Thanks to a series of Democrat-fueled initiatives across the country, 18 states and 20 cities began hiking their minimum wage rates at the beginning of January. But while the left is celebrating the coming era of higher wages for entry-level workers, the early results are exactly as most sensible economists predicted they would be: Industries are slashing jobs and moving towards automation in an effort to maintain the profit margins they need to stay afloat in a competitive free market.
From Fox Business News:
Late Monday, casual dining chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB) announced that it would eliminate bus boys at 570 restaurant locations, a move that is expected to save the company an estimated $8 million over the course of the coming year. The company’s chief financial officer said the decision was made in order to “address the labor increases we’ve seen.”
“I read that as minimum wage,” Michael Saltsman, director of the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), told FOX Business. “Somebody like Red Robin, which has a lot of exposure in western states [where the minimum wage is rising faster] … this is sort of a burger and beer chain. If they can’t pass those increases off in higher prices … they have to find a way to do more with less.”
Introducing new technologies has been one way restaurants have sought to cut costs. Other chains like Chili’s and Applebee’s have replaced servers with tableside tablets for placing orders.
The liberals who embraced the Fight for $15 movement and its various offshoots have been lying to voters about the coming age of automation and the effect it will have on low-pay employment. Typically the first to rally around new technological innovations, Democrats have tried their best to pooh-pooh the Age of the Robot and what it will mean for entry-level jobs in the country. They’ve done so because they know beyond any doubt that these worker-replacing machines will be hurried to market once their minimum wage hikes are in place. And as Red Robin’s move demonstrates, this is already beginning to happen.
But even if restaurants and other industries don’t immediately move to automation, they will not simply start paying their workforces more money without making the adequate changes. They are going to get market-value work out of their employees, period, and that’s the end of the discussion. If they have to raise prices, they’ll do that. If they have to slash jobs and work their remaining employees to the bone, they’ll do that. In both instances, this will hurt the very people these wages are supposed to help.
Alas, more people on government assistance is a feature, not a bug, when it comes to Democrat policies.