Animal’s Daily News

Burgers.
Burgers.

Predictable outcomes are predictable.  This just in from Forbes.com:
Thanks To ‘Fight For $15’ Minimum Wage, McDonald’s Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide.  Excerpt:

As the labor union-backed Fight for $15 begins yet another nationwide strike on November 29, I have a simple message for the protest organizers and the reporters covering them: I told you so.

It brings me no joy to write these words. The push for a $15 starter wage has negatively impacted the career prospects of employees who were just getting started in the workforce while extinguishing the businesses that employed them. I wish it were not so. But it’s important to document these consequences, lest policymakers elsewhere decide that the $15 movement is worth embracing.

As the labor union-backed Fight for $15 begins yet another nationwide strike on November 29, I have a simple message for the protest organizers and the reporters covering them: I told you so.

It brings me no joy to write these words. The push for a $15 starter wage has negatively impacted the career prospects of employees who were just getting started in the workforce while extinguishing the businesses that employed them. I wish it were not so. But it’s important to document these consequences, lest policymakers elsewhere decide that the $15 movement is worth embracing.

Let’s start with automation. In 2013, when the Fight for $15 was still in its growth stage, I and others warned that union demands for a much higher minimum wage would force businesses with small profit margins to replace full-service employees with costly investments in self-service alternatives. At the time, labor groups accused business owners of crying wolf. It turns out the wolf was real.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.

Fishing Trip BearNow, add to the mix the much-touted hamburger making machines, and The Rise Of The Burger Machines is nearly complete; all we need is a sort of Burger Skynet to run the rest of the store, and we can eliminate human employees from the equation altogether.

But seriously, folks; these two key pieces of automation could very possibly reduce the staffing requirements of a fast-food burger joint from, say, ten – to one.  Maybe two.  You just need someone to address complaints and clear jams in the burger machine.

Now, it’s common to attribute this to the increases in minimum wages, and it’s certain that these prohibitions on unskilled labor have accelerated the rise of this tech.  But this is something that probably would have happened eventually in any case; it’s just a piece of the increasing trend towards reducing costs by automation.

But that doesn’t make the ever-increasing demands of the minimum wage any less silly.  The minimum wage law is and always has been zero.  These laws just force more and more low- and un-skilled workers to that level.