Living wage is an absolutely ridiculous term. Forcing employers to pay more money to their employees for no reason other than they aren’t making enough money to live is just plain socialism and theft. If an employer isn’t paying their employees enough to make a living, the employees should quit and find a job that will. I’ve actually done it a couple times in my life. I’m in a much better spot now and one of those employers went out of business (maybe because they couldn’t afford the minimum wage…). That’s capitalism.
You’re absolutely right about the market adjusting to the increase of the minimum (not living) wage. It will and has adjusted by becoming more automated. The fact that machines are expensive is an asinine comment. So are employees. If the machines were more expensive than an employee, they wouldn’t be taking the place of the employee. A $10,000 machine which operates maintenance free for 1 year (which most do) still costs less than 1 full time employee making minimum wage for a year. And the self checkout computers and self order computers at grocery stores and restaurants don’t cost 10 grand apiece.
You are using phrases like “always displace the worker” and “never work again.” Also ridiculous. No one is making these assumptions. There will always be jobs for people who are willing to work. And there will always be employers willing to pay a good wage with good benefits to good employees. But forcing employers to pay higher wages to employees who are not deserving of those wages is not how the system gets fixed.