The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Sinister, Far-Reaching Power of the ATMs


Er… what?

“President Obama explained to NBC News that the reason companies aren’t hiring is not because of his policies, it’s because the economy is so automated. … “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.’”

Jonah already noted that there’s a kernel of truth to Obama’s broader point about automation influencing the jobs picture. But by picking an example of a technology that’s been around since the early 1990s while discussing high unemployment rates that have been around since the end of 2008, Obama looks absurd. And airport kiosks predate the current unemployment surge as well, having been invented in 1977.

(In light of Obama’s belief that ATMs eliminate jobs at banks, you would think he would be more wary of using the autopen.)

So why is Obama lashing out at ATMs?

Rush observed, “He actually said this. How many of you are familiar with the term “Luddite”? You know what a Luddite is? L-u-d-d-i-t-e. A “Luddite” is basically used to describe somebody backwards, old-fashioned, out of it, worthless, and so forth and so on. Now, the Luddites were the people who, in the early 1800s, attacked the textile looms in England at the start of the Industrial Revolution. They wanted to destroy the looms because they said that they would take away jobs from the peoples. It’s a term of derision today, because they were so absurdly wrong. The loom added all kinds of work and productivity. It changed the textile business, as we all know. But Obama is now a Luddite! He is taking up the cause of the Luddites. The ATM machine, that’s why there’s high unemployment?”

But perhaps there is something more sinister about ATMs perching themselves at every bank and many street corners across the country.

Thank goodness for Twitter, even though it has eliminated many courier jobs; you can find many of their crimes under the hashtag, #atmfacts.

No less a credible source than the great Adam Baldwin has confirmed, “A confederacy of ATMs canceled Firefly.”

Tags: Barack Obama


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