The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates
The basis of this article is a future where there will be hordes of citizens of zero economic value. That is, unless the system can be reformed to empower EVERY citizen to acquire OWNERSHIP in the wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets resulting from technological invention and innovation.
Bill Gates must have lost his mind if he now assumes that “robots” or the broader non-human factor of production are real people and can pay taxes. No they are not, but real people do OWN the non-human means of production, they are, in fact, a tiny wealthy capital ownership class of Americans, representing less than 1 percent of the population. This wealthy capital ownership class rigged the system to ensure that they will OWN the future technologies that will propel greeter productivity and efficiency in the production of products and services.
What people need is income, and a handout generated by taxing those who are productive, whether as labors or as owners of non-human productive capital assets, is not the solution. Instead we need to empower EVERY citizen to become productive either through their labor input or their ownership of the non-human factor of production they contribute to the economy.
As was declared back in 1976 by the Joint Economic Committee of the Congress of the United States: “To provide a realistic opportunity for more U.S. citizens to become owners of capital, and to provide an expanded source of equity financing for corporations, it should be made national policy to pursue the goal of broadened capital ownership.”
Because non-human productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth it should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. The reality is if both labor and capital are independent factors of production, and if capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all.
Rather than focus on Job Creation, Job Retraining, and a redistributed Minimum Guaranteed Income that holds back technological invention and innovation, our economic policies should focus on wealth-creating, income-producing capital Ownership Creation.
Given that there is no question that robotic technology will continue to expand the productivity and in large measure destroy jobs and devalue the value of human labor, the question that SHOULD be urgently addressed is WHO SHOULD OWN THE FUTURE TECHNOLOGY ECONOMY? Will ownership continue to concentrate among the 1 percent wealthy ownership class who now OWNS America, or will we reform the system to provide equal opportunity for EVERY child, woman, and man to acquire personal OWNERSHIP in FUTURE non-human capital assets paid for with the FUTURE earnings of the investments in our technological future?
Both Bill Gates and Elon Musk have recently spoken about a solution to economic inequality based on a Universal Basic Income. Yet both Elon Musk and Bill Gates are significant capital owners who do not see empowering EVERY citizen to become a capital owner a solution. Instead they suggest that everyone else become dependent on the State, while they and others in the wealthy capital ownership class continue to amass more wealth-creating, income-producing capital asset formation ownership, and retain the political power that follows property ownership .
Their solution to the ever widing income inequality gap is to redistribute income earned by those productive in society to provide a subsistence universal income without creating universal individual citizen capital ownership in the productive capital assets of the future. Of course. the existing wealthy capital ownership class wants to OWN the future while pacifying the masses of American citizens by providing subsistence incomes to each citizen whose income source otherwise is limited in reality to a job.
Elon Musk represents one of the perfect examples of crony-end game capitalism disguised to the taxpaying citizens as necessary to create jobs and advance solutions to environmental enhancement. In his case, the game is played in the name of alternative transportation, planetary colonization and the environment. NO WHERE is there a stipulation that the subsidies, tax exemptions, loans and grants be conditioned on 100 percent worker owned companies, not as a collective but in individual worker titles, or that the financing is structured so that the workers will end up owning a significant share of the new capital assets and the benefits of the future wealth-creation and income generated.
While thousands of jobs will be created in the future, subsidized by taxpayer incentives, in large measure the new factories will be technologically infused with advanced “robotics,” digitalized operations, and super-automation capital assets, that will be OWNED by Elon Musk and a select narrow group of wealthy owners who get to cash in on taxpayer incentives and subsidies while the worth of the corporations accelerate.
Once again, taxpayer supported government welfare is extended to the private sector without the stipulation of broadening private, individual ownership of NEW productive capital investment related to technological innovation and invention. This is in the form of government subsidies, loan guarantees and tax incentives that are issued in the name of JOB CREATION, while oblivious to the CONCENTRATED OWNERSHIP CREATION resulting from bolstering the financial ownership interests of the awarded companies’ ownership class.
Instead of socialist redistribution of crums to the masses, what is needed is a massive loan guarantee economic growth plan which aims to balance production and consumption by empowering EVERY American to acquire private, individual ownership in FUTURE wealth-creating, income-producing productive capital asset investments and pay for their loans out of the earnings of the investments, without the requirement of past savings or any source of income. This approach embraces the logic of corporate finance, that is, that the investments will over time, typically within 3 to 7 years, produce income to pay for the capital credit extended and to continue to produce income for the corporate owners over the course of numerous years in the future.
Unfortunately, with Elon Musk’s corporate enterprises and others, the subsidies, tax incentives, direct loans and loan guarantees do not stipulate the demonstration of broaden private, individual ownership among the employees of the companies receiving taxpayer financial support. Instead the direct loans and loan guarantees are pitched as JOB CREATION measures while completely hiding the fact that a privilege ownership class benefits as the owners of investment assets.
In the short-term FUTURE, ALL direct loans and loan guarantees should stipulate that corporations demonstrate broadened ownership of their corporations by their employees and other Americans. We should quickly reform the system to eliminate ALL tax loopholes and subsidies and provide equal opportunity to insured, interest-free capital credit to finance the FUTURE building of an economy that can support general affluence for ALL Americans.
The REAL issue regarding the structural problem with the economy, which is rigged to further the CONCENTRATED OWNERSHIP interests of the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the American majority who are exponentially facing job losses and devaluation as tectonic shifts in the technologies of production require less and less labor workers to produce the products and services needed and wanted by our society, is ignored. This issue is NEVER addressed, which is the crux of the problem causing our declining economy.
What we need is for the Federal Reserve to stop monetizing unproductive debt, including bailouts of banks “too big to fail,” “auto companies,” and Wall Street derivatives speculators, and begin creating an asset-backed currency that could enable every child, woman and man to establish a Capital Homestead Account or “CHA” (a super-IRA or asset tax-shelter for citizens) at their local bank to acquire a growing dividend-bearing stock portfolio to supplement their incomes from work and all other sources of income. The CHA would process an equal allocation of productive credit to every citizen exclusively for purchasing full-dividend payout shares in companies needing funds for growing the economy and private sector jobs for local, national and global markets. The shares would be purchased on credit wholly backed by projected “future savings” in the form of new productive capital assets as well as the future marketable goods and services produced by the newly added technology, renewable energy systems, plant, rentable space and infrastructure added to the economy. Risk of default on each stock acquisition loan would be covered by private sector capital credit risk insurance and reinsurance back by the government, but would not require citizens to reduce their funds for consumption to purchase shares. ALL subsidized loan guarantees would have the stipulation that the companies benefiting from the loan infusion demonstrate NEW owners be created among their employees and others in which ownership shares are purchased on credit wholly backed by projected “future savings” in the form of new productive capital assets.
We need to lift ownership-concentrating Federal Reserve System credit barriers and other institutional barriers that have historically separated owners from non-owners and link tax and monetary reforms to the goal of expanded capital ownership. This can be done under the existing legal powers of each of the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, and will not add to the already unsustainable debt of the Federal Government or raise taxes on ordinary taxpayers. We need to free the system of dependency on Wall Street or the accumulated savings and money power of the rich and super-rich who control Wall Street. The Federal Reserve System has stifled the growth of America’s productive capacity through its monetary policy by monetizing public-sector growth and mounting Federal deficits and “Wall Street” bailouts; by favoring speculation over investment; by shortchanging the capital credit needs of entrepreneurs, inventors, farmers, and workers; by increasing the dependency of with usurious consumer credit; and by perpetuating unjust capital credit and ownership barriers between rich Americans and those without savings. The Federal Reserve Bank should be used to provide interest-free capital credit (including only transaction and risk premiums) and monetize each capital formation transaction, determined by the same expertise that determines it today––management and banks––that each transaction is viably feasible so that there is virtually no risk in the Federal Reserve. The first layer of risk would be taken by the commercial credit insurers, backed by a new government corporation, the Capital Diffusion Reinsurance Corporation, through which the loans could be guaranteed. This entity would serve to seed the new policy direction and would fulfill the government’s responsibility for the health and prosperity of the American economy.
Our political leaders, academia, and the media fail to understand that our financial system has resulted in a fundamental imbalance between production and consumption. We have ignored the systematic income inequalities that persist and grow exponentially due to the steady progress of tectonic shifts in the technologies of production, shifting productive input from labor to the non-human factor of production––productive capital, as generally defined as land, structures, human-intelligent machines, superautomation, robotics, digital computerized automation, etc. Productive capital assets are OWNED by individuals and, respecting private property principles, those individuals are entitled to the earnings generated by such assets.
The significant problem has been the systematic denial of participation as capital owners on the part of the majority of consumers. While the wealthy ownership class has essentially rigged the financial system to their benefit, and by that is meant to continually concentrate ownership of productive capital among the richest Americans, the majority of Americans have been and are dependent on JOB CREATION. Yet, none of our political leaders, academia or the media addresses this inbalance with the richest Americans entitled to income growth associated with productive capital ownership and the majority facing further job losses and degradation due to technological advancement.
Ordinary Americans of so-called “middle-class position” have used consumer debt financing as a means of bettering their life with an abundance of consumer products and services. The government has used income redistribution via taxation and national debt to prop up the economy with monies spent on supporting a massive military-industrial complex comprised of a small group of owners and millions of “employed,” and various social programs to uplift the American majority’s life and prevent their decline into poverty––supported by government dependency.
The ONLY way out of this mess, if we are to not become a complete socialist or communist communal state governed by an elite class, is to embrace growth managed in such a way that EVERY American is empowered to acquire over time a viable wealth-creating, income-producing capital estate and pay for their acquisition out of the FUTURE earnings of the investments. Such is the precise means that the richest Americans continually advance their wealth and thus, income.
We need leaders who will put this issue before the national debate stage, and we need the media to put forth the questions whose answers will provide the financial mechanism specifics to reverse the ever dominant OWNERSHIP CONCENTRATION. Such concentration and the economic power that result is taking control of our representative government, with productive capital ownership channeled through plutocratic finance into fewer and fewer hands, as we continue to witness today with government by the wealthy evidenced at all levels.
We are absent a national discussion of where consumers earn the money to buy products and services and the nature of capital ownership, and instead argue about policies to redistribute income or not to redistribute income. If Americans do not demand that the holders of the office of the presidency of the United States, the Senate, and the Congress address these issues, we will have wasted the opportunity to steer the American economy in a direction that will broaden affluence. We have adequate resources, adequate knowhow, and adequate manpower to produce general affluence, but we need as a society to properly and efficiently manage these resources while protecting and enhancing the environment so that our productive capital capability is sustainable and renewable. Such issues are the proper concern of government because of the human damage inflicted on our social fabric as well as to economic growth in which every citizen is fairly included in the American dream.
Support the Capital Homestead Act at http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/, http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-a-plan-for-getting-ownership-income-and-power-to-every-citizen/, http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-summary/ and http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/ch-vehicles/.
Comment from Center for Economic and Social Justice (www.cesj.org):
Bill Gates’s idea about taxing robots has been getting a lot of play recently. The problem is that it would create more problems that it solves. The solid foundation of any economy is whether it can produce what people consume, and whether every producer is a consumer, and vice versa. To put it more simply, if you want a sound economy, you have to produce what you consume, and consume what you produce, one way or another. Thus, if only labor is productive, then everybody needs to own his or her own labor — which, unless you’re a slave, is always the case. If only land is productive, then everybody needs to own land. If only technology (“robots”) is productive, then everybody needs to own technology. Obviously, claiming that only one factor is productive is wrong; in a perfect world, everyone needs to own each factor of production, whether labor or capital, in the same proportion as it is used in production. This is not usually feasible, especially when people take advantage of their social nature and specialize, but it gives a good rule of thumb to follow. For example, if technology is ten times more productive than human labor, someone has to own technology that will produce ten times what his or her labor would produce just to have a decent income (absent distortions such as minimum wage laws and redistribution, of course). The bottom line is that only by owning — not taxing — robots will ordinary people gain enough income and restore Say’s Law of Markets so that all production is for consumption, and people have enough production to be able to consume.