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Andrew Yang on Automation: ‘You Can’t Turn Truck Drivers into Coders’

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:49 PM
Kiril Nikolaev
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:49 PM

A report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brooklyn Institution  revealed that automation efforts using robots are very likely to take the jobs of 36 million Americans by 2030. That’s 25 percent of the country’s workforce. Andrew Yang is probably the American presidential candidate you’ve never heard of but he offers a unique solution to this problem. Instead of retraining workers who are about to be displaced by automation, he proposes a different solution. That’s to give every American adult the Freedom Dividend worth $1,000 per month.

Andrew Yang Exposes the Gravity of the Automation Problem

In a series of tweets, the presidential aspirant put front and center a problem that nobody seems to talk about: automation. He tweeted about his meeting with a roboticist who revealed that 96 percent of warehouse fulfillment work has been taken over by robots. The remaining four percent are given to humans and they often quit due to the mind-numbing nature of the job.

Yang followed up by sharing an article revealing how Amazon is investing $700 million to retrain a third of its American labor force. The retraining is due to automation. The candidate wrote, “Amazon committing $700 million to retraining workers is a sign of just how big the automation problem is.”

While retraining workers might look good on paper, Yang sees things differently. In another tweet, the candidate explained how retraining people who have been replaced by robots simply does not work. Based on studies, Yang said that retraining programs have a poor 0 – 15 percent success rate. He then stated that you can’t “turn truck drivers into coders.”

Yang’s Solution: $1,000 of Freedom Dividend a Month

Instead of trying to repurpose workers due to automation, Yang proposes a radical solution to the American people: a basic income of $1,000 per month for Americans 18 years old and above. According to the presidential candidate, the monthly income would bring about a trickle-up economy. It would increase consumption, boost the health of local businesses, and generate millions of jobs in the process.

In addition to that, Yang wrote that the universal basic income for all American adults would eliminate jobs that are not valued by the market. An example of that is caregiving. It will also enable women to escape abusive work or relationships.

The solution sounds innovative and appealing to the average Joe. However, there’s always the question of funding. Where will the money come from?

According to Andrew Yang, “the big winners of the 21st Century economy” would fund the Freedom Dividend. He names big tech companies that are virtually not paying any taxes such as Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. He said: “A tiny slice of every Amazon sale, every Google search, every Facebook ad, every Uber mile, and that’s enough to pay for a dividend of a thousand dollars a month.”

Andrew Yang proposes something that instantly appeals to the American public. However, will it be enough to get him to the White House? This presidential candidate also supports the cryptocurrencies unlike President Donald Trump who is clearly “not a fan.”