Biden's policies are creating jobs — for robots

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  gregtx  •  4 weeks ago  •  38 comments

By:   Merrill Matthews, Opinion Contributor (MSN)

Biden's policies are creating jobs — for robots
In the Biden era, robots are taking the jobs humans choose not to take.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Joe Biden campaigned on creating jobs, and he's doing that - just not so much for humans.

Employers are increasingly turning to robots to perform tasks humans typically do but either can't or, more likely, won't do now. At the same time, the U.S. labor force has shrunk significantly, leaving some 10 million job openings unfilled.

President Biden's policies - with the help and strong urging of progressives - are exacerbating both of those trends.

Of course, employers, in the United States and many other countries, have been automating for years. That's not new.

But that trend has dramatically increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began. According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a U.S.-based automation trade association, robot orders in the first quarter of 2021 were up 20 percent over 2020's Q1. And second quarter orders increased 67 percent over the same period in 2020.

Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, said last May, "While advances in robot technology, ease of use, and new applications remain key drivers in robot adoption, worker shortages in manufacturing, warehousing, and other industries are a significant factor in the current expansion of robot use that we're now seeing."

The need for workers across a wide swath of the economy is driving employers who weren't the typical robot purchasers to begin making the transition. According to A3, "more than half (5,530) [of Q2 orders] came from non-automotive customers as industries such [as] metals, semiconductor & electronics, plastics and rubber, food and consumer goods, and life sciences recognize the benefits of automation."

Many of the unfilled jobs are in the service sector, and that's where robots are making new inroads. Matt O'Brien and Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press (AP) write, "Improvements in robot technology allow machines to do many tasks that previously required people - tossing pizza dough, transporting hospital linens, inspecting gauges, sorting goods."

The AP story also hints at why we can tie the increased automation trend to Biden and progressive policies. "The pandemic accelerated their [robots] adoption. Robots, after all, can't get sick or spread disease. Nor do they request time off to handle unexpected childcare emergencies."

Nor, I might add, do they demand higher wages. New York Times reporter Ben Casselman wrote last July when COVID cases were declining, "Now the outbreak is ebbing in the United States, but the difficulty in hiring workers - at least at the wages that employers are used to paying - is providing new momentum for automation."

The increased use of robots is in part a response to rising labor costs. For example, President Obama's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide ObamaCare-qualified health coverage. In 2020 employers spent on average about $10,000 per covered employee or dependent.

A full-time worker making $10 an hour earns about $21,000 a year. Thus, employer-provided health coverage increases the cost of a $10/hour employee by 50 percent, to about $31,000 per year. But Biden wants to increase the minimum wage to at least $15.00/hour, and he has issued an executive order requiring federal contractors to do so by March of 2022.

Everyone likes to make more money, but arbitrarily increasing the cost of labor by imposing higher wage and benefit costs eventually makes robots an affordable alternative to humans.

While Biden's policies may be pricing potential workers out of the market, he has also passed, or is promoting, policies that make it easier not to work. From pandemic relief checks, to enhanced unemployment benefits, to child tax credits and more, Biden and progressives are making unemployment, if not profitable, at least acceptable.

Biden may have the right to require federal workers to be vaccinated (whether he should is another issue). But it's doubtful he has the authority to require federal contractors to impose a vaccine mandate. And he almost certainly doesn't have the constitutional authority to require large employers to do so.

You may think it's important for most people who can be vaccinated to take that step. So do I, with appropriate allowances for certain medical and religious exceptions, and perhaps even those who developed natural immunities.

But government-imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates may be creating more problems than they solve - especially in this highly divisive political climate. The vaccine mandates are clearly keeping some people out of the workforce at a time when the virus is receding and workers are needed more than ever.

There has been a long-running concern that robots will eventually take the jobs humans could and wanted to do. It may turn out that in the Biden era, robots are simply taking the jobs humans choose not to take.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @MerrillMatthews.


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GregTx
Sophomore Participates
1  seeder  GregTx    4 weeks ago

Always looking out for the working class.../S

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
Freshman Participates
1.1  Transyferous Rex  replied to  GregTx @1    4 weeks ago

Ironically, we were treated to an article here, that, in no uncertain terms, bragged about this. This is like a "friend" calling to bum money from you, while he is in the act of bending your wife over, and explaining how much lending him the money will benefit you. Only, in a liberal's world, it's a not a phone call, they are there live, and they refuse to admit that the dude is fucking their wife, while asking for money. 

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
1.2  SteevieGee  replied to  GregTx @1    4 weeks ago

Can a robot repair a bridge?  A highway?  Do robots replace lead pipes?  Manage our forests?  Replace inefficient windows?  Build wind turbines?  Install solar panels?  Build affordable housing?  I could go on and on.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Gordy327  replied to  SteevieGee @1.2    4 weeks ago

Give it time. Who knows? Maybe someday we'll have something like "I, Robot."

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
1.2.2  seeder  GregTx  replied to  SteevieGee @1.2    4 weeks ago

I'm sure there were many that questioned whether robots could effectively eliminate manufacturing jobs and yet....

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
1.2.3  SteevieGee  replied to  GregTx @1.2.2    4 weeks ago

There are lots of jobs that Biden wants to 'create' if Congress can just get the spending bills passed.  He's not creating any jobs for robots.  The headline is a lie.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2  Nerm_L    4 weeks ago

Way to stick it to the rich.  Let's go, Brandon!

Robots free people from the tyranny of mundane tasks and allow them to do more interesting things, like planning the next insurrection.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
2.1  MrFrost  replied to  Nerm_L @2    4 weeks ago
Way to stick it to the rich.  Let's go, Brandon!

This has been going on for decades, it's nothing new and certainly didn't start a year ago when Biden took office. 

 
 
 
Moose Knuckle
Freshman Participates
3  Moose Knuckle    4 weeks ago

Biden doesn't really have a policy. This is a guy who shit himself while visiting the pope, fell asleep in the Climate change conference and cannot mumble a coherent sentence. His cabinet should be lined up and dismissed, it's awful.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
4  Jeremy Retired in NC    4 weeks ago

My money is that these robots have "Made In China" engraved on them.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5  Gordy327    4 weeks ago

Robotic labor and other automated processes have been in use for decades. An industry will want to decrease labor and other costs while increasing productivity and profit. Robotic automation does just that. If robots are used to perform tasks that humans do not want to do, then what's the problem?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
5.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @5    4 weeks ago
Robotic labor and other automated processes have been in use for decades. An industry will want to decrease labor and other costs while increasing productivity and profit. Robotic automation does just that. If robots are used to perform tasks that humans do not want to do, then what's the problem?

Paying taxes is a task people do not want to do.

Why won't those robots function in the United States?  Why are we dependent upon automated processes in Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Mexico?

If I use an automated checkout then I am doing data entry for the retailer.  Why is my labor doing a mundane task for the benefit of the retailer of no value?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @5.1    4 weeks ago
Paying taxes is a task people do not want to do.

Thank you for stating the obvious. What's your point?

Why won't those robots function in the United States? 

You do realize some American industries utilize robotic labor, right?

Why are we dependent upon automated processes in Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Mexico?

Maybe because they produce cheaper goods and it's more cost effective for some companies to operate at those locations.

If I use an automated checkout then I am doing data entry for the retailer. 

You're simply eliminating the need for a retailer to employ a cashier for such services.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
5.1.2  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.1    4 weeks ago
Thank you for stating the obvious. What's your point?

There are a lot of things people don't want to do and robots are going to do everything.

You do realize some American industries utilize robotic labor, right?

And some don't.  Google doesn't invest in a campus for robots.

Maybe because they produce cheaper goods and it's more cost effective for some companies to operate at those locations.

How do they produce cheaper goods?  There isn't a labor cost with automation.  Are shipping costs lower to move goods from Indonesia than from Toledo?  Where's the concern over climate change?

You're simply eliminating the need for a retailer to employ a cashier for such services.

Yeah, free labor will do that.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1.3  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @5.1.2    4 weeks ago
There are a lot of things people don't want to do and robots are going to do everything.

Again, what is your point?

And some don't.  Google doesn't invest in a campus for robots.

Are you seriously trying to compare practical manufacturing with cyberverse?

How do they produce cheaper goods? 

Ask the businesses who operate overseas or the retailers who utilize imported products.

Yeah, free labor will do that.

So checking out your own purchases if giving a business free labor?

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
5.1.4  seeder  GregTx  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.3    4 weeks ago
So checking out your own purchases if giving a business free labor?

You don't think it is? Do you think that you get some fractional discount on the goods you purchased because they didn't have to employ a checkout person?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1.5  Gordy327  replied to  GregTx @5.1.4    4 weeks ago
You don't think it is? Do you think that you get some fractional discount on the goods you purchased because they didn't have to employ a checkout person?

I'm sure it benefits the business, but also the customer. One can bag their items the way they want, possibly without waiting in long lines. Especially if one has few items. So it's generally quicker and convenient for the customer. Win-win. Of course, there are cashiers too if one prefers.

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
5.1.6  seeder  GregTx  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.5    4 weeks ago
I'm sure it benefits the business, but also the customer.

Perhaps, but it mainly benefits the business.

One can bag their items the way they want,

I've never had any issues with telling a bagger how I want my stuff bagged. 

possibly without waiting in long lines. Especially if one has few items. So it's generally quicker and convenient for the customer. Win-win. Of course, there are cashiers too if one prefers.

Those long lines are generally due to there being only 3 out of 13 registers open. Does that benefit the business or the customer?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1.7  Gordy327  replied to  GregTx @5.1.6    4 weeks ago
Perhaps, but it mainly benefits the business.

Yes, and? Businesses are generally looking out for their own best interests.

I've never had any issues with telling a bagger how I want my stuff bagged. 

Assuming there's a bagger. 

Those long lines are generally due to there being only 3 out of 13 registers open. Does that benefit the business or the customer?

You have an option then: self check or wait in line.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
5.1.8  charger 383  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.7    4 weeks ago

self checkout just makes me mad at the store

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
5.1.9  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.3    4 weeks ago
So checking out your own purchases if giving a business free labor?

Yes, automated check out is giving the business free labor.  The automated checkouts are replacing business employees who did the same task using similar automated equipment.  The automated checkouts are not deploying new automation; they are only requiring customers to do the labor that business employees did before.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1.10  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @5.1.9    4 weeks ago

You have a choice to not use automation automated check outs then if you're so opposed to free labor. Stores still use cashiers. Or shop elsewhere. problem solved.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
5.1.11  Nerm_L  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.10    4 weeks ago
You have a choice to not use automation automated check outs then if you're so opposed to free labor. Stores still use cashiers. Or shop elsewhere. problem solved.

That accurately describes what I do.  I will go to the big box and order things, when I can, instead of buying on the internet, too.

Jobs are more important than automation.  Automation benefits the stock holders; jobs benefit people.  I can live without Wall Street but I can't live without people to help me when I need it.  So, I should help them when they need it.  And ensuring that the job is important and necessary helps people.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.1.12  Gordy327  replied to  Nerm_L @5.1.11    4 weeks ago

You do you then.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
5.1.13  MrFrost  replied to  Nerm_L @5.1.11    4 weeks ago
Jobs are more important than automation.

I agree but that's not the world we live in. When big corporations get massive tax breaks, they aren't going to pass the breaks on to workers, they WILL invest it in automation to increase their profits by cutting down on the number of employees. Capitalism, pure and simple. 

The the right wonders why the left screams when big business is given even more tax breaks. 

512

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
Freshman Participates
5.2  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Gordy327 @5    4 weeks ago

I don't disagree with the general tone Gordy. The link I gave above goes directly to an article shared on NewsTalkers, where the author is not simply talking automation of jobs that workers don't want to perform. Instead, he is praising "Bidenomics" for setting in motion a ball that will increase unwillingness to work, except for higher paying jobs, which will, in turn, increase demand for workers, further driving up salaries. All this allowing workers to hold out for higher paying jobs, giving them "power", only to see it taken away because employers will make the sensible choice to go with economically friendly automation, over high wage living/breathing workers. Who does such a scheme benefit ultimately? This is a "give a man a fish" moment. Or, maybe this is akin to pissing down a person's back, and calling it rain. Either way, they are not celebrating increased productivity, they are literally telling people that the increase in earnings will be short lived, as workers will ultimately be replaced by automation. What then? More govt. checks, I assume. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.2.1  Gordy327  replied to  Transyferous Rex @5.2    4 weeks ago

Automation is likely to increase or replace workers anyway, especially if it's more cost effective for an industry to do so. It's just a matter of how much and how soon.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
Freshman Participates
5.2.2  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Gordy327 @5.2.1    4 weeks ago

But, that doesn't explain the chest beating about Bidenomics. If it is a given that automation will eventually happen, then Bidenomics has nothing to do with it, apart from hastening it, according to the linked article. "All praise Biden, who has given you a fish today, while he hastens the automation of your job with his policy choices." Is it better for the US and our economy for a person to make less than they might believe they are worth at a job, or for that person to be drawing funds from taxpayers, while they sit at the house because a machine is now performing the job they thought they weren't being paid enough to perform?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.2.3  Gordy327  replied to  Transyferous Rex @5.2.2    4 weeks ago
But, that doesn't explain the chest beating about Bidenomics.

I don't get it either.

Is it better for the US and our economy for a person to make less than they might believe they are worth at a job, or for that person to be drawing funds from taxpayers, while they sit at the house because a machine is now performing the job they thought they weren't being paid enough to perform?

That has as much to do with social policies as it does with economical one. But neither are so simple.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
Freshman Participates
5.2.4  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Gordy327 @5.2.3    4 weeks ago

Social and economic policies may not be simple, but the question is. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
5.2.5  Gordy327  replied to  Transyferous Rex @5.2.4    4 weeks ago

The answer is not simplistic.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago

Merrill Matthews is the name of the person who wrote the oped in the seed. 

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Institute for Policy Innovation

The   Institute for Policy Innovation   (IPI) is a free-market policy think tank that focuses on issues related to economic growth, innovation, limited government and individual liberty. Thanks for visiting!

==================================================================

Before I did a search, I wasnt sure that the "Institute For Policy Innovation" was a pro business think tank but I sure as hell assumed it was. 

The somewhat hidden message of the seeded article is that workers, particularly in the service industry shouldnt have been stupid enough to ask for more money. You are a peon, a serf, and be happy that "industry" was willing to pay you the lowest possible wage, because if you complain even a little you will be replaced by a robot. We have been hearing this for years from the fast food industry. 

Now it is supposedly Bidens fault because he somehow encouraged people to stop being wage slaves. 

The author of the seed is a flack for low wage industry. He should go out and find an honest way to make a living instead. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
7  Perrie Halpern R.A.    4 weeks ago

OK some food for thought.

Robots cost money. Not a little money, but a huge investment. Right now the only place that is trying one is Krogers warehouse. It's way to expensive for even Amazon, hence why they still use humans and paying them between $12-25 an hour with the average falling out between $15-18/hourly

Robot production, just like car production, even automated, means new jobs.

From pandemic relief checks, to enhanced unemployment benefits, to child tax credits and more, Biden and progressives are making unemployment, if not profitable, at least acceptable.

Those were started under Trump. It is only acceptable if that is how someone wants to live and those people have always existed. 

 
 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
7.1.1  MrFrost  replied to  GregTx @7.1    4 weeks ago

US Unemployment rate has dropped significantly since Biden took office. 

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
 
 
Thrawn 31
PhD Guide
7.1.3  Thrawn 31  replied to  GregTx @7.1.2    4 weeks ago

I do t think it’s curious at all. People don’t want to do shitty jobs for shitty pay. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
PhD Guide
8  Thrawn 31    4 weeks ago

Automation is the future, end of story. Doesn’t matter who is president or what political party has power. The fact of the matter is robots are getting better and better and everything, they can work 24/7, only need routine maintenance and don’t call out sick, take vacation, have kids etc. They do a job without complaint, do it exactly the same way every time and over time you get an insane return on your initial investment. 

Right now they are only really useful in manufacturing, but self check outs at the grocery store and gas station and the initial wave of them moving into every other facet of the labor force. It is only a matter of time, and not a very long time to be honest.

Trying to politicize automaton is something only retards do.

 
 
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