American Elephants

“Inequality?” How About Having No Job At All? by The Elephant's Child

Obama is desperately searching for distractions, any distractions, please, from the rollout of ObamaCare. There’s the maybe/sorta agreement in Geneva which is enough of a disaster in foreign policy and national security to get Republican juices flowing, and now he’s going after “inequality”—liberals are always suckers for the claim that if we really try, we can make everybody truly equal. That’s also a sop to the low information voters who assume it means a raise.

Equality is apparently achieved by increasing the minimum wage. This should already be a major sore spot, because it is ObamaCare that has forced millions of businesses who employ beginning workers at the minimum wage to cut their hours back under 30 hours a week so they are truly “part time,” so they don’t have to pay a large fine per employee for not offering health insurance.

Liberals undoubtedly assumed that employers would purchase health insurance for their people, or pay the hefty fine, and it didn’t occur to them that they would actually avoid both expenses. Liberals in Congress are, in general, fairly unfamiliar with the operation of a business. They think profit is just evil, and most of the leading Democrats have never done anything else but politics — “public service” is the preferred euphemism.

In August, Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, but inflation in the last few months has driven it up to $10. Here in the greater Seattle area, Sea-Tac, the community surrounding the airport, has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour — for teaching beginning workers how to perform a job?

Jonah Goldberg wondered “Was Obama sent from the future by Skynet to prepare humanity for its ultimate dominion by robots?” This falls under the heading:

……………………………….“You Can Be Replaced”

The restaurant chain Applebees is installing iPad-like tablets at every table so customers can order their meals and pay their checks without ever consulting a waiter or waitress.  Chili’s already made the  move earlier this year. When businesses found that new workers could not cope with making change and adding up the cost of menu items, they didn’t fire the kids, they rearranged their cash registers to do the math.

In 2011, Anita Lowrey wrote about a startup firm called E La Carte, which makes a table tablet called Presto. Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, the Presto costs about 42 cents per hour per table. Cheaper than the most beginning worker, and no one needs to train it, replace it if it quits or offer sick days. You perhaps saw the video of Jeff Bezos’ idea of delivering products right to your door with robot drones.

I wrote back in August about the Alpha Machine robot from Momentum Machines which replaces all the fast-food workers in a hamburger shop. It serves up 360 gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.

With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customers’ liking. When the burger has finished cooking, Alpha Machine slices the tomatoes and pickles and places them on the burger, which it then wraps up for serving. Momentum Machines claims that Alpha Machine will save a restaurant enough money to pay for itself in a year, enabling the restaurant to spend about twice as much on ingredients as they normally would. Customers can just put in their order, pay and wait at a dispensing window.

The next generation will add a custom meat grinding feature that could mix different meats — 1/3 pork, 2/3 bison for example — and char the burger while retaining juiciness. The company is planning the first restaurant chain with a cook staff of entirely robots.


Liberals cannot seem to get it through their heads that if a business does not make a profit — it will not exist. It’s that simple. The longer businesses are regulated and directed and controlled and taxed out of the ability to make a profit, the more the unemployment ranks will grow.

We have 4.1 million long-term unemployed. After 4 years of overregulation, over taxation, and interference in business by scores of bureaucrats who have no idea what it takes to operate a business, business is fighting back, finding ways to reduce their costs. There are always consequences. The free market is full of valuable information that the  most credentialed bureaucrats refuse to hear. They are doing immense damage in their arrogance.

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[…] to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or more, need to be aware that there are consequences. Momentum Machines automates the whole process, and there is a point where a machine that doesn’t demand sick […]


Pingback by Raise the Minimum Wage, But Beware Unintended Consequences! | American Elephants

[…] those jobs you sneer at, and there are other replacements who don’t protest and don’t demand time off, overtime nor sick […]


Pingback by The Unintended Consequences of Demanding Higher Pay | American Elephants

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