It’s a rare thing to hear anyone in politics discuss the threat of automation to the economy — certainly no candidates did in the 2016 presidential campaign, and I watched closely. You would think that a genuine leader would have a plan to lessen the shock of massive job loss when it becomes cheaper to use a robot than hire a human over a wide swath of the jobs economy.
Some tech experts estimate that time is only a few years off, as indicated by the chart below from a PwC report concerning How will automation impact jobs?
So it’s a relief to see a technology-cautious candidate appear for 2020, and I have written several times about Andrew Yang because he says things like:
“We automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, and those communities have never recovered. Where if you look at the numbers, half of the workers left the workforce and never worked again, and then half of that group filed for disability.
Now what happened to the manufacturing workers is now going to happen to the truck drivers, retail workers, call centers and fast-food workers and on and on through the economy as we evolve and technology marginalizes the labor of more and more Americans.”
That remark was from a March interview with Tucker Carlson, who keeps up with important issues that many beltway denizens overlook.
On Friday, Carlson commented about a few 2020 candidates on Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream. The first one of them discussed was Andrew Yang:
SHANNON BREAM: You have talked with a lot of these 2020 contenders: I want to play a little back and forth with Andrew Yang and then we will discuss:
ANDREW YANG (in March 1 interview): My friends in Silicon Valley are working on trucks that can drive themselves because that’s where the money is, where we can save tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars by trying to automate that job. But I was just with truck drivers in Iowa last week. . . it will be a disaster for many American communities.
TUCKER CARLSON: You are one of the only people I have met who is honest about the effects of de-industrialization.
BREAM: I’m not assuming you’re going to vote for him, but you agree with him on this point.
CARLSON: I definitely would vote for a candidate like that, but I don’t agree with everything he says. I don’t know all of his views, but I can’t think of many more people on either side who are thinking more deeply about what the actual problems are.
Automation by every estimate will eliminate a huge percentage of jobs in the United States at exactly the moment when we’re importing millions of new people every year to fill jobs that probably won’t exist three years from now or ten years from now — it’s lunatic.
Indeed. Automation makes immigration obsolete — and certainly of low-skilled Hondurans et al trooping here over America’s open border at the rate of 100,000 per month. What will happen when millions of non-tech Third-Worlders find themselves priced out of the coming robot jobs market in a few years? There will likely be increased crime and possibly civil unrest.
The transition to whatever economic system is next won’t be easy even without millions of low-skilled illegal aliens — but Washington is worsening an already bad future problem with its crazy sovereignty failure.
CARLSON: And nobody is saying anything about it other than Andrew Yang. I’m not sure why it’s falling to him, but I don’t care. I want somebody to tell the truth about it.
BREAM: You are worried about the jobs, not this whole AI worry that people have that robots are going to come eat us and kill us.
CARLSON: Of course, anybody running a business wants to eliminate labor costs or reduce them to the extent possible. That’s the imperative of the market. There is no sin in that, but it’s real and we can’t pretend otherwise.
And so we often hear ‘We need more workers for agriculture’ — we don’t know anything about agricultural really; very few parts of the ag economy aren’t automated now. It’s a completely real thing.
Lawyers, physicians — huge sectors of white collar America are about to be overturned by AI, and nobody is talking about it because RUSSIA!
And other political distractions…