Probably the closest hero I have had to Joe DiMaggio as the song goes, was Steve Jobs and his counter cultural approach to technology. After the Tax Bill was passed I started to look for America again. How could a majority in Congress, supported by a minority in America push through a bill that will not only hurt the economy, but widen the gap between those who have America’s wealth from those that simply want a fair share of it.
The Tax Bill will more than help the major technology companies, but it will ultimately hurt them too. Most of these companies are successful because their software and hardware is consumed by the 99%. But what if the salaries are not increased or possibly go away? What if the technology companies see a shrinking trained resource pool and immigration continues to go down? You begin to see the hole this Tax Bill will dig.
If Steve Jobs were here, he would know that when Congress was cooking the new tax plan they were overlooking an enormous trend that will change the workplace, beyond anything done before. Because the Tax Bill was done hurriedly and without any input from technologists, economists, corporations and the average worker, they were clueless to the logical end of digital transformation – enterprise robots or virtual workers (or whatever you want to call them).
The majority of our economy is now driven by services. Another way to look at this is the human worker is in the middle of gathering, processing, decision-making and dissemination of information. The technology companies are all ready there – they understand that physical workers will give way to virtual robots that provide the golden grail of any business – very cheap, unlimited capacity that can be modulated to volume. Essentially, the cost of labor is reduced and becomes a non-factor in the margin.
The estimates are starting to come in that range from 30-50% of the white-collar workforce will be impacted. The timeframe – ten years, just about when those middle class tax credits disappear, if they have not all ready from the increased health care premiums (same tax bill).
And thus, who will buy the devices, software and subscriptions when the middle class is hit so hard. Karma?
That Steve Jobs, and other technology leaders would have done is begun an ad campaign to shame Congress to look beyond Washington and recognize the technology and work trends reshaping our society. They would echo what the majority is thinking – that instead of providing additional credits to the rich and to the corporations, pour the money into our national education systems (K-Post Doctoral) now, not in ten years. skill or retrain those workers effected and prepare new workers to apply the same disciplines (strategy, ideation, innovation, product development, analysis) utilizing the new technologies of AI, process automation and deep learning. And lest we forget, put a resilient and hardened communication infrastructure in place in parallel with new institutions for advanced technology training.
But the heroes are now gone, including Joe D. We must put away the philosophies of Ayan Rand (who could have written this Tax Bill) and bring back the true democratic and American belief – through hard work you can succeed in this free country. If you work hard, and save and pay your fair share, than the contract with the government is that they will provide you with the services to keep your family educated, safe, housed and healthy. That it will never limit your potential to achieve success. What a concept!