: robots all the way down. “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” he told Business Insider. If labor is the biggest expense on the ledger, then that’s the likeliest target for cuts. “With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” Puzder said. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.”
I'd prefer to deal with human beings and to know that those human beings are in jobs that give them a chance to master skills required to move on to better jobs. Unrealistic minimum wage hikes mean that the robots are coming.