by WorldTribune Staff, March 11, 2019
Americans should not freak about losing their jobs to robots, but rather should be “excited” for the rise of automation because it will give us more time to “enjoy the world we live in,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says.
“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” the New York Democrat, an avowed socialist, said at the SXSW (South By Southwest Conference & Festival) in Austin, Texas on March 9.
“We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”
Also during her SXSW comments, AOC said that “where we are” as Americans amounts to “garbage.”
An “interesting theory,” wrote Cheryl Chumley for The Washington Times, but hardly supported by facts.
“SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program,” is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “In a typical month in 2017, SNAP helped more than 40 million low-income Americans afford a nutritionally adequate diet.”
And then there is HUD’s “Making Home Affordable Program”.
“Can you say Medicaid?” Chumley asked. “How about CHIP — the Children’s Health Insurance Program? Or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, that actually doles out cash for low-income — read: unemployed — citizens who are trying to get back on their financial feet?”
An Association for Advancing Automation study estimates U.S. companies installed a record number of robots in 2018, according to Reuters.
Pew Research polling has found that about 85 percent of Americans support the federal government putting restrictions on the types of jobs that employers can automate.
AOC said: “We should not feel nervous about the tollbooth collector not having to collect tolls. We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited about it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.”
The congresswoman also floated a proposal by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to tax robots at 90 percent to make up workers’ lost income from automation. “Whether it’s a tax rate, whether it’s distributing wealth that’s created by automation – if we approach solutions to our systems and start entertaining ideas like that, then we should be excited about automation because of what it could potentially mean.”
What it could “potentially mean,” Ocasio-Cortez said, is increased automation freeing up “more time enjoying the world we live in. “Not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.”
Ocasio-Cortez also explained how she feels the U.S. has moved away from what it should be.
“What’s really hard for people to sometimes see is that we are on this path of a slow erosion, and a slow slow slow just like – move away from what we’ve always been. You won’t even realize that you’ve drifted a hundred miles.”
She then appeared to suggest that her socialist policies represent core American values. “So when someone’s talking about ‘our core,’ they’re like, ‘oh, this is radical,’ but it isn’t radical. This is what we’ve always been.”
“I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are,” she concluded, “but where we are is not a good thing. And this idea of like, ten percent better than garbage, it shouldn’t be what we settle for.”
The first-term Democrat also took a shot at former President Ronald Reagan.
“A perfect example of how special interests and the powerful have pitted white working class Americans against brown and black working class Americans is Reaganism in the ’80s when he started talking about welfare queens,” AOC said.
“So you think about this image of welfare queens and what he was really trying to talk about was … this like really resentful vision of essentially black women who were doing nothing, that were ‘sucks’ on our country. That’s not explicit racism but still rooted in a racist caricature.”
Conservatives took to Twitter to blast AOC’s comments. Actor James Woods used a famous Reagan quote against the socialist politician.
Reagan, Woods noted, said: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so…”
Fox News host Laura Ingraham noted that Ocasio-Cortez “wasn’t alive when Reagan was elected in a landslide and re-elected in a bigger landslide. But my Lord, AOC is BRILLIANT!!!”
Author and retired U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer tweeted: “I first voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 – he unified all workers for their economic advantage and success – the Blue Dog democrats supported him and he was re-elected in a landslide 1984 – apparently @AOC believes that Orwell’s “1984” is a “how to” manual to rewrite history”
Radio host Larry Elder tweeted: “Watch @AOC accuse President Ronald Reagan of utilizing racism to “screw over all working-class Americans.” (Oh, so THAT explains how Reagan carried 49 states in ’84. Black unemployment fell faster than did white unemployment. Black businesses grew faster than white owned ones.)”