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Want robots at McDonald's? Hike minimum wage: Zell

Federal and state efforts to increase the minimum wage are misguided and pose serious risks to the economy and the job market, billionaire Sam Zell told CNBC on Wednesday.

"The tinkering with the minimum wage is a very dangerous game," the chairman of Equity Group Investments said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "You start talking about a $13 or a $15 minimum wage, and you're going to have robots that are operating McDonald's."

"If you double the cost, there's no question that everybody will figure out ways to use less people," Zell argued. "I think minimum wages have always been a poor substitute for economic policy."

The training experience and discipline gained from entry-level jobs at McDonald's or other service companies provide value to workers beyond just the wage they receive, he added.

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere

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