"It can only be attributable to human error."

Here’s some refreshing — if bleak — candor from the New York Times:

Workers are getting more expensive while equipment is getting cheaper, and the combination is encouraging companies to spend on machines rather than people.

“I want to have as few people touching our products as possible,” said Dan Mishek, managing director of Vista Technologies in Vadnais Heights, Minn. “Everything should be as automated as it can be. We just can’t afford to compete with countries like China on labor costs, especially when workers are getting even more expensive.”

Remember, when Mishek says we can’t compete with China on labor costs, he’s not talking about wages. Wages here are stagnant, while Chinese workers make more, year after year.

But it keeps costing more and more to hire an American worker, even though paychecks aren’t getting any bigger. For that, you can thank the ever-expanding regulatory state.

Machines are expensive, yes — but at least management has some clue about just how expensive. A “known known,” if you will. You, on the other hand, have become a “known unknown.” And that’s the kind of expense management just can’t afford these days.

But don’t worry — Obama will tax the bejeebus out of them and hand you some of the change.