July 31, 2015

Sorry, unions: Fast food kiosks are making the minimum wage debate (and some of your members) obsolete

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

It's always been true that raising the minimum wage raises unemployment, as employers are forced to fire workers they can no longer afford.

But now there's another factor to consider:

Kiosks in fast food restaurants could soon replace low wage staffers (with the advantage that machines won't get your order wrong.)

Unions love high minimum wage laws, but they should watch out:

I show how kiosks are replacing unionized public sector employees, even in left wing California.

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commented 2015-08-01 11:25:31 -0400
Maurice Potvin;
As you correctly suggest about the rise in minimum wage,“All it does is contribute to inflation.” and it is merely a symptom of inflation. The Central Banking Cabal, their ‘fractional reserve banking’ and ‘fiat currency issue’ scam are the sole cause of inflation and are what cause 30% of your paycheck to be gone before you’ve even earned it!
“…What Inflation Is
No subject is so much discussed today — or so little understood — as inflation. The politicians in Washington talk of it as if it were some horrible visitation from without, over which they had no control — like a flood, a foreign invasion, or a plague. It is something they are always promising to “fight” — if Congress or the people will only give them the “weapons” or “a strong law” to do the job.
Yet the plain truth is that our political leaders have brought on inflation by their own money and fiscal policies. They are promising to fight with their right hand the conditions brought on with their left.
Inflation, always and everywhere, is primarily caused by an increase in the supply of money and credit. In fact, inflation is the increase in the supply of money and credit…"
commented 2015-07-31 16:59:36 -0400
I don’t understand why so many on the socialist left, including trade union activists, are so bad at simple math. Raising minimum wages accomplishes absolutely nothing in the long run. It just reduces the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving the minimum wage earner no better off than they were before they started. All it does is contribute to inflation. When you raise the cost of doing business, particularly for small businesses with minimal profit margins to begin with, they are obviously going to have to raise prices to make ends meet. That raises the cost to the consumer, which reduces the purchase power of the dollar, which leaves the minimum wage earner back exactly where they started before inflation, which they helped to create by their minimum wage increase. Back in 1967 I was earning $1.98 an hour logging, which was a pretty high wage back in those days, a hell of a lot better than anything I could have made in a “high paying” factory job in town, and probably triple the minimum wage at the time. What happened? Inflation, that’s what happened. How did inflation happen? By the constant demand for higher wages, which had to be offset by rising prices to compensate for the constant increase in the cost of doing business. In short, human greed is what is responsible for inflation. Constantly increasing the minimum wage is like a mini Ponzi Scheme or MLM, it’s the ones who come in last who lose the most. Instead, what they should be looking at are ways to learn and grow on the job, creating pathways for advancement, so no one who displays dependability, competence and drive needs to remain at minimum wage too long.
commented 2015-07-31 15:45:37 -0400
Though I understand all this automation can toast jobs, I would rather deal with a machine than people.
commented 2015-07-31 15:23:36 -0400
It’s actually labour shortages, not minimum wage, driving the installation of these kiosks. Unemployment isn’t a concern when nobody wants these jobs anyway.

Nor should they. What a waste of human capital. Every economist worth his beans knows that productivity enhancing machines have long been a key towards improved quality of life and earnings. Substituting cheap labour for innovation is the lazy way out, and leaves Canada susceptible to reduced competitiveness in the future. It’s already happening – our high tech sector is a rudimentary stump compared to what it is in comparable European economies or even the good ole US of A. Being a luddite helps nobody.
commented 2015-07-31 13:57:03 -0400
Bad example on vehicle regimentation in Alberta as it is already available on line and also the Registry Offices in the province are privately owned.
commented 2015-07-31 12:31:04 -0400
For decades we have listened to Ontario Fed boss Angry Sid . . . and BC Fed boss Jim Sinclair . . . repeating the same tired 1960s Script filled with nonsense. As they aligned themselves with a “Failed” Political Philosophy called the NDP.
While many private sector union members saw the light over 2 decades ago . . . these feckless radical leaders soldiered on . . . never once questioning their Socialist Nonsense! As their numbers declined, they Merged, and their numbers declined and they Merged again . . . never once questioning their Direction or Philosophy.
In the 90s the NDP in BC oversaw the largest destruction of BC private sector Union jobs in the history of the province.
In the last decade the Ontario Fed and their McGuilty liberals have done the same in Ontario.

The Public Sector Unions are on the same road to failure . . . don’t believe me? Look at Greece, Stockton California and Detroit. Ontario has already had to bail the teachers’ pension plan out . . .

Life is tough . . . but if you are “stupid” it’s twice as tough ! ! !
commented 2015-07-31 12:17:01 -0400
but… but… I thought that raising the minimum wage would take from the pockets of greedy capitalists and put more money into the hand of workers and that nobody would change the workforce or pass on costs to consumers… lolz
commented 2015-07-31 11:35:35 -0400
“…Economics in One Lesson is an introduction to free market economics written by Henry Hazlitt and first published in 1946. It is based on Frédéric Bastiat’s essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (English: “What is Seen and What is Not Seen”).
The “One Lesson” is stated in Part One of the book:
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.
Part Two consists of twenty-four chapters, each demonstrating the lesson by tracing the effects of one common economic belief, and exposing common economic belief as a series of fallacies.
Among its policy recommendations are the advocacy of free trade, an opposition to price controls, an opposition to monetary inflation, and an opposition to stimulative governmental expenditures:
There are men regarded today as brilliant economists, who deprecate saving and recommend squandering on a national scale as the way of economic salvation; and when anyone points to what the consequences of these policies will be in the long run, they reply flippantly, as might the prodigal son of a warning father: ‘In the long run we are all dead.’ And such shallow wisecracks pass as devastating epigrams and the ripest wisdom…"
commented 2015-07-31 11:28:01 -0400
Ezra asks, “Who would support such a high minimum wage”? Well, the Communist Party of Canada is clamoring for a raise in the minimum wage. A part of the utopian platform for the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) is to raise the minimum wage to $19!
Quite an inflation considering that in early 2014 they had called for “$14 Now”:
Not surprising really as it is part of Marx and Engel’s Communist Manifesto. As far as this being a part of the Alberta NDP’s platform, as the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together”.
commented 2015-07-31 11:14:18 -0400
There are huge profits ahead for small labour input automated fast food.
One way to give big money investors in such systems confidence they will
pay off is to make sure manual workers are backstopped by laws that man-
date high wages. Worked great in the auto industry, no reason except one
that it won’t work with fast food. The fly in the ointment would be corrupt
employers using and their corrupt govt overseers permitting semi-slave
unlawful labour conditions to exist among “ethnic run” restaurant and take
out food outlets. But that would never happen in Canada, right?
commented 2015-07-31 10:38:16 -0400

Big fat gummamant wants inflation as do central bankers. Deflation is ramping folks. When oil hits 25 per barrel, Canada is in the toilet.
commented 2015-07-31 10:26:38 -0400
Several MacDonalds in Alberta have already installed the automated kiosks in their restaurants. A hike in minimum wage is definitely going to reduce entry level jobs and create higher unemployment for the youth in this country. Not just the youth though. There are still a large number of people who are limited, either by ability or geography to only minimum wage jobs. Many young people depend on these jobs for tuitions and income while advancing their education. The whole concept of increasing minimum wage has a far greater “negative” impact, than positive. Increasing minimum wage is not going to stimulate the economy, but, it definitely will increase the already growing unemployment rate.
commented 2015-07-31 10:08:46 -0400
instead reduce all taxes below 25k and even making their cpp and ui payments, socialist want companies to redistribute the industry margins. this will become more common throughout the west.
commented 2015-07-31 10:03:38 -0400
Unions cut off their noses to spite their faces! (at times) OR, they do not fully comprehend the “cause and effect” principle!
commented 2015-07-31 08:29:53 -0400
I like Thomas Sowell and Walter William’s take on minimum wage. To paraphrase, it’s a way of ensuring some people will never be able to work. If your labour will produce 11$ worth of value per hour then you might get a job at $10 an hour, but you’re unemployable at $15 an hour because you actively cost the employer money. You may improve to the point that you will be profitable for the employer later on, but in the short term hiring you is throwing money away and a huge risk to the company. It’s the same as one of the arguments made against wind power: if you need to have 100% standby capacity at all times (that you’re paying to keep ready) in case of lack of activity (the wind stops blowing, the worker leaves or stops working and someone else has to cover for them) then it’s a drain to the system instead of adding to it. In a competitive marketplace, no employer can risk giving their opponents a benefit like this. Where they can act like this is where there’s no risk because it’s backed by government – but that’s not a competitive marketplace, that’s crony capitalism.

Minimum wage laws drove black unemployment higher than white unemployment in the states because it was well known at the time that a black teen looking to start at a job would be a higher risk to be a good employee than a white teen. Not my intent to start a racist argument, they state it as a fact. Prior to minimum wage laws black youth unemployment in the US was lower than white youth unemployment, but their average wages were also different. The black youths were willing to take any jobs they could get their hands on as proof that they could and would work and because their families desperately needed the money, while some of the white youths would be pickier and willing to go without work because dad and/or mom had a good enough job to support the family. Unions in South Africa during apartheid agreed that there was a racist element to starting wage – they liked high minimum wages because it restricted the number of black workers that would be hired primarily because they generally came into the workforce with a lower skill level and a different work ethic than what employers would usually want. Once again, not my words. That’s the outlook of two prominent conservative economists.
commented 2015-07-31 08:16:23 -0400
Bill – mostly true, but it’s not just job skills that employers are looking for. “Educate yourself and get a better job” won’t mean as much if your resume shows you’ve never held a job for more than a few days at a time. Keeping an entry level job for (at least) several months means that future potential employees can be sure of several things: you will show up for work on time on a regular basis, you will stay at work for the intended shift time, and do at least a minimally competent job. You might be able to learn on the job – but there’s no guarantee of that. I do agree with your main point though, anyone who has been working for over a year and has ambition will no longer be making minimum wage, they will have enough work history and experience to be able to produce more than the minimum expectation, and will be able to either get a raise or get a better job.
commented 2015-07-31 08:10:19 -0400
Automation has always put people out of work throughout the years since the industrial age began, but like Bill says, “educate yourself and get a better job.”

Raising the minimum wage may sound like a good idea, but it will hurt the economy in lost jobs.

This NDP government is doing all the things that the other NDP governments in the other provinces have done (or in the case of Manitoba, are still doing), and each one of them have a failing economy because of their policies.

Alberta is in for a tough four years.
commented 2015-07-31 08:00:30 -0400
BTW – all the labor trends projections I have read confirm that unions and government regulation are driving industry and technology toward replacing entry level jobs with automation – after off shore business migration robotics and advanced AI automation will be the second wave of low level job killers.
commented 2015-07-31 07:57:13 -0400
Anyone who works inside and does minimal physical labor does not need a union. Want more money – educate yourself and get a better job , or better yet make your own business and compete with your old boss. There is no impediment to self-made success in this nation – except government and unions.