Robots Beware

The Story

Photo: Traimak_Ivan/iStock

Before he ended his campaign for president, Mayor de Blasio announced his support for a “robot tax.” The tax would apply to companies that replace human workers through automation, charging them the equivalent of five years’ worth of payroll tax, in addition to other fees. The mayor’s proposal misconstrues the nature of innovation, which, over the long term, has always created new economic opportunities and improved productivity.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Wages: Raising the minimum wage does more to stifle opportunity for low-skilled workers than automation. Read more.

  2. Work: Throughout 250 years of industrialization and innovation, the market economy has consistently found jobs for about 95% of those seeking work. Read more.

  3. Teller: The introduction of ATMs led not to mass unemployment among bank tellers–as was widely predicted–but an increase in total bank employees. Read more.

“The idea that automation ‘destroys jobs’…makes no more sense than claiming that a new training program ‘destroys jobs.’”

Oren Cass, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Robots Do Not Create Unemployment By Mark P. Mills (September 2, 2014)

“Were it the case that permanent escalation in unemployment is an inevitable result, we would see it in the unemployment statistics. But history is unequivocal. The data show no serial escalation in the overall unemployment since 1961 with the ascent of knowledge automation, nor in the 120 years of ascending machinery automation.”

And in other news...

“Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his long-shot presidential bid Friday morning four months after he began, acknowledging he had no chance of winning the Democratic nomination.”