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Mayor de Blasio stakes out position on automation, ‘robot tax’


Democratic presidential candidate New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tours the POET Biorefining Ethanol Facility with former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, left, Friday, May 17, 2019, in Gowrie, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Mayor de Blasio has a new policy idea for his quixotic presidential campaign: taxing robot and machinery companies that are automating jobs once held by workers.

Hizzoner rolled out his new plan in a op-ed for

“The scale of automation in our economy is increasing far faster than most people realize, and its impact on working people in America and across the world, unless corralled, will be devastating,” de Blasio wrote before citing a report that 36 million jobs could be lost to automation in the future.

If elected, de Blasio would create a new federal agency, the Federal Automation and Worker Protection Agency, which would oversee automation.

Under this plan, employers who automate jobs would need to create new jobs for displaced workers, or provide adequate severance. Companies that don’t comply would be subject to a “robot tax.”

“[Employers] would be required to pay five years of payroll taxes up front for each employee eliminated,” de Blasio wrote. “That revenue would go right into a new generation of labor-intensive, high-employment infrastructure projects and new jobs in areas such as health care and green energy that would provide new employment.”

“Displaced workers would be guaranteed new jobs created in these fields at comparable salaries. A “robot tax” will help us create stable, good-paying middle-class jobs for generations to come."

In a follow-up appearance on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ de Blasio flogged his new proposal.

“[Automation] is bearing down on all of us,” he told the Fox News host.

“Right now there is no federal government strategy to address automation and it could be the single most destructive force to face our society.”

De Blasio’s policy plan stands in contrast to fellow Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang who has proposed a universal basic income program to stem the tide of automation.

“We need to protect work in this country,” de Blasio said before calling Yang’s plan a fallacy that would lead to a future without work.