Automating what jobs, exactly?
Most minimum wage jobs are physical labor that would be very hard to automate.
Ever see one of those automatic checkout lines? A Walmart is open 16hrs a day, 7 days a week. That's 112 manhours/week one of those replaces, which is nearly 3 fulltime jobs per machine. You can actually see all the jobs that aren't there anymore by looking at the empty checkout aisles. Those were only built because they were expected to be manned, and now most are empty.
There used to be a job in every Lays factory where they picked out all the bad looking potato chips. Now the send the patato chips flying down a conveyor belt at 50 mph, off a ramp, into the air, use image recognition to determine which chips are bad, and air jets to push down the bad ones so they can't make the jump. About 2 people operate the entire factory.
And I could go on and on.
But automation isn't even necessary. Basically, every additional manhour increases a companies revenue by less and less (just like any resource, there are diminishing returns). Currently, a company will assign an additional hour of work up until it doesn't make more profit (roughly, at wage/hour = revenue/hour). If we increase the minimum wage, we increase the minimum revenue threshold for a company to assign hours of work, reducing hours.
And the people harmed most by this? The poorest of the working poor, those with the least skills, skills that they could learn by working on the job that they now don't have. And worse, now those higher paying jobs are more attractive to people who would normally not take them, artificially increasing the skills required.
As for physical labor itself, it's getting automated all the time. Better tools, prefabs, etc, all contribute to this.
But most damning of all is where automation isn't
, you'll find all the illegal immigrants working for below minimum wage. Why? because the value of the job is below (or very near) minimum wage, so either the manager needs to automate, or break the law. See, illegal immigrants aren't actually stealing many jobs. Minimum wage laws
Here I was talking about it previously:
The $15 dollar minimum wage is a great way to put small businesses out of business as well, especially when they are struggling with the pandemic. But also any
minimum wage is a bad idea that harms the poor. For example, even a meta study done by a minimum wage proponent found that 80% of min wage studies found an employment loss
. And the study finds that this is compounded when looking at low wage jobs and low education workers. And most min wage hikes are nowhere as severe as this hike.
That meta study is very good, as it also shows that the minimum wage is harsher for people the poorer they are.