|Would you like fries with that?|
On your humble flat or help you at the automat
Jerry Brown is ready for his pucker:
Shortly before California Governor Jerry Brown announced a plan to boost the state’s pay floor to $15 per hour, President Obama’s economic advisers released an ominous report warning that low-paying American jobs were particularly vulnerable to automation.The numbers aren't good, either:
The results are striking: Low-paying jobs (those paying less than $20 an hour, or under $40,000 a year for full-time workers) have an 83 percent chance of being automated. Medium-paying jobs ($20 to $40 an hour, or $40,000 to $80,000 a year) have a 31 percent chance, and high-paying ones (more than $40 an hour, or more than $80,000 a year) have only a 4 percent chance.Clearly, if high-paying jobs only have a 4 percent chance of being eliminated, the answer is to raise the minimum wage to $40/hour. I'm not sure how many available positions there are to make picket signs for a $40/hour minimum wage, either, but it seems like a lucrative enough business, especially if you head the SEIU. And, as the invaluable Walter Russell Mead reminds us, it's a scam:
Brown’s minimum wage scheme will, of course, artificially raise the cost of hiring the most at-risk workers. Though the robots are not ready to take over quite yet, an onerous wage floor only incentivizes further research into automation. This whole situation is a bizarre illustration of the layered contradictions contained in the blue coalition: anti-inequality crusaders want a radical minimum wage hike, which will likely have the effect of raising unemployment (and welfare eligibility) among economically deprived blue constituencies. Meanwhile, those most likely to benefit down the line from these kinds of moves are the socially liberal Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists, who bankroll the Democratic Party despite some of their dearly held libertarian beliefs.
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And this is but one example of how the blue model functions as an engine through which savvy wealthy people use the illusions of the Left to extract profit from the poor and working class. Other examples include: Guild protections for elite professionals that raise prices and reduce opportunity for less-credentialed workers; finance regulations that give hedge funds a leg up on less-sophisticated investors; and a constellation of higher ed regulations that enrich top administrators while impoverishing adjuncts and sending students deep into debt.Yep. It's a great world if you're part of it. But it will come to an end eventually. And it's not going to end well.