If Robots Steal Our Jobs, Maybe We Should Make Them Pay Tax

Source: Laura Paddison, Huffington Post, June 1, 2018

….The idea of a robot tax has bubbled up over the past couple of years, thanks to the backing of some high-profile figures, proposing it as a way of trying to prevent all the benefits of automation from flowing to a tiny slice of wealthy people.

Benoît Hamon — a socialist candidate in the French presidential elections last year — made a robot tax a plank in his campaign. Perhaps the most famous advocate is Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. He told Quartz last year, “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. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

He says he believes taxing machines could slow the pace of automation, giving people a chance to retrain and giving governments time to put in place policies to protect people from intensifying inequality…..