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The Termination is Coming – to Make Your Burger

Ok, dear readers, prepare for some scary sci-fi.  And economics.  And paranoia…

Anyway, as you may have guessed, your humble blogger derives his living from the swampland we all lovingly refer to as California’s workers’ compensation system.  As sad a truth as it is, if workers don’t get hurt, then there are fewer peanuts in Greg’s peanut jar.

As I have long suspected, I am not alone in this situation – applicants’ attorneys, adjusters, physicians… there’s a pantheon of us in different roles that make our living from the suffering and recovery of injured workers and their financially injured employers (one way or another).

Your humble blogger has remarked before that California’s labor (including workers’ compensation) policies drive many employers out of the state, and with them go the jobs.  Well, now the talk has turned to a $15 minimum wage for (among others) fast-food workers.  And, naturally, the response is to invite the employers to leave: California’s will still want their fast food, and someone has to give it to them, so there’s nowhere to run.

Well, about that…

There are ways to avoid minimum wage, but they typically include avoiding having employees.  Meet Momentum Machines’ smart gourmet burger makerMeet the Briggo robot barristaMeet the BurritoBox.   The list goes on and on, mainly because it isn’t complete yet, with the soaring cost of labor making the expensive technology more cost-effective.  After all, it’s been twenty years since grocery stores replaced four check-out cashiers and a couple of baggers with four self-check-out stands and one technician clearing glitches.  Why wouldn’t we expect the state of Silicon Valley to replaces lots of low-skill jobs with a bunch of robots and a few highly skilled technicians managing them?

What does that mean for us?  Well, if California continues to go as it usually does, that means we can see a huge drop in the size of workers’ compensation over the next couple of decades.  Simply put, there will be fewer workers turning to the workers’ compensation system because there will be fewer workers.

What about those highly trained technicians?  Well, some of them will go on comp, sure, but most of them will race to get off comp as fast as possible, because 2/3rd of their average weekly wages would be nice, but not nearly as nice as the full paycheck.

Now, our humble blogger imagines you, at this point, staring at the screen with fear in your eyes and panic in your heart, your hand trembling over your computer mouse and your lips mouthing the words “save us Obi-Greg, you’re our only hope!”

I do have a word of advice: REVERSE THE TREND.  All of these robots and software and technology are really, really expensive.  The only reason that they are an option is because California has made really low-wage jobs very expensive too.

Workers’ compensation insurance is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  Most states have workers’ comp rates that make employers shrug, write a check, and go back to solving actual problems within their business.  In California, insurance brokers take their lives into their hands when they tell their policy-holders what this year’s rate adjustment will be.

Stop making desperate employers the target of the Department of Insurance, and target, instead, those lien claimants and applicants that are driving the employers to desperation.   It’s either that, or Skynet…

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