Friday, June 2, 2017

Bill Gates vs. Nebraska's Platte Institute

Above: Nebraska Democratic Party "liked" this tweet by
Michael Knebel,self-described Libertarian nerd
seeming to agree with the Platte Institute on cutting taxes
on "tangible property used for the production of income,"
which certainly describes job-killing robots to a tee.
Strong Roots Nebraska is an initiative by the Platte Institute, a right-wing Nebraska tax policy think tank financed by undisclosed donors to at least two dark money slush funds.
     The Platte Institute doesn't like taxes on tangible property used for the production of income.
     The Institute says tangible property "typically includes machinery, equipment, pivots, irrigation systems, and motors."
     Conspicuously omitted: robots, expected to kill 6 million jobs in the next 10 years in retailing alone. (This doesn't count truck and taxi drivers about to lose their jobs to self-driving vehicles or the robotic AI arms that may soon be flying planes. (These are not autopilots; they're robots that can land a passenger jet on the same simulator human pilots train on, though they can't yet take off, which for some reason is harder for a robot than landing.)
Quick question, Platte Institute: when was the last time factory robots
grew wages for their human coworkers instead of taking their jobs?
     One of the Platte Insitute's statements really jumped off the page for us:*
Taxing machinery and equipment decreases the value of labor
     SERIOUSLY? This is the most idiotic policy pronouncement we're seen so far this year. Exactly how would taxing human-replacing machines decrease the value of labor?
     No matter. The whole idea of replacing tax-paying humans with robots who don't any taxes, and THEN getting rid of property taxes on the robots to boot, is pretty whacked, even for the Platte Institute.
     Bill Gates, who knows more about software, robots and artificial intelligence than anyone at the Platte Institute, has thought about this in, shall we say, a less superficial and less partisan way:

*From the12/9/15 Platte Chat piece by Jessica Herrmann, a former legislative aide to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

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