At long last, our federal government is beginning to acknowledge how drastically the country’s job market is going to change over the next decade. In their new annual economic report, the White House confirms that there is an 83% chance that jobs paying less than $20 an hour will soon be taken over by machines. Furthermore, there is a 31% chance that jobs paying between $20 and $40 an hour will also go to robots in the near future.
The White House report says that the findings prove that there is a need for more training and education to help Americans who have been pushed out of a job by automation.
That much is obvious, but this is also a call for Democrats to abandon their push for a higher federal minimum wage. Artificially hiking wages is a bad idea in the first place, but it is especially dangerous at a time when low-skilled workers are facing possible extinction. The technology is improving and the costs are plummeting. Once businesses can retrofit their companies with robots at a lower cost than the minimum wage, it’s game over for unskilled labor in the United States. And while there probably is no way to prevent that from happening, we can at least make sure we have enough time to prepare. By forcing businesses to pay these workers a wage that isn’t supported by the market, Democrats are only accelerating the technological revolution.
But don’t expect them to care. In fact, what could be better for their ideological purposes than to have half the country unemployed? In a matter of a few years, we will redefine what it means to be a welfare state. Already, there are liberals pushing for the introduction of a “basic income”: a baseline $30,000 (or so) salary paid to each and every American adult. Where does this money come from? What does our country look like when most people aren’t working? If our politicians don’t get a handle on this soon, we’re going to find out.
Which is why, incidentally, it’s important to start electing politicians who are technologically literate. We’ve been far too forgiving of candidates like Hillary Clinton, who act as though they are incapable of learning how to use a computer. That’s just not okay anymore. Our world is changing fast, and we need leaders who have a basic understanding of the new landscape. Sadly, looking at the field of candidates on both sides, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen this year.