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Excellent commentary by Richard Berman:
I just came back from California, where starter wage mandates are wreaking havoc on the entry-level job market. I took a video of five kiosk ordering screens in a Taco Bell. You order, pay, pick up your food and a self-pour soda cup without ever having to talk to anyone.
These are jobs that used to belong to starter employees. While the country’s broader labor market is currently strong, the youth employment rate remains in crisis territory, with fewer than one in three holding a job. In California that figure falls to fewer than one in four.
If you want to know why the job market has quickly become an employment desert for young people, look no further than the stupidity of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Low economics IQ coupled with millions of dollars in forced member dues to fund public relations campaigns to influence equally complicit legislators have resulted in dramatic minimum wage increases in the $12 to $15 range affecting roughly half the country by population. These are wage hikes that cannot be passed on in price increases...
In addition to the five kiosks I saw this past week, I came home to see stories of “Flippy” — the new burger-flipping robot that’s being introduced. CaliBurger plans to use Flippies at all its 50 global locations by the end of 2019. Eatsa, a fully automated restaurant concept with five locations all in places that have passed $15 minimum wages, has no employees in sight. As The Washington Post reports, “The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is the remarkable lack of employees.”
In the world of dramatic minimum wage increases, such technology that has an expensive upfront cost has become an attractive alternative if a business is going to keep its price-sensitive consumers. It has become obvious to market analysts that people will trade service to get lower prices. As the country ages, fewer people remember when someone else filled our car gas tank. (It was my weekend starter job in high school.)
Over time, our collective memory will no longer remember cashiers in grocery stores, movie ticket sellers or toll booth collectors. Smug elitists who suggest these positions are not worth having because they are not “good jobs,” need to remember that not everyone has the benefit of a college education and parents who read to them.
RW note: Grocery store baggers are already almost gone from our collective memory. SEE: How I Zapped a Whole Foods Cashier Over Minimum Wage Policy