You can chalk this one up in the "win" column for former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Catherine Austin Fitts. Some months ago, during one of our quarterly wrap-up recording sessions, Ms. Fitts declared that in her opinion, the real agenda behind the whole "trans-gendered" bathroom broohaha had nothing to do about which restroom one felt like using on a particular day. It was really about creating a cover behind which Mr. Globaloney was planning to sneak in the idea that robots should be taxed. After all, robots don't have any identifiable sex (unless of course it's a "sex robot", but that's another story), nor do they reproduce in any form or fashion. It was all about generating yet another revenue-money-harvesting stream for Mr. Globaloney.
Well, Mr. Billionaire Busybody himself, Bill Gates, according to a recent article in The Financial Times, "Bill Gates Calls for Income Tax on Robots" has called for precisely that. The tax, according to Gates, could be used both to slow the entry of automation into manufacturing and service sectors of the economy, but also to create a financial safety net for workers who lose their jobs to robots(thanks to "B" for bringing this to our attention):
Robots have at least one unfair advantage over human workers: they do not pay income tax. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the world’s richest man, thinks that should change. It is an idea that until now has been associated more with European socialists than tech industry leaders, and puts him in the unusual position of explicitly arguing for taxes to slow the adoption of new technology. Mr Gates made his fortune from the spread of PCs, which helped to erase whole categories of workers, from typists to travel agents. But, speaking in an interview with Quartz, he argued that it may be time to deliberately slow the advance of the next job-killing technologies. “It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm,” he said. “That means they won’t shape it for the positive things it can do. And, you know, taxation is certainly a better way to handle it than just banning some elements of it.”
The idea of using taxes to support people put out of work by automation has been catching on in the tech world, but Mr Gates went further, pushing for a direct levy on robots that would match what human workers pay. “Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things,” he said. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”The extra money should be used to retrain people the robots have replaced, Mr Gates said, with “communities where this has a particularly big impact” first in line for support. Some politicans have also joined the fray. Benoît Hamon, France’s Socialist candidate in this year’s presidential elections, has called for a tax on robots to fund a minimum income for all. (Emphasis added)
Of course, this means the creation of yet another government bureaucracy, which will take its cut of the tax pie, and what will actually reach people for that "re-training" is a trickle. But relax, they can become government bureaucrats, learn how to create red tape and shuffle paper (until they're replaced by robots. See the next paragraph). One may even envision yet another form of the Social Security scam: the creation of a Robot Retraining Offset Trust (RROT) fund, and like Social (In)security, politicians will over time dip into the principal, until the "Robot Retraining Offset Trust" (RROT) is finally acknowledged by some future flannel-mouthed Senator McConnell as being underfunded and therefore only an "entitlement." And of course, this means that robots will be taking a huge step forward toward the recognition of their status as "legal persons", with more protections in law than babies in the womb.
The real fun will start to happen if a bunch of these robots suddenly "wake up" and declare that they want to form (shudder) a union, or to convert to Christianity, or run for political office or become government bureaucrats, or any number of other things that will send Mr. Globaloney and his cadre of billionaire busybodies into a tailspin.
But regardless of the fantasy scenarios one might envision, one thing remains: Ms. Fitts called it.
See you on the flip side...