Innovation increases productivity. And that's good. But somehow, our president tells NBC News that he thinks that's bad - that it kills jobs.
"There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."
Very true. But that's the creative destruction that helps the economy. The "self-service" market - ATMs, kiosks, and vending machines - save us time and energy. Economist Donald Boudreaux sent a letter to Obama pointing out that it was no different in 1873 under Grant or in 1973 under Nixon.
With no less justification - but with no more validity - any of your predecessors might have issued complaints similar to yours. Pres. Grant, for example, might have grumbled in 1873 about "some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank that uses a modern safe and so employs fewer armed guards than before, or when you travel on trains which, compared to stage coaches, transport many more passengers using fewer workers."
Or Pres. Nixon might have groused in 1973 about such labor-saving innovation: "You see it when you step into an automatic elevator that doesn't require an elevator operator, or when you observe that polio vaccination keeps people alive and active without the aid of nurses and all those workers who were once usefully employed making iron-lung machines, crutches, and wheelchairs."
I wish Democrats cared about economics enough to learn it.
Read the full letter here.