You may ask yourself what does automation have to do with progressive or liberal policy and the answer is EVERYTHING going forward.
Look currently how many people have been economically forced into jobs like Uber or Lyft? Ask around and don’t be surprised to find the person hauling you around town might have an advanced degree in something yet is working well outside of that field due to the unstable and ever shifting economy. I’m not judging and I support people working in any capacity. I also support people making a fair wage as well. Now imagine that all those jobs will be gone in 5 to 15 years due to automated cars. Just so you can’t say you weren’t warned the robots are probably coming to take your job as well. Is there any way to automate what you are doing? Because if there is your job too will be gone probably before you even realize what is happening.
Now think about all the underpaid people in an Amazon warehouse putting and pulling things from bins. All those jobs will probably be automated in 5 to 15 years as well.
I have previously suggested the USA needs a “Newest Deal”. I’ve also seen it thrown around that the USA could use a Green Deal. I also don’t argue with that so it could quite possibly be a New Green Deal. However, we all need to take a moment to appreciate that would only be a temporary fix and is NOT a long term solution.
In my parent’s or grandparent’s day maybe the USA was more of a pick yourself up by the bootstraps type of place. That has changed. There used to be jobs available that paid a fair wage as well. Think about all those UBER/Lyft/Amazon associates. Where are they going to work when the robots take over for them? Chances are you have no answer to that because they will quite possibly never find replacement employment.
So in my mind there are two giant red flags from what I just mentioned. One is that many people that are currently working aren’t being paid a fair wage. This has been making the American Dream become smaller ever since the 1970’s. Many of the people reading this may not have even been alive when an average American worker had seen a real wage increase. We are seeing and experiencing something new for the US. Most people are currently on track to a declining lifestyle from their parent’s lifestyle due to a deteriorating and highly unequal economy. Look at all the jobs that have been created. Most are also very low paying and also not a solution. They simply just spread poverty around some more.
This could even spell major trouble for the housing market because the next economic bump in the road could leave millions of Americans unable to afford the mortgages they have been stretched into. I would just like to say that the elasticity of the American worker is not infinite. It’s been stretched, stretched, and stretched some more and at some point it will logically snap.
The second giant red flag is what to do with all the people that will become structurally unemployed in the economy. Structurally as in permanently unemployment built into the economy as it will be cheaper and easier to buy or build a robot than hire a human. I get that a few may be able to adapt and become some sort of entrepreneur, but that will probably only be a minority of people.
That’s also why we need universal healthcare. How are all these people that are structurally unemployed going to get even basic care? Are they supposed to just walk in to the ER every time they need something and banckrupt every hospital in the country? Are they supposed to break into pharmacies and just steal the drugs they need to survive? These types of issues are becoming more of a reality in the US as every day passes.
So while the major corporations with all the working capital build or buy more robots and become exponentially wealthy, who is going to pay the cost of running a society? Well it can’t be the huge mass of unemployed people that literally will have zero money or owe massive debt that they took on in an effort to just survive.
A progressive tax structure relies on the fact that those that benefit the most pay the most. Well, currently in the US the entitled people and corporations that earn the most feel that they should pay the least… In other countries they would quite simply call our lobbying system bribery. Paying someone in the government money so you don’t have to pay taxes is for all practical purposes bribery. We should outlaw lobbying and prevent anyone that has worked in public office from ever doing anything that even resembles lobbying. We should also prevent current lobbyists from becoming lawmakers as they already have their special interests planned out. Our future lawmakers should be working for the people not wealthy individuals and large corporations. I’m pretty sure the system has already been gamed enough and we need to stop this cycle of corruption at some point before the entire economic engine seized due to lack of lubrication of all the working parts of the economy.
If corporations really are people like some Republicans claim then why don’t they pay personal income tax? If we are going to treat them like people then they should also pay high income tax rates like actual employed people. They shouldn’t be allowed to pay bribe money to have a loophole written specifically for them. People with a pulse and a heartbeat are the one that should be given an actual break as they have limited time. A corporation can continue on indefinitely.
A universal basic income would make sure that everyone could at least survive in this increasingly cut-throat world. It would act as an income credit for the unemployed. An earned income credit for those working that pay a small amount of tax and as an income tax rebate to those that pay more taxes.
Sorry, corporations but with no pulse or ability to fog over a mirror you won’t qualify. However, as soon as the masses figure out American corporations have extracted billions or trillions in wealth from the system the people will want you to actually meaningfully contribute something.
This also brings up the point that with such a changing economy we need an education system that encourages people to get training or additional training. As all the money has gone up it will probably also have to be free or highly subsidized. As the people that need it the most will have the fewest resources. Otherwise we will continue to see a trend of decreasing social mobility in this country as more and more people simply can’t afford to improve their lives at all. So please tell me again how poor people are supposed to “pick themselves up by the bootstraps” with no money or other resources?