Thursday, May 12, 2016

Minimum Wage Jobs Going . . . Going . . .

Leon H. Wolf notes that Wendy's is installing automated terminals in 6,000 of their restaurants. Higher minimum wage worker cost widens the impetus to shutting no experience and unskilled workers out of jobs.
And thus we see that Wendy’s has announced a massive program to install automated terminals in 6,000 of their restaurants – terminals that won’t walk out of work on random days demanding to be paid $15 an hour.
On the whole, this is a net benefit for society. The invention of the automatic ditch digger means better ditches can be dug faster and cheaper, and isn’t it great that we don’t have to dig ditches in the hot sun every day? But if you’re a person who’s never learned to do anything for a living but dig a ditch, it’s a problem.
But, politicians are lying to them. A higher minimum wage won't fix anything. It just leads to mechanized employees who don't need wages or benefits. Neither will "bringing jobs back" to the United States help things. Those are jobs which have wages in the US that have risen far above the market. Who is going to buy products with super-inflated prices necessary to pay for a living wage and the benefits that go along with it?

And technology has made some jobs, including coal jobs, not competitive any more. So promises for jobs there are both dishonest and manipulative.
The problem is only made worse by fundamentally dishonest politicians who are peddling false dreams to people who need to come to grips with economic reality. Donald Trump stands in front of huge rallies in West Virginia and promises laid off coal workers that he’s going to get them back to work again, but he can’t. Fracking has made natural gas cheap enough that coal simply can’t compete on price, so unless Trump plans to outlaw it and drive up energy costs, there simply aren’t enough people who want coal for that to happen. And even if they did, mountaintop removal processes have made it so much quicker (and less human labor intensive) to mine coal that there simply isn’t a massive demand for human coal miners anymore, even if the whole world ran on coal.
There's no such thing as a free lunch or easy fix solutions to hard issues. Voters continue the time honored practice of being gullible, then cynical, then open to even more audacious snake oil salesmen.


MAX Redline said...

Heh. I've been talking about this for over a year, more so since that "Fight For $15" idiocy broke out (funded by SEIU).

Proponents talk about "a living wage", but minimum wage was never intended to be that. I really hate when these idiots talk about "supporting their families" - poor decision-making isn't my fault.

T. D. said...

Yes, Max, you have been on this. I've learned a lot from your posts. Thank you! And as for a "living wage", absolutely right that $15 ain't my idea of a reasonable living. With Portland rents being around $1,300/mo average, that would take up about half of a $15/hr wage, before taxes(c. $385/mo), social security ($161), medical ($224 just for premiums; if you really get sick add doctor bills, medication, etc.). Already down to about $133 a week left to pay for transportation (no car), food, clothing, utilities, laundry, household furnishings. And that's just talking about a single. What about a single mom with kids? Need a lot more for a "living wage".

Wages are supposed to be tied to productivity not to personal need. Someone with a lot of medical problems or with disabilities will obviously need a lot more to live on than someone reasonably healthy and who can make do with a spartan living environment. It's all a bunch of hocus-pocus.

MAX Redline said...

Ha! I don't educate, TD, I just opinionate. But they're based in experience, so hey.

Wages are supposed to be tied to productivity not to personal need.

Well put! Minimum wage induced me to upgrade my skill-set when I was a kid. That's what it was intended to do. The whole "living wage" thing is pure baloney.

As for a "single mom with kids": is it your fault that she made bad decisions in regard to having unprotected sex? Should we have to pay for her bad judgment? Nope. Upgrade your skills, momma. And learn to make better decisions.

T. D. said...

Low wage, though I think above minimum, has encouraged my nephew to upgrade his skills/education. He's going back to college to finish a degree program he started 5 or 6 years ago. He just saw too many closed doors.

MAX Redline said...

You have a smart nephew, although skills come in many ways and don't always require a college degree. However you acquire them, improving the skill-set is a smarter idea than yelling "Fight for $15!".

T. D. said...

Absolutely right, Max, about different ways to improve skill-set. He originally dropped out because he's in the computer field where being able to do something counts more than a degree. But, he found out that at the lower levels a degree has more influence in moving up because there is so much competition. At the higher levels or niche skill levels actually being able to do something counts more.

MAX Redline said...

Oh yeah, TD. At lower levels in IT these days, a degree is helpful. Fortunately, that wasn't the case when I got going in that area. Being able to do stuff was a big plus.

I got yanked in on a few occasions because computers stopped working. That'll happen when the CMOS battery dies, because the system suddenly doesn't realize that it has stuff like disk drives anymore. It's an easy fix, though a little time-consuming.

T. D. said...

I'm always amazed at the wide range of what you have done and how you acquired your expertise, Max. Thanks for freely sharing it!