2020 Presidential candidate Andrew Yang believes that automation like robots and driverless vehicles will throw so many people out of work that the federal government should provide a $1,000 per month basic income for people who need and want it.
Yang is a New York entrepreneur and author who is basing his Presidential campaign on the concept that automation will have such an impact in the not-to-distant future that dramatic changes in our economic structure will be required -- like paying everybody a basic wage.
This article in Fast Company is based on an interview with Yang, who fears that because of automation millions of Americans won't have a way to earn an income and provide for themselves and their families.
The founder of Venture for America, Yang would pay for his $1,000 per person per month government payment plan through a value-added tax, such as is imposed by many other countries. A VAT is charged on every stage of a product's life cycle, from manufacturing to distribution to retail, rather than simply at retail where consumers must pay the full tab.
Yang says he opted for the VAT rather than using an income tax increase to pay the estimated $2 trillion a year cost of his plan because to pay income tax you must have a job that generates income and, he says, a lot of people won't have jobs because of this new wave of automation.
Is Wang simply another wacko looking for publicity? Who knows?
He's written a book, The War on Normal People. In it, he outlines this and other revolutionary ideas, such as monetizing people's charitable and volunteer work -- necessary, I guess, since if people aren't working in a job they'll most likely be coaching Little League or working for the local food bank.
As Fast Company says, Yang's candidacy for the White House is also a reason for skepticism. But, you never know. Whoever would have predicted three or four years ago that our president today would be a reality TV star who's been bankrupted several times, who's played around with strippers, who makes fun of people with disabilities, and whois being investigated for getting too cozy with Russia?
“Most Americans agree that technology is going to eliminate many more jobs than it is going to create," Yang told Fast Company. "My odds get better every day as people wake up to the world in which we live.”