It’s time to tell liberals “we told you so.” Again.
Zero Hedge reports that Leonard Comma, CEO of the restaurant chain Jack in the Box, has announced that the company is considering the possibility of replacing cashiers at its California locations with automated kiosks.
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The move would be a direct response to the state hiking its minimum wage, which is projected to reach $15 per hour by 2022. “As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense,” Comma explained. As TFPP recently reported, one study predicts that the wage hike will eliminate 400,000 private-sector jobs in the state, with the food service and retail industries being the hardest hit.
Further, Zero Hedge goes on to detail, Jack in the Box is far from the only business currently weighing this decision:
18 states are raising minimum wage in 2018, including California, with the Golden State scheduled to be the first to hit $15.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s and Wendy’s have been testing automation to reduce labor costs. McDonald’s is adding 2,500 kiosks to its stores, while Wendy’s unveiled plans last February to install self-ordering kiosks at 1,000 restaurants – 16% of its locations nationwide […]
Wendy’s chief information officer, David Trimm, said the kiosks are intended to appeal to younger customers and reduce labor costs. Kiosks also allow customers of the fast food giant to circumvent long lines during peak dining hours while increasing kitchen production.
“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” then Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider in 2016. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.”
And yesterday at CES, Pizza Hut announced a driverless delivery concept vehicle straight out of Demolition Man (the non-US version of the movie).
As TFPP has explained many, many times before, all of this is exactly what anyone with actual economic literacy would have predicted. Exploring every possible way to reduce costs is a necessity of any business, and from mechanized factories to touch screens that take fast food orders, technology has developed numerous cheaper alternatives to flesh-and-blood workers.
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In the face of progress’s march, it should be obvious that the cost of human labor matters tremendously to unemployment. Yet so many left-wing policies, from insurance mandates to minimum wage hikes, simply make it more expensive to hire people (all in the name of those people’s well-being, of course). Far from ensuring a living wage, this only creates incentives to lay off old workers and decline to hire new ones.
Contrast all of this with another recent political development, something the very same people who promote job-killing minimum wage hikes screamed was a giveaway to the rich that would decimate working-class Americans: the tax reform package enacted at the end of 2017 by the Republican Congress and President Donald Trump. As TFPP covered just a few days ago, over a hundred businesses, large and small alike, have announced so far that they will be using the money they can now keep to fund bonuses, raises, and benefit increases for their employees.
On Wednesday, TFPP also reported that millions of Americans can also expect a reduction in their utility rates as a direct result of the tax cuts.
We are currently in the middle of a remarkable political moment. We have two economic policies being implemented before our very eyes, each with diametrically opposed results for the common man — yet one side of the aisle continues to insist that the results are the opposite of reality. We have before us a perfect opportunity to strike a blow agains the Democrats’ viability as a national party … if, that is, Republicans are wise enough to seize it.
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