To everyone who wants to believe the overly-optimistic economic growth assumptions the GOP is using to promote their “1% Welfare” tax plan, consider this tidbit from this morning’s news…
This isn’t sci-fi anymore, friends. It’s real. Within a decade, as a seismic technological shift hits the transportation industry, tens of thousands of taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers will lose their jobs. Full-stop. Soon after that, the same shift will hit the trucking and logistics industries and the ripple effect upon low-skill American workers will be even more catastrophic.
Within our lifetimes, human obsolescence will become the norm, not an aberration.
Transportation and logistics are not the only industries where automation will have a profound, job-killing impact. Robotics are reaching into every aspect of our daily lives. Soon, naively simplistic campaign platitudes like, “We’ll bring back coal jobs!”, (about 75,000 workers in total in an industry that was already decimated by cheap natural gas), will be utterly meaningless when millions of under-skilled Americans are forced to hit the bricks in search of meaningful employment.
At a time when this country should thoughtfully and wisely prepare for the imminent arrival of such a robotics-heavy future, aggressively mustering visionary social will to invest in education, innovation, and job retraining ahead of the catastrophe, the Republican tax scheme would only make higher education that much less affordable and out of reach for those who need assistance to adapt and innovate.
What do you think large corporations will do with the piles of cash the Republicans will hand them when this tax cut goes through? Will they suddenly become uncharacteristically magnanimous and hire more employees? Will they generously hand out big raises to the employees they already have?
Or will major manufacturers and corporations automate further, relentlessly driving down production and supply chain costs by replacing expensive human labor, thereby putting hundreds of thousands of taxpayers out of jobs as they drive up share value, taxpaying Americans upon whose unemployable backs the weight of government funding will fall, all because the GOP tax plan would let corporations off the hook for their historical part of fueling government revenues?
The answer, my friends, is that big companies will not add human labor unless it makes them a profit. The future is clear. The way to increase profit will will not include expanding human labor when every indicator is that self-driving, fully automated everything is the way to slash costs.
Make no mistake, growing the economy and increasing corporate profit will be driven by adoption of automation, not by a significant growth in worker productivity, as the GOP tax plan presupposes. Many economists believe we have already reached the tipping point at which human productivity cannot increase appreciably beyond its current levels. Such a bleak scenario, in which human labor becomes fundamentally “obsolete,” does not substantiate the mythic wage growth claims that the GOP is counting on to sell this scheme to middle-class Americans, people who are desperate for high paying jobs. It is in the GOP’s near-sighted interest, therefore, to ignore this risk altogether and cram through a legislative “win” at all costs before the end of the year. The GOP’s short-sighted legislative “win” could very well bankrupt our country under crushing national deficits and debt, only to drive us further into the equivalent of economic indentured servitude to debt-holding countries such as China and Saudi Arabia.