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TGIF –June 30, 2017.

June 30, 2017

Here are more stories not headlining the six o’clock news.

High minimum wage curtails opportunity.

The advocates for a $15 minimum wage just hit a speed bump.

The Washington Post (yeah, WaPo) published a piece detailing the results of a study on small Seattle, Washington employers forced to pay a $15 starting wage and how that legislation negatively impacted total employment numbers for the employer group studied.

The article does a reasonable job of presenting both sides of the argument.

Predictably, those “experts” in favor of the higher minimum wage debunked it, but such informal unbiased peer reviews as the study has received do not feel it is an outlier, at least for the business group studied.

The net conclusion is that opportunities for getting into the workforce at the lowest levels have been severely compromised.

Businesses are essentially saying that if they have to pay a skilled or experienced labor rate, they will simply demand a more skilled, experienced  worker.

That’s devastating for young people trying to enter the job market for the first time, and highlights why apprenticeship programs may become increasingly important in the future.

The other unintended consequence is that the higher minimum wage makes full automation much more attractive financially.

The downside of guaranteed incomes.

It’s just bea-u-tiful. In order to realize their dream of a world full of robots with pet humans, it seems that Elon Musk and that Facebook guy, Zuckerberg, want to make sure that as they become even richer than they are now, we don’t notice the bad side of automation.

Their argument is that within well less than 20 years, 40% of all jobs will be performed by robots operating on artificial intelligence. Therefore, we don’t have any choice but to give everyone an allowance in the hopes we won’t notice what’s happening until the trend is too far along to stop it.

This isn’t a new idea, but the sheer cost has kept it a sci-fi pipe dream up to now. Now that human labor costs are rising far faster than productivity, that is changing, and rapidly.

Maybe their human creators see robots and driverless vehicles as a good thing environmentally. After all, according to them, humans are the reason the planet is screwed up. What would the world need with so many humans if 40% are superfluous to the operation of the planet?

Robotics is a technological miracle, but it pays to consider the world of self-driving cars, driverless 18-wheelers and robotic maids a bit more deeply.

For instance.  What happens as we humans keep breeding and the pet human population gets out of hand?

Well, what happens when animal pets get too costly to maintain? We control their ability to breed, or eliminate them.

This is a legislative and legal  area that we should be looking at now, before the AI human substitutes get smart enough to figure out the solution for themselves. Oh wait. They’re already that smart.

Just sayin’.

Surprise! It’s OK for POTUS to protect us.

In unanimous 9-0 ruling (known as a stay pending certiorari) the Supreme Court upheld the general right of this or any President to enact a countrywide ban on immigration from some countries in the name of national security.

While this is not the Court’s final word on the subject, pending hearing full arguments in the fall session, the President is rightly happy about the Court’s ability to read the Constitution.

In addition, by temporarily adding protections for persons with verifiable job offers or familial ties to persons in the U.S., the Court effectively removed several of the plaintiffs from the opposition’s roster.

The additional comments on the  the decision, penned by Justice Thomas,  rightly note that certain terms are not sufficiently clear so as to forestall “a flood” of litigation over what constitutes legitimate family ties, or what a “job offer” might be construed to be under the relief from the injunctions.

For instance, if a person is invited to come to the U.S. for what amounts to a job interview, is that a “legitimate” job offer?  Are the so-called “fiancé visas” a familial tie, when the two parties are not yet married? SCOTUS didn’t provide that level of guidance.

Whatever, for the time being, chalk up one for American national security.

Hopefully the President, now that he at least has a full Cabinet in place, will be able to craft his executive orders with a lot more care in the future.

From → op-ed

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