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Bot and paid for: Bill de Blasio’s ‘robot tax’ shows a lack of self-awareness of the impact of his own misguided policies


Mayor de Blasio finally unveiled a big new idea for his presidential campaign: a “robot tax.” It would require companies to pay five years of payroll taxes up front for each employee eliminated by investments in automation.

How to write a law that distinguishes between when technology enhances productivity and when it outright replaces human labor? Damned if we know.

Too bad de Blasio didn’t pair his brave new proposal with incentives for bloated city governments like ours to cut back responsibly on their own payrolls, which cost taxpayers. New York City headcount has soared 12%, from 295,894 in 2013 to 332,285 this year, an increase that can’t begin to be explained by the hiring of new pre-K teachers and cops.

Or show a wit of introspection about the ways some of his growing mandates on businesses are effectively encouraging automation.

Unlike robots, humans are supposed to be self-aware.