James White NorthWest Liberty News December 4, 2018
Our readers have no doubt heard plenty over the past few years about the leftist-driven “Fight for $15” campaign to pressure federal, state and local governments to artificially increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Doing so would disrupt our nation’s market economy and dramatically increase labor costs for businesses both small and large. In localities where the the pressure campaign has already achieved victories to start increasing the minimum wage in steps toward $15, we have already seen businesses respond by laying off or hiring fewer workers, cutting hours of retained employees or passing along the cost increase via higher prices for goods and services.
One other means to cope with the artificially increased labor costs is to eschew them altogether via automation — the use of computers or robots to do simple tasks previously relegated to entry-level, minimum wage-earning employees. It’s a development that had been steadily growing over decades but has been kicked into overdrive in recent years.
Bloomberg reported that the nation’s largest retail outlet, Walmart, just announced its latest move to reduce labor costs — though it likely won’t be billed that way — by virtue of a fleet of 360 new “custodial” robots that will autonomously clean the floors of their stores, even while customers continue to shop around them.