Andrew Yang, a not-for-profit and for profit entrepreneur is running for President of the United States. I for one couldn’t be happier. Those who have been reading me for some time, and those who know me, know that I couldn’t be sicker of the current public “assistance” system: the one that distributes insufficient amounts of cash to a fraction of eligible low income people, and makes every recipient in the system feel terrible in the process. From the Spanish speaking woman I met who “welfare” didn’t want to give Food Stamps to until she participated in a mandatory work orientation conducted in English only; to the mother who was sent to a job interview at JFK airport and made to travel an extra hour back to the welfare office to “sign out” for the day instead of going straight back to her shelter; this system has lost its mind and its heart. Universal Basic Income is the solution.
Andrew Yang’s book, The War on Normal People: the Truth About Disappearing Jobs in America and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future, will be out Spring 2018 and provides insights into automation’s impact on the labor market and possible solutions.
Here are a few comments from Andrew about the American social and economic landscape and Universal Basic Income’s potential to solve problems:
The opiate crisis
“We automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states, and these places are where the opiate crisis is at its worst. When people have less work, drug use goes up. Many of the swing states that Trump won were where jobs were automated away. Nationally, our social indicators are shocking. Our life expectancy has declined for 2 years in a row, which is just about unheard of in a developing country. Suicides and drug overdoses just overtook car accidents as leading causes of death. 6 people die every hour in this country of opiate overdoses. Middle-aged white people are killing themselves at unprecedented levels. A lot of this is because we eliminated millions of jobs for working class men and they have lost hope. Marriage rates among working class adults have collapsed from 70% in 1970 to 45% today, and 40% of American children are born to single mothers today, up from 15% in 1980. When you start to look you realize that the automation of jobs is already tearing our society apart.”
Self driving truck technology and the health and well being of the American male
“Truck driving is the biggest impending disaster when you look at the automation of jobs. There are 3.5 million truckers, 94% male, average age 49, average education high school. It is the most common job in twenty-nine states. Another 7 million Americans work in support of truckers in motels and truck stops. If you start counting you’ll realize trucks and truck drivers are everywhere. We know those jobs are going to shrink a lot in the next ten years. About 100,000 of the truckers are ex-military. This is going to be a massive problem that could destabilize the country if it’s not addressed. 80% of truckers have a health problem like diabetes or a bad back because the lifestyle is very unhealthy.”