Minimum Wage Hikes Again Lead to More Automation, Layoffs
In the world of unintended consequences and utopian fantasies of progressive liberals, a hike to $15 per hour for the minimum wage is only a start to curing all the country’s ills, but in reality, businesses forced to comply will find ways to continue to provide their customers with a good product at a fair price.
Rather than passing along the increased cost of the raise to consumers, creative business owners and managers are now looking to automation to take the place of humans who have been rendered too expensive to hire as a result of the progressive legislation.
In practice, the feel-good hike in the minimum wage will result in workers who made $8 an hour flipping burgers now making $0 an hour as machines take over the flipping.
Fast food giant Wendy’s, fifth in U.S. sales of fast food chains, has announced that it will be installing self-service kiosks in its more than 6,000 restaurants in the United States.
Wendy’s president, Todd Penegor, told Investment Business Daily that franchisees have been forced to raise prices on their fast foods, primarily burgers and fries, to cover the increase in the minimum hourly wage, so the company is “working so hard to find efficiencies.”
Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Jr., another burger chain, echoed economists who warned that the increase mandated by new laws in Oregon and California would put low-skilled and entry-level workers in jeopardy of losing their jobs to automation.
“If you’re making labor more expensive and automation is less expensive… this is not rocket science.”
McDonald’s, the oldest and still most successful fast food chain, is considering the use of automated ordering machines, which have already been available at McDonald’s in Spain.
In promoting the increase, liberals argued that all businesses must pay a “living wage” to employees, even though the vast majority of entry-level jobs are held by teenagers and first job-holders just entering the job market and learning skills that will help them find better jobs in the future.