The mayor of New York City and the Democratic presidential candidate 2020, Bill de Blasio, have approved a "robot tax" and the establishment of a new government agency to oversee automation. The Blasio put his plan in one at the end of last week opinion article for Wired, describes it as an alternative to universal basic income (UBI) supported by his rival Andrew Yang.
De Blasio's plan was to set up a new agency called the Federal Automation and Worker Protection Agency (FAWPA) that would determine how companies can automate jobs. This includes removing tax incentives for automation and adding a "licensing process" for any company that wants to increase "automation that would move employees". (Companies should offer redundancy packages or new jobs that pay as much as the old ones.)
The "robot tax" would meanwhile apply to "large companies" that eliminate jobs through automation without offering new jobs to employees. These companies should pay payroll tax for five years in a special fund. This fund would be used to "create a new generation of labor-intensive infrastructure projects with many jobs and new jobs in areas such as health care and green energy." The displaced persons would be guaranteed new jobs in these areas "for comparable salaries."
De Blasio says that this plan would solve problems with the "sadly inadequate" UBI system. (Yang & # 39; s version would guarantee Americans $ 12,000 a year.) Several people have criticized UBI for various reasons, including fear that it will move or & # 39; s existing social programs not resolve greater employment problems. De Blasio says that UBI "will overlook the intrinsic value of a job because he believes that the financial support of a monthly check can replace meaningful work." He assures voters that his "plan would not accept a future after work. Instead, it would expedite a work-filled future. & # 39;
Robot taxes have been on the table for a few years now. Bill Gates famously discussed the idea in 2017, and European legislators have considered but rejected the. Other presidential candidates have also promised to help protect employees against automation, just not through a robot tax. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and other Democratic candidates have one jobs guarantee for Americans. Sanders has criticized the UBI in similar terms as the Blasio and said that "people want to work." In any case, the Blasio said he did get out of the race if he does not qualify for next month's democratic debates, his robot load will therefore still be hypothetical.