By Ed Straker

Liberals are right when they say increases in the minimum wage don’t cost jobs.  Just look at, which has created 45,000 jobs for robots.

The company said this week that it has 45,000 “robotic units” operating in 20 distribution centers working with people to fill and ship customer orders.

The number is up 50 percent from the 30,000 bots that Amazon reported across 13 fulfillment centers in the third quarter of 2015.

That was an increase from 15,000 bots in 10 warehouses at the end of 2014.

Even as human employment rises at Amazon, the bots are gaining ground. The number of bots as a ratio of Amazon’s total human workforce has risen to approximately 14 percent, using Amazon’s most recent figures for the end of this year – up from about 10 percent at the end of 2014 and 13.4 percent in the third quarter of 2015.

While Amazon has not explicitly linked the increase in mechanization to increases in the minimum wage in many stages, the linkage is obvious.

If it were cheaper for Amazon to use people, it would.

Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages in the country, at $11 per hour.

California will raise its wage to $10.50 for businesses with 26 or more employees [soon to rise to $15]. New York state is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, $10 in its downstate suburbs and $9.70 elsewhere.

Liberals tell us not to worry about jobs going to “undocumented” workers.  Perhaps we should not be concerned about jobs migrating to “inorganic” workers as well.  The next step, of course, will be a guaranteed “minimum income” for all the people out of work.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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