But the work they did used to be worth the cost of an apartment.
We've got a lot more people, the same amount of resources, and value isn't about what you produce, it's about the value of what you produce. In an era where there's lots and lots of old rich people maybe bagging groceries in a wealthy region of town is worth an apartment, but in an area with a bunch of fit poor people it's not going to get you anything.
The value of our labor is going down for many people as automation impacts their community. In order to progress, we must be "more" than we could have been ten years ago. But in order to be "more' we have to be made into more by our society, and that takes an investment of a lot of money, time, and effort. Secondly, it's an investment that is best made young. Once we've failed people, they are stuck. We could have decided to not fail them a decade ago, and invested heavily in our educational system while making it so that nobody has to be worried about being on the streets because they don't have a job, but we didn't, so here we are.
Are the robots bagging groceries? Are they flipping burgers? Or is that work still being done by people? And why have we tilted society such that these tasks are no longer allowing people to sustain themselves?
Robots aren't bagging groceries, but they've put so many people in that category of labor out of the job that you now have twice as many people trying to bag groceries as you did before. And if all the jobs similar to grocery bagging have been automated then grocery bagging isn't long for this world either. If the prices of labor go down it takes longer for there to be a robot doing the job, but it also means people get treated like shit.
We could, as a society, automate many of the jobs people aren't paid much for. However, it's presently cheaper, by more factors than just cost, to treat a person like shit and have them do the job a robot could than to invest in and build a robot to do the task.
I want that grocery bagger to make a living wage because that means he's invested in the same vision for society as I am.
I'd rather they make a living wage doing nothing than make a living wage bagging groceries, if the job can be gotten rid of. We should value human beings as more than a robot, and an overpaid grocery bagger is much worse than a person given a living wage for free. A bored person who is supported by society is way way better than a person supported by society and forced to do a menial and useless job.
A robot can bag groceries, let the grocery baggers do something else. Paid well or not, a person bagging groceries their whole life is a waste of human life, which is why the job pays like shit. Do a robot's job, get a robot's wage.
Walmart made $118b in profit that year. So in a way, we are helping out... but if Walmart raised their wages to something resembling livable they'd give up on less than 8% of their profits.
They'd fire everyone bagging groceries because their jobs aren't worth a living wage. Then, rather than having a job and not much money, they'll have no job and no money. See back above where I say we should give living wages for no work rather than living wages for work that isn't worth a living wage. I'd be very willing to support people being able to quit their jobs and still live a happy life without work.
But is such a situation really realistic? People aren't generally the empathetic forward thinking types, at least on the non-personal stage, and we aren't getting an ideal society in my opinion. Instead, we are absolutely getting one where "those lazy bastards aren't getting any of my money!".
>And the last thing I want to do is tell them to stop having kids 'cuz they're poor
Remember that the rich are already not having kids. They are able to be in tune to what's going on in society and make decisions on it because they have the wealth necessary to control their lives. The poor don't. Getting the poor to stop having kids isn't a matter of forcing them to not have kids, that's absurd, inhuman, unhealthy for society, and just won't work well in the long run (one child policy). Instead, it's about giving them more knowledge and control of their life, and they will decide to not have kids on their own.
In an era where we need more and more people to do labor, children are a moral imperative. Our culture and society twists itself in a knot trying to help and support as many children as it can. Mothers become expected to stay at home and pop out children all day. Fathers are expected to devote their whole life to supporting a family. Republicans who hate birth control and abortions at the same time still live in this era, or likely many of them used to live in this era, and are still mentally there, which is why their logic doesn't make sense if you don't view it from that context.
We don't live in that era anymore, so it becomes a moral imperative to encourage people to not have kids. Birth control, abortions, family planning, adoptions of foreign children to raise them out of poverty. Secondly, it becomes a moral imperative to make the most mentally/socially healthy people as possible, because we don't do as much physical labor anymore. Stop eating a lot to be a "big strong man" and start eating healthy so you live longer. Be politically correct. Recognize and accept those who were weird or outcasts in the past, and so on.