Two main Andrew Yang policy positions resonate with me, Universal Income and how the Robot Apocalypse can bring our divided nation together. The dark side of automation is a looming issue creating deep chasms in our already divided nation. Consider how well our current Executive in chief exploited this group’s legitimate feelings of economic loss. We are in the midst of a major transition to artificial intelligence (see automation). The President has blamed immigrants when the clear nemesis is Artificial intelligence-the advance of technology. Imagine how farmers felt during the genesis of the industrial age. Let’s look at truck drivers. There are 3.5 million truck drivers on the road today (robot trucks will be here within 3-5 years and quickly replacing drivers). The savings are considerable ( replacing human drivers with self-driving trucks that can run all of the time) will save an estimated $168 Billion a year. Artificial intelligence is replacing thousands of call center jobs right now. About 8% of American jobs are in the STEM field, 92% are not. The 5 most common jobs in the U.S. right now are 1) Administrative and clerical 2) Retail and Sales 3) food service 4) Truck Driving 5) Manufacturing. Right now all aforementioned jobs are in the midst of a change to Artificial intelligence (automation). 32% of Americans graduated from college, 68% with a high school diploma or below. 68% of Americans are working in the at-risk to automation industries. We need an interim solution for the margins to keep the most at risk from going off the rails-into much more expensive societal concerns (incarceration, homelessness, drug addiction, emergency room healthcare). Remember an extra $1000.00 for the average working American, living paycheck to paycheck, would largely end up right back into the economy in the form of retail, deferred car repair payments, dining out, out of pocket healthcare costs. This purchase activity would result in revenue back to the states/Fed. We would see the revenue back and save on societal shared marginal costs. Easy to take the jaded view and consider these payments a form of welfare. Remember that we practice corporate welfare every year by allowing companies to pay the equivalent of ZERO income taxes. Why not ask these companies benefiting from automation to provide a dividend back to all of us and especially those displaced by automation?
“The monthly stipend, which Yang dubs the “Freedom Dividend” is intended to ameliorate economic insecurity, wealth inequality, and the other symptoms of social malaise stemming from capitalism”. Honda Wang, Jacobin
Automation is more efficient than – human labor. Automation is more efficient by any metric. Robots, not immigrants are causing economic dislocations. Ask yourself how loyal any company is to your interests when it comes to their bottom line (see profit). Do we protest the inevitable accelerating transition towards greater efficiency or address this problem with a practical solution- see Universal income? Practical solutions or protesting the inevitable? Time to manage the transition. Time to take a look at Andrew Yang.