Tuesday, June 03, 2014

"Open the microwave door, HAL..."

In a sweeping move to incentivize the development of burger-flipping robots, Seattle has jacked the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is going to be phased in gradually and will apply to big businesses first, because everybody knows that size is evil and must be mocked and punished, whether it's in corporations, SUVs, or the kid with the Star Wars lunchbox on the playground.

The only things that should be allowed to be big are things that let us feel virtuous, like whales, redwoods, or government!

Franchisees will apparently be punished along with their corporate overlords. It doesn't matter if you only own the one storefront and have five employees, counting your wife and kid, Mr. Subway: You're the face of Big Sandwich, and you're getting both barrels of our faux-proletariat parlor revolutionary outrage, right alongside your masters in Bridgeport. #OccupyFiveDollarFootLongs!

Well, Seatllites, get ready for long(er) checkout lines. In retrospect, though, it's not like you couldn't see this coming.

As a homework assignment, I'm off to find out how many people on the city council there have ever had to make a payroll or even fill out an employee schedule.
.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

This country is going to "feel good" itself out of existence...

davek

staghounds said...

Clearly the City Council are one percenters, it should have been $50 an hour.

og said...

Already been done on a small scale. Here's the prototype video.

http://youtu.be/9NHvSivLwyw

Manitowoc decided to try to integrate robots to fryers back in the early 80's, and it ended up being much easier to make a simple mechanism, very rare for any kind of restaurant to have "manual" fryers anymore. Think it takes smarts to flip a burger? we're less than a generation away from unmanned fast food.

This is why we HAAAAVE to have open boarders. Who wants to work for less than minimum wage? But we need to make sure we don't impose difficult restrictions on those people if they want to VOTE.

What blinding stupidity.

TheMinuteman said...

I got to see video from the city council meeting with the dumb socialist bimbo. Frankly Seattle is going to get exactly what it deserves. They decided to follow SeaTac down this road, and SeaTac is already discovering how horribly wrong it is going.

I did point out to the wife there is one hidden benefit to this. It proves exactly how bad minimum wages actually are economically. Instead of just slowly turning up the heat they're tossing boiling water in. Let the lessons begin.

TheMinuteman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheMinuteman said...

Yeah watching the video from the council meeting was rage inducing last night. Doubly so with the dumb socialist bimbo.

I did however spot a silver lining last night. This is adding so much fuel to the fire so quickly it's going to expose quite well exactly what minimum wage laws do economically. They're already learning that in SeaTac where they did it first. They were actually trying to wave Seattle off because it's obvious it's going to be a charlie foxtrot.

I will say this I think also is largely brewing from the rapid rise of inflation that supposedly isn't there and people have felt their buying power drop but nothing is fixing it. This is what happens when your government prints money folks, blame them, not the businesses who are also getting screwed by inflation equally.

Anonymous said...

Worked in Seattle for 15 years at a very interesting job; retired in 2001 and left ASAP The libtard voting block in Seattle controls the politics of the state and their newly minted socialist council woman is just one of their many, many head cases.
macvs2

Anonymous said...

Seattle will soon be following Austin, TX.

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/02/liberal-austin-homeowners-surprised-to-find-they-have-to-pay-all-the-taxes-they-voted-for/

Gerry

Paul said...

I used to think the pacific north west might be a good place to relocate to. Not so much anymore.

Anonymous said...

About that statue of Lenin...If "they" espouse socialistic ways...why don't they donate the metal chunk to the city? I mean if "we" own everything then how dare you try to make money off of that statue! Seems kinda capitalistic to me...
Steve

LCB said...

My brother used to be in management for a local chain of Mickey D's. They have a formula for how much they charge. 50% is employee costs, building and hardware costs, utilities, etc. 30-35% is food costs and paperware costs (cups, etc.) 20% sounds like a lovely profit...until you realize that you have to pump a big part of that back in to the buisness. Each franchise, for example, is expected to help pay for regional advertisement.

So...double the cost of your employees won't exactly double the cost of the burgers. But it's gonna cause them to zoom up.

RevolverRob said...

Seattle is getting what it deserves - Future bankruptcy. I imagine this will eventually prompt moves by major business out of Seattle proper and the long slow-decline of the PNW will begin (Portland is not much better).

Love that Austin article - "Replace Texas property tax with Texas sales tax." Texas already has one of the highest sales tax rates in the country. One more percent and Austin, Texas will be equivalent with Chicago, IL and is currently 2% higher than Boston,"Tax"achusetts.

To go more off topic - Austin could have avoided a rapid raise in property tax, if they'd had their act together and voted to build a light rail with sales tax (what the cities of Dallas and Houston did years ago), when it was first proposed (more than a decade ago). But instead they refused to believe that Austin needed a better public transit infrastructure - Despite the 500,000 people that commute to the same 4 square miles everyday from August-May. And waited until pollution and traffic jams rose to near L.A. like levels before screaming to the city council, "We need a light rail system!". Then they built the stupidest one ever. Frankly, after 8 years in Austin, I am happy to leave this place.

-Rob

Anonymous said...

So what will the cost of a Starbucks coffee be when these changes take effect?

Not that I or anyone I know ever drinks such over-hyped, over-priced coffee.

Al_in_Ottawa

Old NFO said...

Counting down to closures and businesses moving out of town in three... two...

CarlosT said...

My expectation is many of these places will simply close as they will not be able to operate profitably. Seattle then becomes exclusively the land of the $20 burger. Then the same people who voted for a $15 minimum wage will complain about how Seattle's cost of living is out of reach of the middle class. Something must be done.

Rob K said...

Automation always advances when labor is expensive. In the past, it's normally been because people were scarce, not because of government price fixing.

Scout26 said...

New motto for Seattle:

"We're gonna make Detroit look good."


Also it sounds like dying in a car crash was the smartest thing Mr. Carpenter did.

LibertyNews said...

This is a good thing for the local economy. We should see a boom in businesses moving outside the city limits.

Phil said...

The upside is the inevitable lawsuit by every federal employee making less than than a GS-5 salary.

BillB said...

I predict a ring of fast food outlets just outside the city limits

B5K said...

And this is why I hate living here. All praise bepto our glorious comrade Socialist city councilwoman...you know, the same one who told the May Day anarchists that the Seattle Police were the true criminals?

I need to start my own country.

Sidheshooter said...

As an aside, that statue of Lenin really is something. At different times, it's been adorned with lights, dressed in drag, and had a pig's head hung from chain around its neck in a clear plastic bag. The pig head was there for a while; it rotted and decayed into a black mass inside that bag over the course of a couple of months.

tailwind said...

If Seattle City Council really wanted to address income inequality, they would have also voted for a maximum wage in Seattle.

Looks like someone will have to dust off the old "Will the last person leaving SEATTLE - please turn out the lights" billboard:

http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/2009/02/01/2008696239.jpg

Robert said...

The interview I saw of one low level employee in SEATAC said "Yeah, I got $15 an hour now, but now I have to pay for parking, don't get free food anymore, or overtime, etc. etc."

Ron said...

I live in the Seattle metro area.
Robert's comment, above, is dead on. Can't find the article right now, but Seatac did this recently, and the workers who 'benefited' from the hike are all finding out what the term 'unintended consequences' means. Loss of benefits, loss of tips (guess what, a $15/hour wage means you don't get tipped once the diner sees what the meal costs) - virtually everyone who got a raise agrees that this was bad.

Seattle will be far worse. Seatac is tiny and most of it's jobs were either service or technical, and so businesses could offset the loss in other ways. In Seattle, businesses that heavily use minimum wage jobs are going to disappear. And there goes the tax base. Of course, many of these are places that provide infrastructure for larger businesses, which now will have fewer reasons to stay...and will be facing higher taxes as the openly socialist idiots in charge try to offset their losses by soaking larger firms.

I imagine Amazon.com, Starbucks, and many others are pricing office space on the east side about now.

Kristophr said...

Off topic: Larry Corriea is pimp-slapping the snot out of a Guardian journo on his blog right now ...

SJ said...

"Open the microwave doors, HAL."

"I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that. There are City regulations in effect..."

Chas Clifton said...

Since the full raise will phase in over seven years for small businesses, by that time it probably will have been largely eaten up by inflation.

Patti said...

I work in downtown Seattle and commute an hour+ to and from on the bus. The overwhelming tone of the professionals commuting with me is that if the min wage is going to go up then shouldn't their wage go up as well? One paralegal was telling me that she earns $15/hour with no benefits now, so why should she bother to have a professional job when burger flipping pays the same, has fewer responsibilities, and there's no chance of her being forced to work unpaid overtime? It's a valid question, especially when lower-pay professional jobs are normally more attractive than burger flipping because they offer more money per hour.

What I want to know is how the pay spread is going to change in the larger companies. When the receptionist is now earning what the secretary earned the secretary's pay needs to be bumped up, then the manager's pay needs to be bumped and so on up the line. From what I've seen though it's the middle ranks where the pay increase will either get squished or disappear altogether. Some of the major companies who fill entire buildings in downtown are going to have to deal with this and, as I'm currently job hunting in the area for a middle ranked job, it has a direct effect on if I look for a job in Seattle or not.

wheelgun said...

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/07/17/robots-fast-food-jobs/

As if the technology isn't there already.

Tam said...

Future City Council Lament: "Unintended Consequences, how do they work?"

tailwind said...

Those unintended consequences were quite unexpected, I suppose.

The Jack said...

But this time our good intentions were pure enough to keep away those evil consequences!

Ah, least Robo-Americans will do well. They are this nation's future.

perlhaqr said...

"Fauxletariat"?

Rob K said...

"I for one welcome our new robotic fast food overlords!"

This is starting to feel like a slashdot post!

Adrian K said...

We'll see. Labor markets are not entirely inelastic. I'm curious to see if it means that better employees go in to the city for the high-pay openings that are available. Weed out the lazy-ass kids that they scrape the bottom of the barrel with now, and I can have actual adults taking care of my order.

Anonymous said...

Seattle's cost of living is already out of reach of the middle class. Near as I can tell, the buy-in for a house in a non-combat zone is around $500K to $800K. The Boeing company has decided to move all engineering positions to other parts of the country. The only things propping this place up are Microsoft and Amazon (admittedly though, those ARE pretty big props), and the massive property taxes that accrue to a city free of effort when they artificially force the price of housing up through their "densification" techniques of refusing permits for low-(tax) value properties, and force developers to build high-rises with businesses on the first floor if they want to get a permit. Seattle is not unique in this respect. All the big "blue" (socialist) cities are doing this.

Seattle is fully committed to the national "densification initiative" being promoted by our "betters" - that of high density housing (can you say Soviet-style block housing? Thought so), low-vehicle (car) accessibility, and high transportation costs, both in time and money, to force the proletariat out of their cars and into public transit. They have been actively creating road and highway restrictions through "Traffic Calming" (look it up), and now, the latest, is a technique that IIRC, is called "Traffic Diets", one of the techniques of which is to build a sidewalk curb out to the lane of traffic at bus stops, so that when the bus stops, everyone stops.

This latest move to a $15/hour minimum wage is not only predictable, but when it fails, they will most definitely double down on it, because the bugs are features to them. In this town BIG BUSINESS (all businesses not owned by a left-wing nutter) is evil.

Remember - this is the town that voted in Baghdad Jim McDermott, by giving him over 80% of the vote. The same guy who took a half a mil from Saddam Hussein in illegal campaign contributions, and refused to give it back, and regularly votes to the left of Bernie Sanders, the only (admitted) socialist in the US House of Reprehensibles.

What'll happen? Simple. Safeway must have seen this coming a LONG way back, because they already have at least four automated checkout stations at our local store that take cash or credit cards, and after certain hours, it's almost impossible to get a checker. I expect more checkers to get cashiered, and if Safeway can buy auto-cashiers, everybody else can too, along with auto-ordering kiosks.

BSR

Anonymous said...

Adrian said: "Weed out the lazy-ass kids that they scrape the bottom of the barrel with now, and I can have actual adults taking care of my order."

Never happen. Fast Food is low margin. No profit, and the business closes. Franchises are especially vulnerable. Why even try to open just one in a stupid city like Seattle and SEA-TAC are proving to be, when you can open a dozen in a smart town with actual business somewhere in Texas? Happens all the time. If your city sucks, business does NOT have to be there.

And then there's this - all over Europe, fast-food outfits are going full-automation. Not only no "lazy-ass kids", but no adults either.

BSR

staghounds said...

Actually it's pretty funny. The Council gets the credit from ignorant voters for raising the wage, and from businesses for raising the wage in 7 years, when $15 will probably be the Federal minimum wage anyway.

Ken said...

The same socialist bimbo called on Boeing workers to take over the plant so they could stop building weapons and build buses instead.

I don't even want to get started on "densification." James Howard (hawk ptooey) Kunstler has been on about the New Urbanism for years. That and his Gary Stu "World Made by Hand" novels....

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Well, we needed someplace to pioneer a new iteration of the automat before the federal minimum wage gets high enough to drive current fast food restaurants out of business.

Sigivald said...

"At their head, the motley tribe of fools. They lead in everything, carrying the keys, opening the doors, inventing phrases, wailing when they are wrong and assuring you that they would never have believed that this or that could happen."

Boyd Rice is an (arguably quasi-fascist) asshole, but sometimes he really gets a good quote in.

And that one is apt.

People who knew basic economics have pointed out over and over that a minimum wage that exceeds the market clearing wage destroys jobs and marginal businesses, exactly to the proportion it exceeds that market wage.

And the fools continue to ignore that - and then, when it comes to pass, say nobody told them, or to blame it on a Nefarious Other or some other excuse.

Brad K. said...

I think there are two important dynamics at work, here.

First, raising the minimum wage is shown to be a strong engine of social change. It forces minorities and young people out of the work force. If you want to keep those uppity "other" folk from distracting your everyday business activities -- force everyone to raise the minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage also forces lots of folks into unregulated, under the table jobs and plain old fashioned crime, which is good for business -- if your business is corruption, buying votes, or running drugs and other contraband.

Then there is the human trafficking thing. See. there is a major flow of undocumented aliens, some of them willing, from China and other Asian countries through Canada down into the US. Since they enter the US under the table, companies -- and city councils -- that take advantage of those that cannot depend on legal remedies for abuse and exploitation, well those on top can take full advantage. Raising the minimum wage for the "competition" just bumps the cash flow up a bit, and simplifies the business.

And, don't forget -- raising the minimum wage will raise prices, and force the low-class, low-income "undesirables" out of town -- leaving the streets clear for right-thinking, genetically superior (wealthy) folks that won't notice if their rent soars from $20,000 month to $22,000 a month.

I suppose the impulse is less about racial purity, and more about . . uh, whatever. But it might also be a step toward those that Obama attracted with views to reducing the US population by 2/3rds. Quickly.

Funny, Occupy Wall Street hasn't chimed in yet, one way or the other. I would have thought pricing people out of their jobs and homes would have raised some social ire.

Ken said...

Can you still say that Baptists and bootleggers make strange bedfellows when you catch them in bed together three times a week?

Steve Skubinna said...

I live across Puget Sound from Seattle, and love rural WA. And being able to run into Seattle or Tacoma (home of Bull's Eye Shooting Supply) or Olympia (which makes Berkeley look like 1940's Berlin) is fun.

But outside the corridor from Oly to Everett Washington is populated by pretty decent folks, of the sort you'd be happy to live near. If somebody's home alarm goes off where I live, the company calls the numbers on the list before local law enforcement. And a half dozen armed neighbors drop by to check things out. Anybody trying to load a van of stuff is going to find himself in a version of those R. Lee Ermey Glock commercials.