“Last month in an interview with the website Quartz, the Microsoft founder and richest man alive said it would be OK to tax job-killing robots. If a $50,000 worker was replaced by a robot, the government would lose income-tax revenue,” Kessler writes. “Therefore, Mr. Gates suggested, the feds can make up their loss with ‘some type of robot tax.'”
“This is the dumbest idea since Messrs. Smoot and Hawley rampaged through the U.S. Capitol in 1930,” Kessler writes. “When I started working on Wall Street, I was taken into rooms with giant sheets of paper spread across huge tables. People milled about armed with rulers, pencils and X-Acto Knives, creating financial models and earnings estimates. Spreadsheets, get it? This all disappeared quickly when VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually Microsoft Excel automated the calculations. Some fine motor-skill workers and maybe a few math majors lost jobs, but hundreds of thousands more were hired to model the world. Should we have taxed software because it killed jobs?”
“What’s most disturbing is that the Luddites never totally went away. How many times have we been subject to proposals that would tax progress? ObamaCare’s regulations froze the medical industry. Its 2.3% medical-device tax was even worse, discouraging investment in one of the few innovative health-care sectors. Mileage standards on automobiles were a waste of resources contributing to the moronic Detroit bailout in 2009. Even a carbon tax is Ludd-like, raising the cost of energy to slow its consumption,” Kessler writes. “Surely Mr. Gates knows that his charitable foundation’s efforts to eradicate malaria and other diseases require a lot of productive capital and hard work. I can’t picture him clamoring to tax robots that lower the cost of malaria drugs or mosquito nets. That kind of tax would kill off the next wave of disease-killing productivity.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Oh, no, Bill Gates is worried that “the government” might “lose income-tax revenue!”
As a wise man once said:
Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. — Steve Jobs