For those who want to jump ahead of the curve on the next big policy issue, how about touch-free technology?

Just look at the massive public policy monster lurking in the shadows of McDonald’s announcement about its new guidelines for opening its restaurants. In addition to hygiene and social distancing practices, I would image the fast food chain will shift to automated payments. Just last year, the company purchased a start-up company to lay the ground work to automate its drive throughs.

McDonald’s is just being a smart business — like countless other companies large and small who will need to adapt to the post-COVID-19 economy. Everyone wants less human interaction because it is safer. And tech is going to give it to us shrouded in the euphemistic “contactless” customer experience.

Translation: Fewer workers. More robots and automation .

And why not? Consumers will embrace the safety of it. Businesses will embrace the opportunity for larger profit margins as the need for human labor diminishes. A whole “contactless” technology sector will explode as demand surges. Articles are starting to pop up everywhere about this emerging trend, including “The American Economy Was Just Blasted Years Into the Future.”

However, this will not sit well with a state like California. The losers in this new economy will be workers, labor and government. California –where minimum wage, AB 5 and other burdensome employment laws and regulations threaten businesses –stands to lose untold millions of dollars in employee taxes. The formula is simple: more technology equals fewer worker. Fewer workers will mean a big drop in government tax revenue.

Will the California legislature learn how to do more with less? Of course not. The prediction here is that at some point state lawmakers will seek to impose a new tax on machines and automation.

We are seeing the future. And it is now.

This article was written by Faultline editor, Stevan Allen