Dan Walters is a columnist at CALmatters. Reach him at .
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders boast that they’ve been helping California’s low-skill workers by raising minimum wages, writing more generous family leave policies and, in the case of farm workers, mandating an eight-hour work day.
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But there’s a raging debate among economists over whether such mandates actually help low-income, low-skill workers, or hurt them by eliminating jobs and/or curtailing working hours.
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But when you walk into this one, you immediately encounter a robotic kiosk that allows you to order your hamburger or other fast food on a touch screen, rather than verbally with a human worker at the counter.
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Faced with rising labor costs, thanks in part to a big boost in California’s minimum wage, and shortages of workers, employers throughout the state are trying to replace human labor with machines.
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Critics are pointing to a , released last June, about what happened after Seattle embarked on a similar course, comparing it to other larger cities in Washington.
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A few months later, , declaring that “California’s $15 minimum wage law will substantially increase lifetime earnings among low-income workers (and) by boosting the earnings of low-income workers, the $15 minimum wage policy will enable them to save for retirement (and) will result in a significant increase in Social Security benefits for young low-income workers, and a modest increase for mid-career low-income workers.”