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‘You Can’t Turn Truck Drivers into Coders’

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.

As capitalism increasingly specializes, fewer and fewer people will be valued by the market. There is no justice in good people being left behind because a robot can do their job more efficiently. We, as a society, need to value people even if the market doesn’t. pic.twitter.com/KazUBR8W13

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 12, 2019

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.

Just met with a robotocist- he described how 96% of a warehouse fulfillment job has been automated leaving humans to do the remaining mind-numbing 4%. They often quit. “If that’s the future of work we need a different one.”

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 9, 2019

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.”

Amazon committing $700 million to retraining workers is a sign of just how big the automation problem is https://t.co/lrUXuZ1bDj

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 11, 2019

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 In another tweet, the candidate explained how retraining people who have been replaced by robots simply does not work.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.”

Retraining workers who are displaced by automation is great in theory, but the data suggest that in practice it doesn’t work — these retraining programs have a 0-15% success rate. Most people who think we can turn truck drivers into coders are neither. pic.twitter.com/ilwjpqLSy0

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 10, 2019

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.

One of the reasons why the #FreedomDividend is for everyone is that it would create a trickle-up economy, in which local businesses are stimulated by an increase in consumption, which would circulate the money over and over again and create millions of jobs in the process. pic.twitter.com/L42fVTK4tm

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 11, 2019

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 #FreedomDividend would recognize the work that isn’t valued by the market, like caregiving, that is performed disproportionately by women. Putting cash into the hands of women also would empower them to leave exploitative jobs or relationships. pic.twitter.com/4AvQcrOL0r

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 9, 2019

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.”

2020 hopeful @AndrewYang on his plan for basic universal income to give Americans $1,000 a month: “We need to put the economic resources into people’s hands in order to improve their situations.” Companies that are “big winners of the 21st century economy” would fund it, he adds. pic.twitter.com/RdS6xr3DaI

— The View (@TheView) July 8, 2019

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.”

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