March 18, 2014


Bill Gates: Here's how you help workers compete against smart machines (James Pethokoukis, March 14, 2014, Forbes)

I think tax structures will have to move away from taxing payroll. ... Technology in general will make capital more attractive than labor over time. Software substitution --  whether it's for drivers or waiters, nurses ... it's progressing. And that's going to force us to rethink how these tax structures work in order to maximize employment given that capitalism in general over time will create more inequality, and technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of the skill set. We have to adjust, and these things are coming fast. Twenty years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don't think people have that in their mental model. ... Economists would have said a progressive consumption tax is a better construct at any point in history. But what I am saying is that it's even more important as we go forward because ... I want to distort in the favor of labor. ...When people say we should raise the minimum wage -- I know some economists disagree -- but I worry about what that does to job creation. The idea that through the Earned Income Tax Credit you would end up with a certain minimum wage that you would receive, that I understand better than intentionally dampening demand in the part of the labor spectrum that I'm most worried about.

Posted by at March 18, 2014 2:08 PM

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