President Obama is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage, and some states are also considering increases. My guess is House Republicans will block it, but if they cave it will be good for the companies that make robots and also touch-screen self-checkout computers. Raise the minimum wage high enough, and you'll be the one punching in that order yourself at the Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's drive-through or counter.
There's more to say about this, and I plan to come back to it again soon at greater length, but in the meantime here is Daniel Mitchell's column, complete with cartoons.
And here is Bryan Caplan debunking Peter Thiel's suggestion that a higher minimum wage might make sense to counter the incentives of excessively generous welfare benefits. Mr. Caplan writes:
When the minimum wage causes involuntary unemployment, raising welfare can serve as a band-aid for the labor market. Workers deprived of the right to provide for themselves can subsist on government money. Yet when welfare convinces people to abandon honest toil, raising the minimum wage is noband-aid. Instead, raising the minimum wage salts the wounds. The reason, to repeat: While a higher minimum wage does indeed make workers more eager to work, it also automatically makes employers less eager to hire.
I have great respect for Peter Thiel, but his concession to minimum wage advocates is confused. While some inefficient policies can offset the effects of other inefficient policies, the minimum wage is not such a policy. It doesn't matter if welfare is high, low, or non-existent. The minimum wage causes unemployment by making marginal workers unprofitable to employ.
The comments string on Mr. Caplan's article is also high-quality and worth a look if you are interested in the minimum wage issue.